Saturday, December 10, 2016


A young man had come to see me this morning. He complained about someone who, apparently, had made his life miserable. “Twelve years now… and my torture is still on. His heart is dead… He is a beast,” the young man blew out his anger and pain, “I won’t leave him now… I will make his life, too, miserable.”

“Will it help you to get free from your pain,” I asked, “Will the weight around your heart drop?”

“Even if it won’t make me free from my pain and even if the weight around my heart won’t drop, I need to take revenge… That beast deserves it.”

“It is not for you to take a revenge on your enemy,” I insisted.

“For whom, then?” the young man quipped.

The urge to take revenge on our enemies – the ones who torture us, oppress us, cause misery in our lives – is a natural tendency. It is instinctive and it makes us all human. But, the wisdom about what happens on an emotional and spiritual level when we are consumed by the desire to get back – take revenge – yes, this wisdom comes as we grow… as we mature in life. Revenge only complicates things for us… makes our life more miserable… adds more load around our hearts… We remain entrapped in the same vicious cycle…

The cycle has to break… If enmity has to end… if freedom has to come. And, if the cycle breaks from our end, we feel more authentic, more peaceful…
 “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath,” The Bible says,  “for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”

It is a very difficult proposition. The idea of ‘leaving room for God’s wrath’… and letting Him punish the guilty – yes, it is difficult to subscribe.  Tit-for-tat and an-eye-for-an-eye come instinctively to us.

“Sweet revenge’… often it is hailed. However, there is nothing sweet about it… There is only more pain, more burden to carry around our hearts. Doesn’t experience tell this to us? How can we remain consumed by the thoughts of taking  revenge on our enemy and remain peaceful at the same time?”

Revenge doesn’t end the vicious cycle… It only prolongs it, complicates it. When we step aside from the cycle, we make room for God so that He can do the needful for us… It is called “Letting go and letting God in.”

If our goal in life is our well-being, then, we should focus on things which take us nearer that goal. “The ultimate revenge is living well and being happy. Hateful people can’t stand happy people,” said Confucius almost five centuries before Christ, “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”

One for your enemy… and the other for you!


Pic.: Chetna Shetty

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