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In a comment regarding the post which preceded this one, Byker Bob made a statement that really caught my attention. He wrote: "I beli...

Saturday, February 11, 2017

A Godly perspective on REVENGE?

It has been widely reported in the press that Donald Trump recently offered to destroy a Texas Senator's career for opposing certain policies which he supports. (http://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2017/02/07/trump-offers-destroy-texas-senator-help-rockwall-sheriff) By now, most of us have also heard about his reaction to the judges who ruled against his so-called "Muslim Ban." This brings to mind many past Trump statements and actions which have been focused on attack and revenge.

Just before the election last year, David Corn of Mother Jones reminded all of us that "Donald Trump Is Completely Obsessed With Revenge." (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/10/donald-trump-obsessed-with-revenge) In his article, he pointed out that:  "Following the first presidential debate, he spent days of valuable campaign time (and hours of valuable sleep time) slamming Alicia Machado, the former Miss Universe. At other times during this contest, he could not let go of his feud with Rosie O'Donnell. He tried to smear Judge Gonzalo Curiel, the American-born federal judge hearing a fraud case against Trump University, as a "Mexican" unqualified to preside over this litigation. For days, he derided Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of an Army captain killed in Iraq, after Khizr criticized him during a speech at the Democratic convention. He launched misogynistic attacks against Carly Fiorina and Megyn Kelly. Rather than attempt to unify his party after a divisive primary fight, he threatened to finance future campaigns against GOP rivals, most notably Ohio Gov. John Kasich. He encouraged violence against protesters at his rallies. And there were the mean and nasty nicknames: Lyin' Ted, Little Marco."

Corn went on to point out that these incidents were not random or isolated events, but that they represent an integral part of the man's philosophy and modus operandi. Indeed, Corn used Trump's own words to make his point. At the National Achievers Congress in Sydney (2011), he said:  "Get even with people. If they screw you, screw them back 10 times as hard. I really believe it." The following year, Trump said:  "One of the things you should do in terms of success: If somebody hits you, you've got to hit 'em back five times harder than they ever thought possible. You've got to get even. Get even. And the reason, the reason you do, is so important…The reason you do, you have to do it, because if they do that to you, you have to leave a telltale sign that they just can't take advantage of you." In 2013, Trump tweeted:  "Always get even. When you are in business, you need to get even with people who screw you. – Think Big." In 2014, he referenced a famous quote by Alfred Hitchcock:  "Revenge is sweet and not fattening."

So we know what Donald Trump thinks about revenge, but we would do well to ask:  What does the Godly perspective on revenge look like." Throughout history, there have been a good many statements on the subject that most of us would characterize as inspired. Here are just a few examples:
“The ultimate revenge is living well and being happy. Hateful people can’t stand happy people. Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”-- Confucius
"The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury." -- Marcus Aurelius
"Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love." -- Martin Luther King Jr.
"Revenge... is like a rolling stone, which, when a man hath forced up a hill, will return upon him with a greater violence, and break those bones whose sinews gave it motion." -- Jeremy Taylor
"When another person wrongs you, your typical first thought is one of revenge. We think that by inflicting similar pain onto this person, we’ll make ourselves feel better. While that may make our sick-minded selves feel better for a little while, it most likely will not in the long run. Seeking revenge doesn't cancel out the behaviors that hurt you. It just perpetuates the cycle of pain." -- Ashley Fern (http://elitedaily.com/life/why-we-need-to-stop-seeking-revenge/)

And then there is this one attributed to Jesus Christ:  "You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles...You have heard the law that says, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:38-45, NLT)

A little later, in that same Gospel, we read:  "Then Peter came to him and asked, 'Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?' 'No, not seven times,' Jesus replied, 'but seventy times seven!'" (Matthew 18:21-22, NLT)

Hmmm, sure seems like God is not in agreement with Mr. Trump on this one. What do you think?


  1. "If somebody hits you, you've got to hit 'em back five times harder than they ever thought possible."

    It's true, the USA did it to Japan in the '40s, and Japan is a better nation today for it!

    1. Aren't you engaging in a little revisionism here? The U.S. virtually destroyed Japan and Germany in WWII. After the war, we made a conscious decision not to be vengeful and repeat the mistakes that had been made after WWI (Treaty of Versailles). Instead of punishing those nations, we rebuilt them. Hence, Japan and Germany are better nations today because the U.S. did NOT pursue a policy of revenge!

  2. Engaging from the criminal law perspective even the aspect of revenge is recognized. Whereas in civil law "just compensation" is a leading aspect. It is however the recognition that society as a whole is harmed by the actions of the few. And in a civil society it is not up to the individual to execute revenge on their own but pursue it through the channels of our common agreements. (That is the system of law.) Hence through the system partial revenge for the infringement upon the "peace" is executed by punishment. The level of "imbalance" inflicted by the aspect of "revenge" is to be decided by the respective societies. So some civilised countries decided to do away with the death penalty since science has proven that it does not solve anything. Other countries that rank themselves in the civilised world do still execute the 100 % level of revenge which is the death penalty for reasons of their own. There is NO scientific basis for that level of recompense and revenge but it serves the same purpose that is revenge is indeed a part of any metaphysical rebalancing of the wrongs perpetrated on a holistic whole. nck

  3. Minimalist is partly right. The atrocities perpetrated upon Dresden and Hiroshima were part of a concerted effort to PUNISH and seek REVENGE. There was no other purpose for these atrocious deeds.

    However Miller Jones is more right. The allies had learned their lesson on human nature and had learned that revenge in itself does not solve or adress the future. One of the first mercifull deeds toward Japanese culture was to leave the emperor in place. His replacement with a president would have completely finished Japanese culture as it had developed. Other mercifull deeds by the US (the one where HWA was higly awarded for) was the negotiation of the return of Okinawa. The issue of the islands is still a matter of contention today with China. With American fighter jets to this very moment protecting the southern tips of Japan form Chinese intrusion. Germany was rebuilt and in 1991 the allied powers formerly handed over sovereignty to the German government. Almost a million foreign soldiers on German soil retreated in 1991 after the handover. Formally they were there to protect the West from the Communists. But in reality they were occupying forces working with the Germans in establishing ties and good relations and welcoming them back in the family of nations after they initiated the slaughter of more than 25 million people among 6 million people of the Jewish race. And now you can just drink a beer at the oktober fest in Munich and stare with amazement in the decollete of the maidens. Unless of course you are Miller Jones and totally supportive of the woman kind, considered unharmful to that species. nck

  4. "Dresden and Hiroshima..atrocious deeds"

    says the Australian whose nation was nearly fell to Japan

  5. Minimalist.

    I enjoyed most all of your comments since april - june.
    I think you expose the fallacies in reasoning quite well.
    Although all are entitled to work out a personal system for the survival of the fittest.

    Both Dresden and Hiroshima were atrocities in the sense that without them the war would be won also. Especially Dresden was a punishment for several cities wasted by the nazis and served no operational purpose except to "teach" the Germans.

    From a human perspective being descendent from people serving time in death camps in all theatres of war I am thankful that the war was shortened by these bombardments so that many lives were saved.

    But from any moral perspective they were atrocities killing many innocents indiscrimanately.

    But hey. I wouldn't be alive without them.
    As a pilot I would choose my professors to judge this matter certainly not the God of life. (unless he offered to pay for the sins of the pilots out of clemency of course.) (or grace they call it I believe in some circles)