September 23rd, 2009 10:15 EST
Does Revenge Make Sense?
""Never does the human soul appear so strong and noble as when it foregoes revenge and dares to forgive injury." E.H.Chapin
Julian Motheral was shot in the spine by a robber when he was at a filling station. He was totally paralysed, suffering severe pain in his body and agony in his mind, that he contemplated suicide. He was persuaded to read the passion and death of Jesus Christ. An inexplicable transformation came over him after that. A few years later he wrote an article for a magazine, addressed to `Someone out there`. Some lines of his article read: "Until that night I could walk on moonlit nights with my wife. I could run and play with my son. Ever since you put a bullet in my spine, I have not been able to do any of these things. I do not know your name. Do I forgive you? By myself I couldn`t. But when I remembered Jesus on the cross, I found I could pray: "Father, forgive the boy who shot me, for he didn`t realize what he was doing".
We are inspired by the example of Julian Motheral and want to act likewise. The emotional and spiritual sides of his story are compelling. To that, let us add rational arguments that answer the question: "Does Revenge Make Sense?"
1) Have we not noticed that we take revenge only against those who are weaker than we are? We are weak against those who are strong and powerful. With the boss who is autocratic, we suffer in silence, because he has power over our jobs. We give into a bully, because he is physically strong. Against a repressive government we sigh and carry on. Retaliation against the powerful does not work, because of consequences. Does that mean that we are cowards who direct our vengeance only against the weak?
How does the label `coward` sit on us?
2) Medical research has shown that hate kills, slowly but surely. Ulcers, nervous disorders, hypertension and heart dysfunction have been traced to heaped-up hate. We hurt ourselves more than we plan to hurt others.
3) Corporate Findings are clear - our performance suffers when we let hate override duty. Hating and trying to harm someone in the Professional Network diminishes our usefulness to the Corporation. Performance suffers and we suffer because of failed performance.
4) A family feud passes from father to son,to son. Bitterness snaps family ties. When hate enters the blood and marrow, no chemotherapy can rid the system of it.
5) Retaliation is a form of `stooping to conquer`. We descend from the pedestals we imagine we occupy, only to hatch murderous plots to do down somebody. It is certainly not becoming of those who should have nobler aspirations.
6) The clinching argument is the Lord`s Prayer. "Forgive us, as we forgive others", is conditional. If we want forgiveness from God, we should learn to forgive like Julian Motheral.
Tit-for-tat does not make sense. Mahatma Gandhi gives us one more reason why it is so: "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind". What does make sense is forgiveness, because we gain peace and stature and God`s pardon.
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