A reading from the book of Romans 12:19, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord.”
Revenge is not easy to resist, for we all have experienced and felt the surge of envies from within ourselves at one time or another in our life in some shape or form. It can take a psychological and physical toll on a human being. Holding a grudge will restrain you from reaching a bliss; negative thoughts will continue to overshadow any thoughts of joy and contentment. If one has his/her sights on absolute vengeance, the extent to which he/she exerts revenge can be limitless.
Forgiveness, on the other hand, is known to society as morally right. Sometimes, it may be a challenge to forgive a fellow friend, but you have to let go of your bitter resentments and let go of the past to cherish what you have in front of you. Forgiveness is the key to growth and maturity in life. Everyone makes mistakes and no one is perfect. Having mercy on others gives them a second chance to learn from their wrongdoings, and refrain from repeating them same mistakes in order to become a better person in society.
The novel, “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, portrays the value of forgiving over and the negative aspects of vengeance. First, we have Hester and Dimmesdale, two characters who have both committed the sin of adultery. And the latter, Chillingworth, is a man on a mission to avenge Dimmesdale for cheating with his wife.
Here’s where it all goes south for Chillingworth:
Chillingworth is only interested in one thing and one thing only: Revenge. Once a wise scholar, now an old man with only one thing that can bring satisfaction to his life. The man relinquishes his distaste and bitter feeling on Dimmesdale by devoting his entire life into making Dimmesdale’s life as miserable as can be. This becomes his only mission in life. He transforms into the devil’s favorite demon by doing the devil’s work. Rather than doing what God wants, he follows Satan and deliberately harms others. And when Dimmesdale dies, he is left with nothing to live for.
If you’ve read the Count of Monte Cristo, The Count’s character seeks revenge just like Chillingworth, but why does Dante live a happy ending compared to Chillingworth’s. They both had vengeance listed number one in their mind, but how come the outcome was different for Monte Cristo? Well, its because Monte Cristo meets self-realization. He realizes that he was no God; he should not punish others because it was God’s job. Chillingworth never met this self-realization and decided to do the punishing rather than letting God do his work.
On the other hand, Dimmesdale and Hester have committed the ultimate crime in the Puritan society: Adultery. But as the story progresses, we can see the character development of these two as they learn from their mistakes and become closer to God. Hester has to carry the Scarlet letter embroidered onto her as an act of penance. It is a symbol of her sin, reminding her to a better person. Through constant humiliation, she refuses to take it off because she realizes that God has given it to her and it is her duty to repent. Dimmesdale is different from Hester because he does not reveal and acknowledge his sin to the world until the end of the novel. When Hester apologizes to him for not telling him that Chillingworth was her husband, Dimmesdale accepts her apology.
Now think about it….Dimmesdale had been tortured and haunted by Chillingworth for years. He had been a shell of himself because of Chillingworth’s presence, leeching his soul out of him. Forgiving the woman who could have prevented this, defines Dimmesdale’s character greatly.
From the book of Matthew 6:14-15, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” Dimmesdale forgives Hester’s sin against him. Did God keep his word in the end? Well let’s see…
When Dimmesdale was about to die, he said, “By bringing me hither, to die this death of triumphant ignominy before the people!” He died the way he wanted to. He left in peace.
It is up to God to punish the sinners and reward his children. Do not take revenge, but let go and forgive. Let Him decide on Judgement Day.