Have you ever had someone deliberately commit evil deeds that harmed you or someone in your family? I don’t mean petty things that might annoy you from time to time. No, I’m referring to evil deeds that alter your life in a very negative way. If so, you probably experienced some anger that may have even escalated into rage.
So, what should we do when such evil deeds come our way? Should we seek revenge to get even or offer forgiveness and move on? How can we control our rage in a way that prevents us from doing something we may live to regret?
Obviously, there are many options available, but this post highlights one method that falls somewhere in the broad spectrum between seeking revenge and forgiving. It helps control the rage that is a normal reaction to evil deeds. The idea comes from a man I’ll refer to as John. He definitely marches to the beat of a different drum and is not afraid to think outside the box in pursuit of solutions.
I met John many years ago when we were next-door neighbors. He was in his early forties and I was in my late twenties at the time. We spent many hours discussing topics ranging from the weather to hot-button-political events while standing by the wooden fence that separated our backyards. Naturally, we had solutions for all of the world’s problems.
This reminds me of the Tool Time sitcom where characters, Tim and Wilson, had many discussions while standing on opposite sides of a wooden fence.
During one of our wisdom-sessions by the fence, I shared some details about a situation one of my relatives had recently experienced as a defendant in a civil suit. I described how the plaintiff’s prosecutor used very underhanded tactics and false-malicious rhetoric about my relative in the closing arguments to sway the jury and ultimately win the case. What made this difficult for me was there was a time in life when I considered said prosecutor to be my friend.
As I listened to the prosecutor grandstanding at my relative’s expense, my anger toward him quickly escalated to rage. I wanted to seek revenge, but my thoughts on how to go about it would only make the situation much worse—for me. To put it mildly, I was in a quandary as to what I should or could do.
As I explained the details of the court case, John maintained a pensive expression, but said nothing. When I finished my monologue, he proceeded to tell me the method he uses to control his rage.
“Tom, I’m glad you haven’t done anything dramatic yet because I prefer talking to you over the fence and not through the bars of a jail cell. At the same time, I also know how you feel. It’s hard to deal with rage in a calm-peaceful manner, but it’s not impossible.
“Life is complicated. There are many people willing to do nice things for us and seriously want to help in any way they can. I call them the good folks. We should cherish them. Unfortunately, there are also people who will stab you in the back and rejoice when they harm you. I refer to them as the evil folks. They seem to have no conscience and allow their love of money or other misplaced-evil values to influence their actions. They are willing do anything to win.
“You and I both believe in a loving God and know what He wants us to do when we face such situations. The prosecutor may also believe in God, but he seems to have succumbed to the earthly ways of evil. The Lord will judge all of us by the things we say and do.
“Like you, I’ve had people do evil deeds not only to me, but also to members of my family. Rather than trying to get even with them, I realized long ago that the best thing for me to do was to create a list. I call it my Pallbearer List.
“So, what is my Pallbearer List?
“Well, it’s simple. When someone does something evil to me or my family, I place their name, date, and what they did on a list. It’s my passive means of holding people accountable for their actions. It helps me control my rage toward them by allowing me to put the person and the evil they did out of my mind, which prevents me from doing something crazy by trying to get even. In essence, they become ‘non-people’ in my life—I still love them, but I no longer like or care to be around them. They simply no longer exist in my little corner of the world.
“As I said before, the Lord will make final judgement on all of us. There’s no need for me to stoop to their low-evil ways, so I try to take the high road. Besides, God teaches us to love our neighbor, but He doesn’t say we have to like them or the things they do.
“I can see by your expression that you’re wondering if your name is on my list, and you’re also probably wondering what happens to people who are on the list.
“First of all, you’re not on the list—not yet!
“Secondly, nothing happens to them, at least not until my death. I don’t hire a ‘hit squad’ to take them out, nor do I perform any hoodoo-voodoo rituals on them. I actually wish them well and even say a prayer on their behalf. Upon my death, each person on my Pallbearer List will receive a personal invitation from me—prewritten of course. The invitation asks each of them to serve as either a pallbearer or honorary pallbearer at my funeral, depending on the nature of the evil deed they committed. The invitation also serves to remind them of their evil deed(s).
“I look at it this way. It may be the first time some of them ever set foot in a church. I’m simply reminding them of their evil deeds, which also gives each of them a chance to ask for forgiveness and repent before their final day of judgement. It’s my last opportunity to serve God before they place my body beneath the grass.
“The list also provides a special bonus for me. The most evil of those on the list will serve as pallbearers and carry my casket to the grave. Consider it “poetic justice” with a touch of grace and forgiveness.
“I bet you’re also wondering if my Pallbearer List has actually helped me control my rage.
“Absolutely! Had I not found a means to control my anger—my rage, you’d be talking to me through the bars of a jail-cell right now. That simple list has prevented me from doing some ill-advised things over the years.
“You see, rage is a powerful force that can lead people to commit acts they may regret for the rest of their lives. There are times when getting even is just not worth the consequences.”
As I stated in the beginning, John thinks outside the box. Sometimes, his unusual ideas actually have merit. Who knows, his Pallbearer List may very well be one of them.
So, are you going to think outside the box and consider using a Pallbearer List or similar method to help you control your anger—your rage? No matter what you do, I hope the method you choose works well because life is much better talking to others while standing beside the fence.
Have a great day!
Tom Tatum – Author – 2016
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