Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Sweetest Revenge Is ...

I have loved reading since I was able to recognise words. I guess this habit has stayed with me till now, so that whenever I am in the bus or mrt, I would read interesting quotes on the screen or on mobile television. One of the phrases that caught my attention recently was, "The sweetest revenge is forgiveness". Wow! What a profound statement!

As the bus was plying along the busy streets of the city area, I reflected over the statement. Most people would be so angry with their enemies that they would want to think of the most horrendous acts of retaliation they could conjure! Yet forgiveness is the sweetest revenge! Why?

When we are seething with fury and hatred, we are the ones to suffer. I recalled an incident that would be forever etched in my memory. I still remember the scene so vividly even though this incident has taken place some 4 decades ago! I visited my best friend, Saraswati who was also my classmate. Saraswati was a lovely Indian girl who could speak fluent Hokkien and was probably even more Chinese than some Chinese themselves. She preferred Chinese food to Indian food, and disliked wearing saris which she found too cumbersome and warm. Just as I was enjoying my chit chat with Saraswati, she suddenly screamed, "Run, Choo, she's coming for you!" I saw a dishevelled woman running towards me with a big chopper in her hand!

Instinctively, my heart beat very fast and I dashed into the washroom and slammed the door. I felt sick with fear as I could hear lots of commotion in the house. I heard Saraswati's brother telling the woman to behave herself and that I was not her enemy. About a few minutes later, Saraswati called me. Peace and quiet returned just as quickly.

"Am so sorry, Choo. That neighbour of mine is mad, and she lives just across our house. She must have been staring at you and she dislikes young girls who laugh and giggle, because they remind her of the sister she hates! Her sister married her boyfriend, and she gradually lost her sanity because of years of deep seated hatred."

I told Saraswati that just a few days ago, I had found the same lady standing under the tree near Saraswati's house. As I was unlocking my bicycle, I had tried to ask her if she was aware that an accident had occurred on the main road. "Don't know lah", she yelled and I fled with my bicycle! I had intended to ask Saraswati about the lady but did not get the opportunity to do so. After that incident, my parents no longer allowed me to visit Saraswati at her home.

If only the lady had forgiven her sister and moved on with her life. When we are told to forgive everyone before the sun sets, it is so that we can sleep peacefully and be refreshed and renewed with vigour and hope as the sun rises the following morning. Anger and hatred will only weigh us down. The burden is just too heavy to carry for any great length of time. Diseases and sicknesses will set in.

I remember Pastor Derek Hong had once shared in his sermon about a lady who had lost one leg through gangrene. Pastor Derek urged her to forgive her sister who had also married her boyfriend. She remained single and bitter, and to Pastor's surprise, she declared, "I'd rather lose another leg than to forgive the bitch!" Two years later, she had to amputate her remaining leg!! She'd rather hate than forgive and be healed. Someone has also aptly put in when he said, "While seeking revenge, dig two graves - one for yourself."

Hence, let go of your anger and unforgiveness. Initially it might not be easy as we are only human beings, but with divine help, everything is possible. As is written in Philippians's Chapter 4 Verse 13, the apostle Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Let us all continue to savour the sweetness of forgiveness.

Gan Chau

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