Guilt, Vengeance and Justice

My last post spoke about how I was feeling guilty over my feelings of happiness over my grandmother’s condition, and how I was raised to feel differently. I feel the need to expand on that. As I’ve said before I was raised in a very religious home. I was taught to follow the words of Romans 12:17-21:

17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it[i] to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – The Holy Bible, English Standard Version

While I have problems with a lot of my religious upbringing this is on principle that I do believe in – THAT GOD (or Karma or Fate, depending on what you believe in) WILL MEASURE OUT VENGEANCE AS HE SEES FIT AND THAT HIS WILL BE WORSE THAN ANYTHING I COULD COME UP WITH. So far that has held true – after all my grandfather spent month gasping for breath as he slowly drowned on the fluid building up around his lungs and heart; it was a slow and painful death. Now my grandmother has broken her hip which has made it so that she has to do something she doesn’t want to do – let someone else be in charge. She has months of rehab ahead of her in which she will have people telling what to do. She will be in a nursing home instead of her home. People will be controlling her sleeping, eating, medications, dressing, grooming, pretty much everything but her breathing; it will drive her crazy.

I looked up guilt, vengeance and justice in the dictionary:

GUILT – a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.

VENGEANCE – infliction of injury, harm, humiliation, or the like, on a person by another who has been harmed by that person; the desire for revenge.

JUSTICE – the administering of deserved punishment.

This is what I’ve learned: I can feel that justice has been administered when bad things happen to the bad people in my life without feeling a need for guilt. After all I am not the one that is inflicting the vengeance, I am just the one that gets the feelings of justification that comes with the punishment that they receive.


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