You can relax briefly on the short term profits of revenge. You can retire eternally comfortable on the dividends of gratitude.
Gratitude gives value to the gift or act of kindness bestowed. By saying ‘thank you’ I confer upon the giver a sense of goodness about themselves and their gift. Revenge, however, puts someone beneath me, back where they belong. I owe them nothing and I make sure they know it.
Revenge is profitable, while gratitude is expensive. Gratitude costs. It means I must express words of thanks for things, many times, I think I deserve anyway. I am owed something by the one who is giving it to me. Hence, I don’t feel compelled to say thank you. I don’t express gratitude because it causes me to ingratiate myself. It is humbling to admit, or confess this person’s act of kindness as something of value, which means they are of value to me also.
Gratitude is expensive, while revenge is profitable. I have the choice. Short term profit of revenge, or the long term benefits of gratitude.
I feel better about myself with revenge. I am more powerful. I have won. I have gotten my point across. Revenge is profitable.
God feels better about me with gratitude. His power is perfected in my meekness. Christ’s love shines through me. I have lost. God has won. Gratitude is expensive.
Matthew 5:38-44 (The Message) “Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look: ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere? Is that going to get us anywhere? Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it.
And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.
“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer.