Has anyone ever treated you wrong, disrespected you, bullied you, or slammed the door in your face? I know I still get those sorts of treatments from time to time even today as an older adult. Sometimes I perceive other's mistreat me when in reality I'm simply offering up a knee-jerk reaction to what might fall on my plate this week or what fell on it last week. Nevertheless, perceived or real injustice hurts often, cuts deeply, and wounds the human spirit.
Yet, the real essence of the whole episode lies not in what others do to us, but how we respond to them. Revenge feels deeply satisfying in our soul as we contemplate getting back at the other fella. Punching them in the nose, putting them in a headlock (you can easily tell I'm a baby-boomer by the old fashioned methods I would use) sure makes me smile while I sit in my easy chair, drink coffee, and read a good novel. Still, my heart informs me that revenge is dangerous and disastrous.
At the heart of revenge lies anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness. Those nefarious attitudes destroy not the bully, but the victim. They poison our very life and hold us back from leadership potential thus, blocking our creator's purpose for us to add value to others. Plus, vengeful dispositions follow the victim wherever they may go. One can run, but they cannot hide from themselves.
Let me tell you a brief story about constructive, redemptive revenge. Texas Tech University fired head football coach Mike Leach right at the peak of his career. They refused to let him coach his bowl game, thus negating his $$$bonus. Tech fans were furious. He was the most popular coach in Texas Tech football history. Many believe the issue revolved around politics, power struggles and egos. I will not speculate further. Leach field a lawsuit against the university to collect his bowl money. He lost.
Fast forward to now. Leach coaches the Pac 12 Washington State Cougars. For years they have been an embarrassment to the conference. Other teams habitually taunt them prior to games. Leach doesn't quite mind. In his quirky dry humored, non emotional response he simply exudes a confident patience.
This year the WS Cougars are bowl eligible and a distant contender for the Pac 12 title. Let the reader and fans beware. Leach has gotten his sweet revenge with an exclamation mark! What did he do? He bred success in a laughingstock team.
You see, nothing scores revenge on others like success. It shuts the mouths of critics and gives the victor a deep seated, soul abiding peace. There is no peace in vindictiveness. Success, however, transforms, disciplines, and matures a person. Demonstrates his leadership capabilities.
So, the next time you seek the false pleasure of revenge, use that wasted energy on success. Sooner or later you may be able to declare with us Leach fans, "Ah, the sweet smell of revenge through creative success."