In Greek Mythology, it was “the Erinyes”, three sisters, who were responsible for doling it out.
In the Nordic myth, The Lady Kriemhilde was responsible for it when “she marries Attila in one reliable historical account and kills him in revenge for the death of her former husband on their wedding night”¹; and the God, Vidar the Redeemer², surely helped her in this quest.
The Talmud states that “Living well. It is the greatest revenge,” and a modern contribution that is a play on this states that success is the best revenge.
In our Christian faith, Paul relates in Romans – “For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer”.³
And this from Sir Francis Bacon “In taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior”.†
They burn a flag, we burn a Koran; they decapitate a man, we decapitate a vicious regime in Iraq; they hit the Twin Towers, and God only knows what we will hit next.
They say now they have their sites on Israel, and I feel certain that if they strike, there will be massive retaliation.
It would be grand if we could follow the admonition of our holy book, but I believe there are times when we must praise God, and pass the amunition.
Not for an instant is it a viable option for us to try and barter with cut-throats.
While it is all-too-often said that theirs is a religion of peace, there is hardly any evidence that upholds that notion.
They brutally attack, swear revenge, pray for our death…and it is our religion that states to be kind to our enemy and leave vengeance to God alone.
Apparently it is in their own religion that their God can not act of his own accord; without these lowly creatures below doing his biding for their reward of vestal virgins, he seems rather powerless; our God does not rely on minions – vengeance belongs to Him alone!
It would be a grand world if all could follow a path of peace; but it would seem that our enemy will have none of that.
To burn a book…a physical object that is off this earth; or perhaps a flag?
Does either change what the objects stand for? Does it change the principles in men’s hearts and minds that are really what the symbols stand as reminder for?
The concepts will not change.
As long as there are men with faith, with reason, with precepts and with creed, the symbols will continue to be hewn, woven, written.
While pages or fabric may burn, what lives in the hearts of men will burn as well, and those are the fires with tendency to last and last.
My prayer is that men of all faiths will turn over the wrath to their Gods.
Irrespective of your concept of revenge, in my heart, no one could dole it out better than my creator (and I for one, would never wish to make war on Him).
My prayer for all is that peace will find its way into the heart of every man now at war.
¹ http://www.howarddavidjohnson.com/nordicmyths.htm ² http://www.godchecker.com/pantheon/norse-mythology.php?deity=VIDAR³ Romans 13:4 ESV
†The Quotations Page, http://www.quotationspage.com/, published by Michael and Laura Moncur, 2010.