After viewing the fight videos of Teen Mom Janelle and the fist fight on the subway, I am left with a question. Do we instantly go from zero to revenge and avenge in thirty seconds? Revenge does not serve any proper survival role. The original harm is already done. Revenge will not undo it Revenge and Anger is not a place to handle everything. If you act unloving towards others, you are drained of love yourself. Try this. The next time you feel crossed or taken advantage of by someone, instead of seeking revenge, or even entertaining fantasies of retribution, do the following:
1- Pause and do nothing at all about it until you feel some distance from the incident — at least 5 minutes, maybe much longer.
2- Say the following simple prayer or another of your choosing with the same message:
Lord, let me be an example of your love and your light, that others might see you through me. I pray that you heal any brokenness in ________ that led them to act in the way they did, and that you remove from me any desire for revenge. Your Will, not mine be done. Amen.
3- Remain in prayer or meditation for a few minutes and notice any thoughts that arise — justification, compassion, anger, love.
4- For a while after the incident (hours or days), look for opportunities to bring peace and harmony to that situation or others in your life, to restore the flow of God’s Love in you
So then, why do people want revenge? As best I can tell, revenge is an attempt to fix the fact that the material world is sometimes unfair. People feel wronged by someone and see them seem to get away with it, and they want to bring what they think is God’s vengeance down on the person in order to restore balance. Jesus is saying, render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. Leave to human courts that which is material. Let an attacker have their little victory. Let it go. Return to Love. Because if you get yourself caught up in being hateful towards another person, no matter how seemingly justified you may be, you are shutting yourself off from God. And that’s hell.
Clearly, revenge is harmful. As a society, we would want to discourage it anyway. It can escalate into all sorts of trouble. Wars even. And as children of God, we are called to something much higher. Call it bad karma or call it the hell on earth of being separated from God, but the way it works is that if you act unloving towards others, you are drained of love yourself..
Do you have an experience with the harmful effects of revenge, to others or to yourself? Have you experienced the freedom of letting go of a desire for revenge? Share your experiences here.