Vengeance is Mine

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. — Romans 12:19

I shall never forgive him as long as I live!” She bawled at the judge, then took out a small, white hanky from her designer purse, unfolded it, and in trembling emotions, wiped away tears. “He ruined my life! How can I ever again walk down the street at night without fear of being robbed!”

Her attacker, the man who stole her purse—the black designer purse, not the red one she carried into the witness stand with her, sat quietly in the accuser’s box, head bent, avoiding eye contact with the judge.

Although the above scene is fictional, it’s analogous to cases of near theatrical drama played out in society today of people who feel they have been seriously wronged or insulted. All one has to do is listen to the evening news or watch popular television’s court dramas to realize that we’re obsessed with hate and vengeance—and our need for justice!

I don’t have any official, peer-reviewed studies to quote from to back my findings, but I’ve lived long enough and witnessed many cases where the incidents often were more drama than real injustices.

Although the following story is loosely based on a true story about a couple I once knew, I embellish highlights to emphasize some important points.

For the first year of their marriage, this couple were madly in love with each other. They were like two pieces of harmoniously locked Lego©. They had the same interests; they went to the movies together; they went shopping together, they even enjoyed mutual friends.

Gradually, however, the husband got involved in activities and interests that did not involve his wife. He even started drinking. Five years later, the husband finally approached his wife and asked for a divorce.

Call it rage, indignity, or plain fury, but the wife did not accept the husband’s request for a divorce lightly. She felt extremely hurt and humiliated and vowed that she would do everything in her power to see that that “unfaithful rat” (her husband) gets totally ruined and humiliated.

The husband finally got his divorce, although the court battle was steamy and expensive. The husband was willing to concede much of their joint property—just leave him with some dignity. But the wife would have none of that. The rat had to be completely ruined!

In her bitterness, what the wife did not realize was that the long-drawn-out court proceedings and lawyer fees not only financially ruined—now her ex-husband, but also ruined her: the lawyers were the new owners of her once-beautiful home, their Daimler sports car, and their once-joint bank account.

Long-suffering and patience are a virtue

If the wife would have been more patient and thoughtful, if she would have waited just two years, her desire to see her ex-husband ruined would have come true, naturally, with any effort on her part. And she would still be living in her beautiful home, and possibly still driving her Daimler sports car.

It ended up that the woman at the center of the reason for the ex-husband’s divorce changed her mind about marrying him, so in frustration and disappointment, he took to drinking—heavy drinking, ending up penniless and homeless.

Perceived injustice is everywhere in society. Who cannot find at least one person in their life who has committed an injustice to them? Unfortunately, to carry the anger of unforgiving injustice in your heart for the rest of your life only weighs heavily on your own health. It’s like drinking a cup of poison to hurt your accused. You end up hurting yourself!

The good news is, there really is justice. It’s just that we’re often consciously so busy carrying the burden of our injustice, we don’t see the complete picture. I’ve shown one example of justice in the above story about the husband and wife who, in the first year of their marriage, cared deeply about each other. But later, their marriage turned very dysfunctional.

Taking into consideration the complexity of almost any situation in life, it is difficult, if not impossible, to lay the fault on either person or an event. Negotiation, where possible, is a preferred option. However, like in the above situation where one member refuses to negotiate, it is often best to leave ‘justice’ in the hands of a Higher Power.

Creation is too complex to believe that life began through an unconscious series of events. To even consider such a possibility, my question then would be, who brought into existence the laws of physics and metaphysics to even give stability to life as we know it?

Thus, given the possibility that an intelligent ‘Super Mind,’ is behind creation, it would only seem logical that such this Mind—God, would care equally for both the antagonist and the recipient of the antagonism, and that metaphysical law would ensure justice prevailed.

To forgive a person for an injustice that they might have done to you is not to “let them off the hook,” so to speak. They are still responsible for dealing with their own actions. You are forgiving yourself for any anger you may have felt during the incident, thus clearing your own conscience and “leaving the details of justice to God.”

Thoughts on the COVID-19 Virus

According to an article in Wikipedia, titled, “Neuroscience and Intelligence,” that states, in part, “larger brain size and volume is associated with better cognitive functioning and higher intelligence.[i] If this statement is true, consider the brain size in a COVID-19 virus. The virus, itself, is so small it can only be seen through an electron microscope. If you think that is small, consider the brain size of that virus—if it even has a brain. Yet, that tiny “brain” has been smart enough to bring mankind to its knees!

