On Revenge

This is certain, that a man that studieth revenge keeps his own wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well.” ~ Francis Bacon

When you are consumed by bitterness, it spreads within you like a disease. Such bitterness may appeal temporarily to others who, fooled by grief, drawn in by sympathy or preoccupied by lust, join forces, but such alliances are rarely lasting and invariably self-destructive. Anger, hatred, and bitterness cause wounds to fester, relationships to disintegrate and mighty and noble souls to be chained to the earth.

That which is past is gone, and irrevocable; and wise men have enough to do with things present and to come: therefore they do but trifle with themselves, that labour in past matters.” ~ Francis Bacon

This simple truth is the means by which the antipathy of others can be requited with kindness and forgiveness. Those who are stuck in the past live in prison cells of their own making. You needn’t speak ill of them, for your accusers cast themselves down. They don’t need any help making bigger fools of themselves, instead, they need quiet service, constant forgiveness and in most cases, respectful disregard.

The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.” ~ Marcus Aurelius

9 thoughts on “On Revenge

  1. Ricardo B.

    I believe we live in a universe that is governed by just laws and edicts. If this is so, then I have no business in judging people or enacting revenge, for the laws themselves are by their very nature enacting a just reply to all of our actions.
    It takes a good measure calm humility to accept certain things in the world the way it is. Not all things are as they appear at first to be, and the only way to know for sure sometimes is to let things be revealed on a longer term basis. The desire to know things right away must be tempered, and when in doubt, I’ve found it best to simply keep fulflilling one’s personal responsibility daily as that should be sufficient to keep one well occupied and less prone to fantasy.

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  2. Thank you for your clear spirit regarding the aspect of revenge. I love the words quiet service, constant forgiveness and respectful disregard. Obviously there is a way to bring clarity to our world which has been based in a large part by revenge.

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  3. Coco

    A dear friend recently advised me that living in the past is selfish, it robs your future and robs those that share in your future. It made sense to me. Timley post, thank you.

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  4. David R

    The compulsion to vengeance sustains and feeds every ill thing. Often those bent on revenge are portrayed in heroic terms, but genuine heroism eschews vengeful thoughts, feelings and actions as the parasites they are. Surely forgiveness is the most precious commodity and the most powerful asset available to any of us.

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  5. S.B.

    Ghandi once said to the effect that “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” Your post is an effective prevention of (and cure for) blindness!!

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  6. Lady Leo

    Everyone makes this decision numerous times in their lives…actually daily! Practicing forgiveness and understanding in the small incidences develops compassion and kindness. In this we are the architects of our lives.
    Being quick to anger or to take offence is often the personality that’s developed by a vengeful person. It’s never just one event. A waste of a perfectly good life.
    Thanks for the post.

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  7. Strawberryfield

    I’m always saddened when the inspiration of life is replaced by the inspiration of revenge. It has a wizening effect on the heart and mind that makes us stupid and dull. Our forward movement is stopped and we forfeit our greatest gift of all, creativity. Forgiveness is the only antidote that I know of to revenge.

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  8. Colin

    Thanks for the great thoughts! I especially appreciated the second Francis Bacon comment. We should have enough to do that we are not preoccupied with staring into the past, either regretting or imagining past wrongs. The fact is, we cannot know all the facts surrounding the situation where we were “wronged”, so how can we decide what the proper punishment is for the person who did that to us? If they really wronged you, they have to live with themselves anyway. Move forward, keep your chin up, and keep making progress instead of worrying about what happened yesterday.

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  9. Rebecca Ledet

    This is such an important topic. So many people are consumed with revenge – trying to make sure people get what “they deserve” because they feel they’ve been wronged or someone they know has been wronged. For some twisted reason, they think it’s a form of healing to seek revenge, but in fact as the quote stated, it just leaves the wound open and never can heal. Forgiveness, whether you are accurate in your view of another or not, is the only salve that can clean and heal a wound. It’s really worth thinking about – do you want your life to have pockets of gangrene festering or do you want to have a life of healing and freedom?

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