I’ll start with two quotations from the Bible:
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
“Vengeance is mine” saith the Lord.
I have been used despitefully and I can tell you that when I finally figured out what had been done to me it was not a pleasant experience. I was filled with hate and it was all I could do to stop myself from doing something which would have landed me in serious trouble with the police. But I was able to restrain myself thankfully and that is why I have (as yet) not been hanged.
Over time (and it took a long time) the feelings of rage subsided and since I had read the Bible (on and off and from time to time) I found myself pondering over the two quotations mentioned above.
Why does the Bible find it necessary to make the first of the above statements. It must have been because being used despitefully is not uncommon to people. Jesus could not have made the statement exclusively for me. He meant it for the entire human race or at least for those who believed in Him.
The second point is that Jesus has told us to Love our enemies. That is something I found difficulty with. I was so filled with rage that I could not see how I could practice this message.
But I was able to do something that may have been second best but which was all that I was capable of: I was able to fight honourably. I told the people who had ill treated me what I thought of them and also that I hated them. I had to fight a battle to get those people out of my life but with God’s grace that happened successfully.
So if you can’t love your enemies try to fight them honourably. Resist not evil is too advanced and difficult a teaching for most of us to follow. It may be useful for those of us (like Mahatma Gandhi) who are trying to be saints but not for worldly people who have families and responsibilities.
The second of the two quotes above says (in effect) do not seek vengeance but rely upon God to deliver justice. I have found practicing this message great comfort and it has made life so much easier for me.
I do not now have to form an opinion about everything unpleasant in life. I do not need to convince myself that I am not at fault. When somebody is rude or just plain vindictive, I do not have to rush to defend my ego. I feel bad for sometime when I am treated badly but I am able to stop myself from dwelling on the incident. God will separate the wheat from the chaff. This is something I cannot do because the world is infinitely complex and I have no access to all the relevant information nor the wisdom to make a sane judgment.
Near death experiences and also the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism inform us that post the death of the physical body (in the Intermediate Bardo of Becoming) a person relives his whole life and also experiences the effect his actions have had on others. So whatever someone has made you feel he (or she) will feel himself in the Bardo after death.
This teaching is (I think) intended to help us stop ourselves from seeking vengeance unwisely. God has created the Universe; He is running it. Let Him get on with the job. It is not as if we have much of a choice. You (and when I say you I mean your conscious ego) cannot digest your food or cause your blood to circulate all by yourself. All that happens through the grace of God. So learn gratitude and humility and stop taking the minor (or even major) unpleasant events in life seriously.
I’ll end here. Please explore this blog for more articles on Politics, Self Help and Spirituality. If you wish to contact me the link is below.