If you have half an eye or ear on the news, then you probably caught the story from the Middle East this week of a tent that burned at a wedding party. Forty-one women and children were killed.
Turns out the fire was arson. Turns out that the reason was revenge. And forty-one innocent people died.
Was revenge the only option?
Hardly a day goes by when we don’t hear or see something in the news of a happening that has revenge as it’s motive.
A man gets fired from his job, and he goes back later and shoots up the workplace. … A guy is dumped by his girl, and he goes by her place or goes to where she works and shoots her and someone else. … Kids don’t like the way they’re treated by other kids at school, so they go to the school on a shooting spree, or they set an explosive, and people are hurt or killed.
Terrorism very often is a form of revenge. So are many cases of suicide.
Again … is revenge the only option?
What is the plus side to revenge? … Is there a plus side?
Granted, not everyone who looks for revenge is that violent. Sometimes the revenge is in the form of a practical joke, or pranks or something similar.
But they all carry the same message … “someone did something to me that I didn’t like and I have to get even with them.” Sometimes the hurts or insults are real … sometimes they are imagined. Sometimes they are feelings that have grown in our imaginations as we have allowed something small to churn around in our minds until it explodes like the eruption of a volcano.
So we take revenge .. in some form that hurts, or at the very least seriously embarrasses or insults the other person (or people).
Movies and television drama expand our ideas that revenge is the way to go when we are frustrated or hurt. Type in “revenge” on Google and there are 10 million pages about the subject.
Psychologists say that “revenge is what we most commonly experience in our unconscious fantasies when we become frustrated.”
Some people say that getting revenge feels good. Maybe. For a moment. But does that feeling last?
Is revenge the only option?
One problem with taking revenge on someone, or a group of someones, is that the revenge doesn’t stop with that action. The others will probably want to strike back at you for your act of revenge, and get some revenge for themselves. That’s how some of those historical family feuds happened. That’s why certain ethnic groups hate other ethnic groups … and vice versa.
I don’t think there is a plus side to revenge. Even revenge that doesn’t have fatal results.
How about doing something simple …like … walk away. Move on. Forget it. I think that would confuse them.
Jesus had another option. It might not be easy, but it is a positive option.
God says, don’t look for revenge. Forgive the other person.
It’s hard to look at someone who has hurt you, or taken something from you, and say truthfully, and sincerely, “I forgive you.” Even if you don’t say it, it can be hard to forgive or to forget what has been done to you.
But that’s what God wants you to do. … Forgive.
And … do you want to know something. In the end, it is much more satisfying. It heals your own emotional wounds.
At least, it’s worth thinking about.
And maybe this is too … Forgiveness or Revenge