Revenge: A Dish Best Unserved

Revenge: A Dish Best Unserved

Thursday’s Column: Carlnormous Comments

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Carl Pollard

Growing up, April first was a nightmare in our house. Dale and I would plan months in advance all the pranks we would do to each other. April Fool’s Day would start with small, harmless pranks. I would put soap on Dale’s toothbrush, Dale would tape my matchbox cars to the wall. And everything would be fine…but not for very long. It always ended up getting out of hand. As the day progressed the pranks got meaner and dirtier. I’d get mad and put salt in Dale’s drink, and he would turn around and get revenge by pouring salad dressing in my shoes. I’d get even more upset and would light one of his toys on fire, and Dale would lock me in a closet. But there was one instance I can still remember clearly; it was near the end of April Fool’s Day so we were both at the peak of mean pranks. I stole Dale’s hat while we were at the park, and threw it in the pond. And Dale got his revenge by taking my brand new scooter and throwing it into the lake. It was never seen again. Needless to say, mom banned pranks on April Fool’s for the rest of our time at home.

I say all of that to illustrate the very simple point that revenge never ends well. It doesn’t cultivate relationships, and it never strengthens our influence. Romans 12:19 reads, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

Taking revenge can be quite tempting. Our sin-fueled, human emotions will naturally push us to take revenge and to get even with those who hurt us. We want to hurt those who hurt us. We want to insult them and avenge ourselves. Why? Because if we are honest, it feels good. It feels good to brake check the person that cut us off. It feels good to insult the person that spoke rudely to us. It feels good to take revenge because. WE want to get even with others. We take revenge because we selfishly think only of ourselves and how it’ll make US feel. But if we want to be called God’s children we must leave the avenging to our Father.

As Christians we should expect the world to hurt us because it’s driven by sin. The Christian, however, shouldn’t be the same because we are led by God. Taking revenge harms our influence, and it shows that we don’t truly trust that God will avenge us. God is our avenger and we must be careful to not practice what God has rightfully claimed. By following this command, not only are we letting God take care of us,  we also open the door to a healthy relationship with those in the world as well as in the Church.

Imposters!

Imposters!

Neal Pollard

C.J. Schexnayer reports of the hilarious antics of some South Carolina football fans almost 54 years ago. It seems that a certain USC fraternity, Sigma Nu,  commandeered official-looking Clemson uniforms, chartered a bus and went to the Gamecocks’ stadium. They were able to fool the police, who let them go inside and run through the tunnel onto the football field. Clemson fans wildly cheered with enthusiasm as they welcomed “their team.”  Schexnayer writes, “On Nov. 11, 1961, with more than 47,000 spectators on hand in Colombia’s Carolina Stadium the group put their plan into action. As the bands warmed up for the game the Sigma Nus suddenly came streaming out the Southeast corner of the end zone as if they were the Clemson squad. They were accompanied by one prankster dressed as the Clemson’s folksy coach complete with a pillow under his shirt to approximate Howard’s girth…The Clemson band started playing the school’s fight song and the team’s fans began cheering for the group on the field they believed were their players. Everything seemed normal as the bogus Clemson squad assembled as if to do their warm ups. But after a few minutes, the group began to display some… problems.  The punter began kicking the ball behind him, running backs were doing somersaults at the line of scrimmage and everyone wearing orange seems incapable of holding onto the ball. The faux Frank Howard began spitting massive spurts of tobacco juice just about everywhere. Finally the whole group gathered in the end zone to perform ‘the most prissified dance you’ve ever seen’ according the participant’s accounts” (from http://www.footballstudyhall.com).  That story made me laugh, as I considered the creativity of those hijinxers! It got points for flamboyance, originality, and hilarity. Those poor Clemson fans!

Yet, something infinitely sobering takes place in our world today. There are people getting fooled into thinking that certain men who make out as though they are preaching the Bible who are teaching something different. It is false. They have ways to convince people who are otherwise intelligent, thoughtful, and undoubtedly sincere and committed. Paul says such preachers use “smooth and flattering speech” to “deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting” (Rom. 16:18). Peter says that some would introduce destructive heresies. He warns, “And in their greed they will exploit you with false words…” (2 Pet. 2:3). He says they are really slaves, yet they promise others freedom (2 Pet. 2:18). Again, it was Paul who pleaded, “Let no one deceive you with empty words” (Eph. 5:6).  Everyday and everywhere, people are getting sold a raw bill of goods. When they ask what to do to be saved, how to worship, about the end of the world, and how to live morally, they are told lies (cf. 1 Tim. 4:2). There is more at stake than pride and embarrassment. Too many people will not know they were deceived until the repercussions are eternally serious!

Watch out for imposters.  Jesus says they will sneak into other “uniforms,” too (Mat. 7:15). Listen closely, watch, and observe. As you study diligently, you will be able to distinguish between the fakes and the genuine article!