Strength for the Journey pointed me to the story of DeForest Soaries who faced great adversity growing up. At one point, a gang of five took him to a vacant lot, dragged him out of the car, and put a gun to the back of his head. It was going to be a drug-related shooting. Just as they were about to shoot him, one of the gang saw a police car.
Concerned that the policeman would hear the gun shot, they dragged him back to the car. Nearly five hours later, their “gang boss” told them to let him go. The five threatened that they would come back later to get him.
Years past by, but DeForest never forgot that day and his brush with death. Fortunately, he went to college and also made room for God in his life. He did not allow the emotion of revenge to set him back. He did not worry about the five returning.
The story of DeForest Soaries continued as he got a bachelor degree, Masters and a Doctor of Divinity. In fact he has also received five honorary Doctorate degrees from other institutions. He has served as Secretary of State in New Jersey. He is now the senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens.
In the story of his life, he says that a time came when he saw the man that had held the gun to his head. He saw him after finishing up a speaking engagement. Instead of running, he went up to the man and hugged him. He had no revenge in his heart.
Recently, I was discussing a client’s damages from a crash. At one point, he interrupted me when we talked about the concept of mental anguish. He told me that he did experience emotional ups and downs but that he did not hold any anger against the driver that had caused his injuries. When I heard the story of Soaries, I was reminded of that client. He was not going to be held prisoner to the emotion of revenge. Instead, he was focused on getting better and moving on.
Josh Billings said that “there is no revenge so complete as forgiveness”. Douglas Horton reminds us that “while seeking revenge, dig two graves…one of them for you”.
DID YOU KNOW that Cinderella’s slippers were originally made out of fur until the story was changed in the 1600’s by a translator? I guess that’s where the expression comes from, “I love your fur slippers.” Wait… I’ve never heard that expression.
And for pic o’ day, a timely one on Facebook: