Tag Archives: Revenge

Victims…Aren’t We All?

Read Revelation 3:1-6

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” (‭Jeremiah‬ ‭17‬:‭10‬ NLT)

movie-the-crow_00212772One of my favorite movies, on my endless list of movies, is a film called “The Crow.” It is starring Brandon Lee, who was the son of the ever-famous Bruce Lee, and it was his definitive role as an actor. The story is about a man who was murdered, along with his fiancée, on the eve of their wedding day. Exactly one year later, Eric Draven is resurrected by a mysterious crow who brings him back in order to exact revenge against his murderers. The first one he goes after is a man nicknamed, “Tin Tin.” He’s nicknamed that because his weapon of choice is a knife, and he’s really good at using them. When he runs into Tin Tin, he screams out, “Murderer”, and reminds “Tin Tin” of how he raped and killed his fiancée.

Tin Tin, of course, attacks the now ghostly Eric and comes at him  with his knives. He screams back at Eric, “Murder!?! Murder!?! Let me show you a little something about murder! It’s fun, it’s easy, and you’re gonna learn all about it!” Pulling you two of his blades, he mockingly says to Eric, “I’d like you to meet two friends of mine. We never miss.” But, as I am sure you can guess if you’ve never seen the film, Tin Tin does miss. Eric deflects one blade, and then the other. Tin Tin pulls out yet another blade and throws it at Eric who catches it and throws it back, hitting the gangster in the shoulder blade and tacking him to the wall. Tin tin, now broken, bleeding and frightened begins to breathe heavily and starts to moan in pain as Eric approaches him. Then, picking up one of Tin Tin’s other knives, Eric says sardonically, “Victims; aren’t we all?” and then kills Tin Tin.

While this is a violent scene, I think it also bears a lot of truth as well. How many times in our lives have we felt victimized by someone or something? I am sure each of us can come up with countless examples of the times that we have been victimized. Yet, if I were to ask you how many times you’ve victimized others, I bet it wouldn’t be as easy of a question to answer. We are often so good at playing the victim, and extra quick to overlook the times that we are the victimizer. Sometimes, like Eric, we start off as the victim only to become the victimizer.

This devotion is not being written to assume that you, the reader, have ever played the victim, or that you’ve victimized others, or something in between those two. Nor is it defining victimization in any other way than the broad definition of intentionally bringing harm to another’s body, mind, emotions, and/or spirit. I think it is safe to say that we’ve all been on both sides of the victimization spectrum. What I hope this devotion does is cause you to introspectively reflect on whether you are the VICTIM or the VICTIMIZER and, depending on your answer, what are going to do about it? If you are the victim, are you going to lash out at others and become the victimizer? If you are the victimizer, are you going to continue down the destructive path of bringing harm to others, regardless of your reason for doing it?

Remember, we’ve all been victims at one point or another; it is never okay to become the victimizer! Remember, God sees us for who we really are and calls us to repent and to believe in Christ’s Good News of hope, healing and wholeness. If we are truly victims, God will not fail us nor abandon us; rather, God stands in solidarity with those who are oppressed and downtrodden. God seeks to restore them to healing and wholeness. With that said, if we are the victimizers then it is time for us to humble ourselves and turn to God’s way of LOVE and PEACE. It is there that we will find reconciliation, restoration and renewal. Let those with eyes see, let those with ears hear, and let those with hearts be transformed by LOVE.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“When you’re the victim of the behavior, it’s black and white; when you’re the perpetrator, there are a million shades of gray.” – Dr. Laura Schlessinger

PRAYER
Lord, open my ears, my eyes and my heart and give me the insight to see myself for who I am, so that I may change where I need to. Amen.

Where is the Justice?

Read Romans 12:15-21

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“Indeed, the LORD will give justice to his people…” (Deuteronomy 32:36a, NLT)

ferguson-free-hugIn 1999, Mel Gibson starred in “Payback,” which was a 1950’s style crime-thriller directed by Brian Helgeland. I say “1950’s style” because it had Mel Gibson narrating his own story in the kind of way you’d expect to see on the classic police television show, “Dragnet”. The only twist is that Gibson’s character “Porter” is not a police officer, but a petty criminal who ends up being double crossed by his former partner-in-crime and his estranged wife. You see, Porter had cheated on his wife who later, to get back at her philandering husband, joined forces with his partner to plot against him. They shoot him (with the intent of killing him) and steal $70,000 from him…money that he, no doubt, stole from someone else.

To make a long story short, and to do so in a way that does not spoil the gritty fun (or perhaps experience is the better word) that the film is, Porter sets out to payback (hence the film’s name) those who did him wrong. He wages a bloody and intense war on his former partner, on his estranged wife and, eventually, on the crime syndicate that is protecting them. By the end of the film you can’t help but wonder what justice, if any, was done. With that said, it totally satisfies the inner need to see the “bad guy” get his in the end. Of course, porter is a “bad guy” who is getting even with other “bad guys.” This is played up in the film’s slogan, “Prepare to root for the bad guy.”

There are times in our life when we feel we have been wronged by our family, our friends, our neighbors, and other people. In those moments, we often cannot help but feel anger and the desire to get back at such people. Even when we are not seeking to get back at them ourselves, we wish that things would happen to them to “teach them a lesson.” We use terms like karma to express our wish for fate to slap them right where it counts and, if possible, allow us to be there to witness the moment it happens. I know that even while driving down the road, I have prayed that the person who cut me off would pass a police officer and get pulled over. I am sure I am not the only one who has prayed such a prayer.

We live in a world that sees REVENGE as justice. When things don’t go our way, when life seems to be unjust and no one seems to care that it is, we feel that we are then justified to take things into our own hands and exact our own brand of justice. In Ferguson, MO, for example, many protesters turned into rioters when they discovered that no charges were going to be brought against Officer Darren Wilson. As a result, a grieving family had to witness their son’s name being frivolously used to incite riots, store owners and community members alike stood helplessly as they watched their neighborhoods burn to the ground, innocent and peaceful protesters ended up having to endure tear gas and no doubt were fearing for their lives, and police officers had to put their lives on the line to try and keep the situation under control! Where’s the justice in all of that? The fact of the matter is that our own brand of “justice” is often not justice. Revenge is not JUSTICE, revenge is wrong and it solves nothing. All it does is create more victims.

If you want to see God’s justice, take a look at the picture for this devotion. It is of an officer who, in the midst of protests in Portland, Oregon over the Michael Brown case, hugged a twelve year-old boy who was crying because he saw the world around him falling a part. He was feeling the weight of the grand jury’s decision and was concerned about police brutality toward young black kids such as himself. In response to seeing the boy crying, the officer asked him what was wrong and, when the boy told him, he asked if he could have one of the “FREE HUGS” the boy’s protest sign was advertising.  JUSTICE is LOVE. JUSTICE is MERCY. Justice is KINDNESS. While the world around is often UNJUST, God is calling us to LIVE JUSTLY, to LOVE MERCY, and to WALK HUMBLY with God. That doesn’t mean that we sit back and let the innocent get trampled over; rather, that means that we peacefully and lovingly stand in solidarity with the oppressed without falling victim to the urge to GET BACK at the oppressor. LIVE JUSTLY and inspire others, through actions of peace and love, to join you in doing the same.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“Social justice cannot be attained by violence. Violence kills what it intends to create.” – Pope John Paul II

PRAYER
Lord, help me to spread JUSTICE through peaceful actions of LOVE, MERCY, and COMPASSION. Amen.