That presents one of two possibilities: either that article in Neuroscience and Intelligence is off the mark as to what constitutes intelligence, or there’s a far greater intelligence behind the scene, governing that virus. A good comparison would be a person driving a car. Is it the car’s intelligence that winds the car safely through dense traffic, or is it the person behind the wheel of that car that is responsible for the car’s behavior?

Pandemics—plagues, aren’t new to mankind. Consider 1 Samuel 4:8 in the Old Testament: “Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? these are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness.” Other references in the Old Testament seem to indicate that, whenever “God’s people” would rebel against His wishes, God would send a plague to bring the people back in line.

Could this be, at least in part, what’s happening to us today via the COVID-19 virus? I’m not about to point “sinful” fingers at mankind: I’m not a judge, but I would like to mention a few positives that have occurred in society since the virus kept us housebound.

  • Because we’ve been housebound, family ties have grown stronger. People are doing things more as a family, including self-educating our children, rather than relying solely on teachers to raise their children.
  • People are more charitable and friendly. We’re helping each other more than we used to.
  • Recent anti-racial discrimination demonstrations, including an increase in publicly rebuking spousal violence and pornographic behavior is an indication that we’re growing more compassionate and spiritually mature.

The list goes on, and let’s hope this is a permanent trend, so that we don’t have to experience a second—even worse, a third wave—of the COVID-19 virus in order for us to learn our lesson, as the early Egyptians had to do in Exodus 26!


[i] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroscience_and_intelligence

Gratitude

Do you remember, as a kid, running up to your Dad and asking him to give you a portion of your allowance? With a smile, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a dollar and gave it to you. Quick as a bouncing rabbit, you took off to the store to meet friends who were already there waiting for you—

“Hey, didn’t you forget something?” Your Dad called after you before you even reached the door. You stopped in your tracks … Oh yes! You ran back to your Dad, gave him a big hug and said, “Thank you, Dad!” … Then you ran off to the store to meet with your friends.

That might have been your first lesson in learning gratitude.

“Gratitude turns what you have into enough” — anonymous

Your second lesson in gratitude may have come when you attended Sunday School and learned that Jesus also preached the power and importance of giving gratitude in the example of His Parable of the Talents: “For unto every one that hath [gratitude] shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not [gratitude] shall be taken away even that which he hath.” – Matthew 25:29

But, as we grew up and became lost in a material world of self-gain, we forgot these lessons. Here’s an example of what I mean: we all love honey. We know that millions of busy little bees work all summer to store up their winter’s supply of honey, so what do we do? We steal it from them! Mind you, I’m not saying that this practice of … uh … ‘helping ourselves’ to the bee’s honey is wrong; not even morally wrong. Creation is so designed that every creature, be it human, animal, reptile, insect, bird, plant or tree, are both preyed upon, and/or are prey to something else in Nature. However, the truth is that all these amenities we ‘take’ for granted (pun intended), including life itself, are gifts from a divine Parent and showing gratitude goes a long way in ensuring the continuation of these gifts. Still staying on the topic of our honeybees, here’s a bad example of selfishness, with a lack of gratitude.

we’ve all read news articles of how farmers are (in some cases, quite indiscriminately) using poisonous chemicals on their grain crops for weed control, but in the process, destroying the bee population, threatening to wipe them out completely. Are we concerned? Some of us are, but it still seems, with our politicians, money talks louder than concern for the survival of the bee. Gratitude for the honeybee’s contribution to our welfare isn’t even on the table!

Are we ever going to be held accountable for our lack of gratitude for all the wonderful things we enjoy on this planet? Go back to your youth when you asked your Dad for some allowance. What would have happened if you stubbornly, and consistently refused to thank him for your allowance?

Methodist minister, John Wesley, said: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all he times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can!” That’s being grateful! Don’t be like the servant, in Matthew, who had “even what he had” taken from him for lack of giving gratitude!

“What you are is God’s gift to you. What you become is your gift to god.”

Ayahuasca

I just finished watching a video on Gaia TV titled “Ayahuasca: Vine of the Soul.” Ayahuasca is a South American vine whose Shaman use the bark and stems to brew a potent psychedelic brew. It has also become popular way of entertainment in many North American  social groups whose participants use it to get a feel-good high. But that’s not the goal of the Shaman. To them, the drinking of the brew of the Ayahuasca plant is a sacred–indeed, even a religious rite, that allows the participant to learn the wonderment of his own creation.

