The Trap of Revenge

In the late 1950’s the price of a gallon of gasoline jumped from about 19 to 26 cents. That was a big increase—about 37%. There was a crisis in the Middle East. Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal; the safe shipment of oil was threatened and then Israel and Egypt went to war. The U.S. and some of our European allies got involved. Eventually that Mid-east Crisis was resolved, but the price of gas never went back to 19 cents. Nearly every time there is a crisis in the world, the price of gas goes up. Sometimes it makes us more cautious about how much we drive. Sometimes we just get angry. 

Around 1959 a man in our Florida church discovered someone was stealing gas from his car. His indignation, his pride and his anger led him astray. Ordinarily he was like a next-door buddy in my parents’ Sunday School class. He and his wife loved to host backyard cookouts and were the first to arrive with food when the need arose. They had two or three children a little younger than we were. He was the joke-teller and the life of every party. Then someone started siphoning gas from his car late at night. His house had an open carport so he could not put his car in the garage. He finally settled on a way to deter his robber. This was revenge.

One evening after dinner he set his trap. He stripped apart the end of a long extension cord and attached the bare wires to the bumper of his car. (In those days cars were made of metal.) He was going to teach that thief a shocking lesson. He thought of one more touch—water. He brought out the garden hose and wet down the car and driveway. He plugged in the extension cord and walked around the car to survey his work. As he neared the front of the car he slipped or tripped, falling with both hands on the hood. His wife ran to unplug the cord, but it was too late. A family lost a husband and father. My parents lost a good friend. I learned a tragic lesson about anger and the high price of revenge. Proverbs 22:24-25 says, Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.  Vengeance is a trap you set for yourself. 

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Vengeance belongs to God. So let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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