There won’t be an off-the-cuff post this week because I’m recovering from the flu (note to self: avoid public transit) plus I have already missed both days I schedule them for. Nevertheless, here’s a new feature, Sharing Saturday!
We’ll see how long I keep this up
Over the years, I’ve learned that the best revenge against anyone is truly living well. I didn’t always see it that way. If you had hurt me a few years ago, I would do anything in my power to (passively) make you suffer. However, the sense of satisfaction I felt once I doled out my punishment was short lived and quickly turned to anger, guilt, and bitterness. The more I sought revenge, the harder my heart became. Pretty soon it didn’t matter what the person did, I still managed to find a way to punish them for past wrongs–perceived or otherwise.
One day, I was watching one of those televangelist shows, when he began to talk about how wrong it was for Christians to decide who was worthy of vengeance and who was not. The pastor said that seeking revenge was like drinking poison and waiting for the target of your wrath to die. I was expending so much energy plotting, planning, and scheming, that I didn’t even notice that the person I was angry with wasn’t paying attention.
As long as I made them the target, I was still living in the past. I finally figured out that I would never move forward unless I forgave them–even though they had no idea that what they did was wrong, and had no intention to apologize to me. As soon as I made the decision to let go, I was free.
Here, is the sad thing about vengeance; as long as you make someone your target, they have all the power.
Your anger keeps them at the forefront of your mind–even when you’re not supposed to be thinking about them. They are remotely controlling everything you do, and as long as your motivation is “getting them back”, you will be stuck exactly where you are while they move on without you. Being hurt and rejected is something that we all have to deal with. However, it is not our duty to discipline those who hurt and reject us because, in the end, the only people we will really be hurting is us.
Now, I’m not advocating becoming a perpetual victim; if someone mistreats you, you do have the right to stand up for yourself. Just don’t think that you have to sentence them for eternity for treating you badly.
A few years ago, I was chatting with a friend about a hurtful situation with an acquaintance. She told me, in no uncertain terms, to “release them”, because, in the end, they would end up more hurt than I would. She explained that, by not seeking vengeance of my own, I’d be showing them that they didn’t have the power to change me. She also explained that we all have to live with the consequences of our choices, and by not lowering my standards, I’d be incurring good results instead of bad ones.
I’m naturally sassy, so this didn’t go over well with me at first. I like to strike back immediately when someone says something to upset me, but for the sake of peace, I had to hold my tongue, even when it seemed impossible to do it.
The results were almost immediate. I was happier and felt as though a large weight was lifted off of my shoulders. I wasn’t angry anymore, so I could think clearly–and make better decisions. The former target of my wrath wasn’t even on my radar, and I could have a friendly and honest conversation with her…without wishing a large safe would fall from the sky and crush her to death.
It wasn’t the easiest decision, in spite of the fact that I didn’t really get any tangible payoff from being angry with her, but it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Now, when I see her, I feel grateful to her for the role she played in my growing up, and most of all, I don’t feel the need to make her pay for something she didn’t know was wrong.
After all, we don’t always have the best perspective when we’re angry with someone. Part of my animosity toward her had to do with something that I overheard her say. I never confronted her directly, so she didn’t know how I felt, or for that matter, why.
I shudder to think of all the years I wasted being angry, when I could have just let it go. Since I like you, I’m going to save you some time, and a lot of unnecessary drama; Let it go. Let it go. LET IT GO!
You aren’t punishing anyone by keeping a list of everyone who has wronged you. They don’t really care that they’ve hurt you, and since you’re holding on to your grudge, they will always have the ability to cause you harm. As soon as you release them from the imaginary prison you have placed them in, you will free yourself. Once you’re free, you can move on. (Meanwhile, they’ll be the same people who think it’s amusing to use manipulation as a means to gain control, and that’s just sad.)
While I was going through the process of forgiveness, these bible verses were always at the back of my mind:
“But I say to you who are willing to hear: Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on the cheek, offer the other one as well. If someone takes your coat, don’t withhold your shirt either. Give to everyone who asks and don’t demand your things back from those who take them. Treat people in the same way that you want them to treat you.” Luke 6:27-31
My mode of revenge is to continue living my life. I’m not focused on those who attempt to intimidate me–actually, I frequently laugh in their faces. (Because, let’s be honest, there’s something inherently ridiculous about an adult bully) I don’t plot, and scheme to get my way, and even if the intent is to cause me harm, I shrug it off.
I have better things to do.
Peace and Love,