I Demand Justice!

Revenge v. Justice

Haven’t you ever wanted to see someone who’d hurt you “get what they deserve?” Most of us have. Grandma Esther used to say, “Every dog has its day.” Rest assured she wanted to be there to watch it happen, if not personally take part in the act.

Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves. - Confucius

Grandma wanted revenge, not justice. There is a big difference between the two. Revenge satisfies our ego. We get to be right. We are there to observe the punishment. We get to feel vindicated, justified, and may feel like we’ve turned the tables on the person who we allowed to victimize us. But it will never give us what justice does:

In his new documentary series on The National Geographic Channel, actor Morgan Freeman examines how peoples all over the world deal with the results of war, and how peace is possible. In one episode, he sits across from a Tutsi woman whose family was killed by the Hutu people during the genocide in Rwanda.

Next to her sits the man who was part of the Hutu militia. The man was personally responsible for killing those family members. Over two years of communication has resulted in these two people from different tribes becoming friends through the help of a local bishop in the area. They are part of an “ambitious reconciliation program.” The man who murdered her husband, brother-in-law, and two children now helps her with her farm to provide income for her family, making amends for his actions.

We are more aware today more than ever before of the injustice in the world. This is so because of 24-hour-a-day news coverage, the Internet, and our smart phones. Because of the information we receive it can become extremely easy to react to events and reports, often without a full understanding of the complete picture. We want to stop the violence, but we frequently lack any knowledge of why such horrible events are happening in the first place. We can become so fixated on the solution that we ignore why the problem exists.

Revenge is easy. Justice takes time. We must gain knowledge; we seek to understand; we can then act in wise ways to correct the problem; and, we begin the healing process.

“Revenge is a dish best served cold,” is a phrase attributed to Pashto origins, shows up in the Italian culture, and even said to be of Klingon origin in Star Trek II:  The Wrath of Khan. Regardless of the actual source it dooms us to a cold, heartless, and unsatisfying life, instead of warming us to a brighter future.

In the television series, Revenge, a “double infinity” symbol was used emphasis unending love – in a sense, “double forever.” That same symbol reminds me every day that revenge, not justice, continues the cycle of hate, anger, and lack of forgiveness.

Is there someone in your life upon whom you are seeking revenge? Are you investing your time, treasures, and talents in the pursuit of getting back at another? Seek this week to heal those thoughts. Determine to forgive, so that the psychic bindings holding you to that person or situation are severed for all time.

We have within us the power to change. It’s a quality which we are born with, but often fail to use. We are only victims of the past if we chose to be so.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Copyright © 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.

This message may be re-printed, copied and/or forwarded without permission, as long as the content is not altered in any way and credit is given to the author.

Is Your “Give-A-Damn” Busted?

Forgiveness Doesn’t Mean Pitching Self-Respect

Do you ever feel like forgiveness makes you into a doormat? It can if we let it, but I hope that a new look at forgiveness and moving forward in life will make that a thing of the past for you.

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says that “acceptance is the answer to all my problems.” Acceptance, however, does not mean approval. In the same way, forgiveness does not mean allowing people to continue abusing us.

When Jesus said to “turn the other cheek” he was not suggesting that the left hook felt so good we should turn our face to accept a hard right hook. No. What he meant was to turn away from the problem and look toward the solution. In this way we not only remove ourselves from the situation, but we also maintain our own self-respect and dignity.

Sometimes, turning away from the situation means turning away from certain people. When a person says, “I’m not good enough for you,” believe them. They know what they’re talking about.

As Jo Dee Messina says in her classic song, “My Give a Damn’s Busted,” we really do try to care. We really do want to dig a little deeper to understand. But at some point, when we are not getting anything in return but more heartache and disappointment, it may be time to cut ties. When or if that is necessary with someone in your life only you can know.

Ask yourself how hard you’re trying in any given situation, be it with another person or some other circumstance. Ask yourself exactly what it is you’re trying for; and, are you the only one putting in the effort?

You’ll have your answer. Forgiveness is a foundation piece of experiencing a life worth living, a life of happiness. Forgiveness is not, however, an invitation for being less that you are and being recognized for it by the people around you.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

 

Copyright © 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.
This message may be re-printed, copied and/or forwarded without permission, as long as the content is not altered in any way and credit is given to the author.

Frying Bacon in the Nude

Do you beat yourself up when you make mistakes? It’s not uncommon, so don’t begin beating yourself up now for previously beating yourself up!

