Morning Meditation: Revenge

I could bank on my phone ringing about 8:30 am 3x a week as a colleague friend of mine was in the middle of a huge mess with a toxic employee. They were trying to figure out how to terminate the staff person because he simply was not doing the job. He’d been caught in multiple mistruths, had zero output to show for his time of employment, and was killing the culture of the overall staff team.

After the termination, as they were resetting the former employee’s computer, all his old emails came flooding into Outlook. Unfortunately for my friend, he saw a few emails a church leader sent to the poor-performing employee. Long, LONG story short, the leader knew the employee was on an action plan and because he was friends with the employee and wanted to keep him on staff, he started doing his job for him so that he wouldn’t get fired. The employee had been forwarding all his tasks to his friend (the church leader). Once completed by the friend, the employee would turn in the work as if it were his own.

My friend was flabbergasted. How could a church leader betray their role in such a way? As he was reading the emails between the two individuals he came across one where the church leader referenced him (the pastor) as “His Majesty”. That sent him over the edge.

“I have tons of faults and am not a perfect leader, but self-righteous I am not! ‘His Majesty’????  How could they think I act as if I am royalty just because I expect an employee to do his job???”

For months my friend could NOT get past the fact that they had spoken so negatively about him. He became consumed with revenge.

“What if I do a message series on various kings in the bible and talk about the one true king?”

“Ummmmm . . . no. I don’t think preaching is a platform for passive-aggressive confrontation. I’m pretty sure that’s going to come back and bite you. It is just best to take the high road.”

Revenge might FEEL like a great idea at the time, we are actually hardwired to seek it.

So, if you are someone who has wanted revenge, don’t feel guilty. It’s an innate response.

If something/someone we care about is threatened, it is our primal instinct to seek revenge. When we experience pain, it is a normal human response to want to inflict pain and punish the perpetrator as recourse. But revenge gains nothing. Author Jodi Picoult says that if we are determined to enact revenge, we may as well dig two graves. One for the person we are avenging, and the other for ourselves. Inflicting harm as a response to harm buries our own possibility for contentment and peace. Even science shows that it truly does more harm than good.

Think for a few minutes about a situation you’ve observed (or perhaps even been a part of) when someone was hellbent on seeking revenge. How much of their energy and love of life did they lose because they were fixated on the negativity and pain that seeking revenge creates? We don’t need to dig a grave for ourselves because of someone else’s crap. We need to let go of a desire for revenge.

“Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:8-10

Grace and Peace,