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MAKING SENSE OF LIFE

Revenge v. Justice

Posted 11/9/17

Haven’t you ever wanted to see someone who’d hurt you “get what they deserve?” Most of us have. Grandma Esther used to say, “Every dog has …

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MAKING SENSE OF LIFE

Revenge v. Justice

Posted

By Dr. Terry Drew Kaaren

Haven’t you ever wanted to see someone who’d hurt you “get what they deserve?” Most of us have. Grandma Esther used to say, “Every dog has its day.” Rest assured she wanted to be there to watch it happen, if not personally take part in the act.

Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves. - Confucius

Grandma wanted revenge, not justice. There is a big difference between the two. Revenge satisfies our ego. We get to be right. We are there to observe the punishment. We get to feel vindicated, justified, and may feel like we’ve turned the tables on the person who we allowed to victimize us. But it will never give us what justice does: Healing

In his new documentary series on The National Geographic Channel, actor Morgan Freeman examines how peoples all over the world deal with the results of war, and how peace is possible. In one episode, he sits across from a Tutsi woman whose family was killed by the Hutu people during the genocide in Rwanda.

Next to her sits the man who was part of the Hutu militia. The man was personally responsible for killing those family members. Over two years of communication has resulted in these two people from different tribes becoming friends through the help of a local bishop in the area. They are part of an “ambitious reconciliation program.” The man who murdered her husband, brother-in-law, and two children now helps her with her farm to provide income for her family, making amends for his actions.

We are more aware today more than ever before of the injustice in the world. This is so because of 24-hour-a-day news coverage, the Internet, and our smart phones. Because of the information we receive it can become extremely easy to react to events and reports, often without a full understanding of the complete picture. We want to stop the violence, but we frequently lack any knowledge of why such horrible events are happening in the first place. We can become so fixated on the solution that we ignore why the problem exists.

Revenge is easy. Justice takes time. We must gain knowledge; we seek to understand; we can then act in wise ways to correct the problem; and, we begin the healing process.

“Revenge is a dish best served cold,” is a phrase attributed to Pashto origins, shows up in the Italian culture, and even said to be of Klingon origin in Star Trek II:  The Wrath of Khan.Regardless of the actual source it dooms us to a cold, heartless, and unsatisfying life, instead of warming us to a brighter future.

In the television series, Revenge, a “double infinity” symbol was used emphasis unending love – in a sense, “double forever.” That same symbol reminds me every day that revenge, not justice, continues the cycle of hate, anger, and lack of forgiveness.

Is there someone in your life upon whom you are seeking revenge? Are you investing your time, treasures, and talents in the pursuit of getting back at another? Seek this week to heal those thoughts. Determine to forgive, so that the psychic bindings holding you to that person or situation are severed for all time.

We have within us the power to change. It’s a quality which we are born with, but often fail to use. We are only victims of the past if we chose to be so.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Terry is an author, speaker, licensed social worker and flight attendant. He is also the director of Spirit, Mind and Body Foundation (spiritmindbodyfoundation.org).