We are taught to put ourselves down. “You shouldn’t have done that,” “little girls should be quiet,” “little boys don’t cry,” and the list goes on. While traveling around the country I hear parents constantly – and often in raised voices – chastising their children for what they’ve done. In airports, hotels and on board airliners too many adults continue to stop children from living, instead of encouraging them to live.

Were you one of those children? If you were precocious as a child – I certainly was – then adults probably tried to silence you quite often. One of my teachers wrote my parents to say I should stop correcting her in front of the other children, even though I was right. Thankfully, I’ve mellowed over the past few decades.

We’re going to screw up. We’re going to do things that make people mad. That’s just how we move through life, but we don’t have to be that way ourselves. We can open up to a completely new way of gentle kindness in dealing with our own foibles, you know, the ones only we know about in our minds.

And we can be mindful every day to take the time we need to care for ourselves. It’s like frying bacon in the nude. As a life-long nudist I remember asking my mother – I must have been about three years old – why the lady cooking at the nudist camp was the only nakedone wearing anything. “Because, Terry,” she explained, “You don’t fry bacon in the nude.”

Getting ready for services one Sunday in my first year of ministry, behind in my schedule as I often was at that time, I found out quite acutely just how right mother was. There are certain things in life we shouldn’t go without. When hot, splattering bacon is involved, an apron is more than a good idea.

So where do you need an apron in your life? Could you imagine spiritually wiping your hands on your imaginary apron the next time you bitch-slapped yourself for something you could have avoided? It’s not about making ourselves wrong. It’s about lovingly deciding, wiping away the guilt – with authority and empowerment – and acknowledging that we can choose again.

We always do the best we can with what we have to work with. If we can do better next time we will. We can always choose again. The trick in our practice is to more often make the better (not right, better for the current moment) choice in the first place. What will you choose today?

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

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Terry Drew Karanen © 2016

You Talking to Me?

How many times have you heard that line in a movie or TV show based in New York City? I lived in Manhattan for nearly two years. No one ever said that to me. Perhaps I’m not that threatening, but then again I talk to most everyone.

That’s the standard joke in my family. I can get someone’s full family history, find out their deepest secrets and leave them with a smile on their face and hope for the future – all in 30 seconds or less in the check-out line at a convenience store.16 Blog

It’s a gift.

Kidding aside, however, people talk to us all the time. If we are to live the global vision of a world that works for everyone we ought to be listening more carefully. Perhaps we don’t like what we’re hearing. Or, maybe we just don’t like the message being delivered by what we consider to be the wrong person.

I know it’s a real ego buster when someone we don’t care for smacks us with the truth about our situation. Ouch. You’ve been there I’m sure. I know I have. We don’t want to admit the truth about why we are in yet another abusive relationship, dead-end job or reoccurring illness, but there we are and the person we least appreciate being in our life is there to deliver the obvious.

What to do? Here’s a couple of ideas:

  • Do NOT react.
  • Breathe. Deeply. Allow your body and mind to relax.
  • Agree. Yeah, I know. It’s really hard sometimes, but just for the moment agree with the person. This defuses any anger or upset on the part of the other person involved, which in turn allows us to relax a bit as well.
  • Forgive yourself. Why? Because if you could be doing any better you would be.
  • Resolve to do better, whatever that looks like for you, understanding that what it might look like is continuing to be a hot mess for a bit longer.
  • Thank the person. No, seriously. Thank them. They are the messenger of Spirit, sent to you to help you. If you’d listened to your inner guidance you wouldn’t be having this experience. So suck it up, Buttercup, and remember to listen next time when your intuition tells you what you should or shouldn’t be doing.
  • Forgive yourself. Again. Sorry, that last bullet point was a bit harsh. But it’s the Truth, so take another deep breath and forgive yourself. You don’t read my work because I’m Glinda the Good Witch, all pink and sparkly. You expect me to be blunt, but I hope you know I still love you. (If it’s any consolation the people I love and respect in my life do the same thing to me … and at the time I usually don’t like it either … I feel your pain.)
  • It’s only going to get better!

You’re smiling, right? If you aren’t running in terror right now or hitting “unsubscribe” from my blogs, then come on over to the Facebook® page for Spirit, Mind and Body Foundation, my Centers for Spiritual Living focus ministry. Every day this week we’ll be chatting about ways to live in closer contact with the inner revealer of Truth and learn how to communicate better with those around us.

Come join the fun!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

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