I must admit that I found the video appealing and sort of, secretly, wished that I could join the Shaman’s group as they sipped the nectar, chanted, and whispered to each other of  sacred experiences they were having somewhere deep within the noisy, chattering South American jungle … but something made me hesitate. It wasn’t fear, nor lack of desire to know more about myself. I’ve always, as far back in my life as I can remember, been a student of spirituality and metaphysics. Not only did I want to know myself and everything around me, but, like Einstein, I even went boldly as far as to desire to know the mind of God! So why didn’t I hop aboard the plane to South America and join my friend–let’s call him Jake?

I believe the answer lies in the fact that there many roads that lead to life’s destination, and Jake decided to take the highway: the quick way to spiritual maturity, while I preferred the slower, grow-spiritually-as-you-experience road. To demonstrate what I mean, let’s throw Jake and me into an adventure!

“Jake,” I said. “If you take the highway, the fast route, you’ll be in the Jungle Camp months before I’ll be there.”

Jake shook his head. “M-mh! Remember what the Shaman said? Even if one of us arrives before the other, he will not give us our box–the key and instructions to our next goal–unless we are both together.”

 

Consciousness and Hope

CONSCIOUSNESS:
Consider the ocean as universal consciousness. I am part of that consciousness. As part of that individualism, I have individual abilities: to see, to hear, to taste, to feel and to smell. God, who has granted me that individuality within His ‘ocean’ and, because of His love for me, has added and additional feature to that individuality: awareness and learning ability: a great tool by which I might advance myself and consciousness (the ocean) as a whole.

Consider this tool as a stick. I can dip it into the ocean and disturb the otherwise ‘calmness’ of the ocean (consciousness). I can be artistic. I can create tiny ripples whose waves barely make it out more than a few feet, or I can really stir up the ocean and make giant waves whose ripples will travel for endless miles. I can make calm waves: gentle waves that ease and sooth troubled waters. I can be creative. In short, God has given me the ability, with my ‘magic’ stick, to create whatever I want in His ocean of consciousness.

Today, my ‘stick’ — my consciousness, has given me hope. Hope I can, with my ‘magic stick,’ I can bring about whatever I wish to create.

Let’s Define Death

An acquaintance of mine and I–we live in the same cul-de-sac– both have cancer. Since cancer can so often be a terminal disease, the thought of death naturally  became a topic of our discussion. Sadly, my friend has since “graduated,” as he liked to put it, but the memory of our many discussions, especially about death, still lingers strong within my mind.

First, what is life? O.k., there are many philosophical opinions and definitions of what constitutes life, any of which can be correct wrong, or ill-defined and worthy of further discussion. But, one that had the most meaning to me was where I likened both life and death to an iPad, or Smart Phone. We all have one, so this makes an easy comparison.

The Smart Phone is a very powerful and useful tool in our lives that can perform some remarkable things like let one talk to your neighbor or a business acquaintance on the other side of the world, solve math problems or let you write letters, listen to music, and so on. But, what happens when you pull the energy source, the battery and memory card from your Smart Phone?

That’s death! Your Smart Phone has died! It still has the appearances of being whole, it still  looks like it did before: you give it a shake, “come on. Wake up!”–but something is missing: it’s missing its energy and its missing its memory. The thing is dead, completely lifeless! Without its battery (energy) and memory card (awareness), no matter how much you prod, shake or try to resuscitate it, your attempts are futile. It’s dead! You can throw it away–or bury it, like we humans like to do with our bodies.

And, in similitude, this is exactly what happens to a human when he dies: his energy, his battery–his soul–his Self– inseparable from his memory, has been ‘pulled’ from his body. An ‘Upper Room’ decision has been made to ‘upgrade’ the Self to a new realm, leaving a dead, lifeless body behind for the undertaker to dispose of.

The next question, of course, is, who, and what, exactly, is the Self? That part of us,  that decided to ‘pull’  itSelf–the energy and memory card from our ‘Smart Phone,’ that we were having so much fun with, and where does it go?

In humility, we must admit that we’re more like a computer, albeit a very sophisticated computer, than we sometimes care to admit.