The Only Antidote for Revenge

Are you mad at someone right now? Have you ever been?

Alright, it’s a guaranteed “yes” for the second question; but it’s very possibly a “yes” for the first question, too.

They should pay for what they did. Right? Face it, we just tend to feel that way in some fashion – at least for a moment or two – when something happens that makes us upset.

But, what does that really gain for you, if the other person suffers? Nothing.

It doesn’t change the hurt that you feel. It doesn’t change the lack of peace from what happened.

So, what can change that?

messmer
Photo credit: Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune

Longtime Chicago sports national anthem singer Wayne Messmer was shot in the neck in April 1994.

Read this article for the full story. Here’s an excerpt:

Around 1:50 a.m. after a Blackhawks victory that April night, Messmer walked the 1 1/2 blocks to his car after leaving Hawkeye’s Bar and Grill at 1458 W. Taylor St. When Messmer attempted to drive away, two men approached the vehicle and one, a 15-year-old, shot him in the neck from point-blank range with a 9 mm pistol.

Somehow, Messmer drove back to the bar where he stumbled out of the car and into an ambulance that rushed him to Cook County Hospital. The “Save The Children Foundation” tie they used to stop the bleeding from Messmer’s neck until they reached the hospital now hangs in a frame on a wall at his home. After 10 hours of surgery and 2 1/2 days asleep, Messmer woke up feeling like the luckiest man in the city. One doctor later told Messmer he had no medical explanation why he survived, and with his voice intact.

“When you get that close to death, you get past why did it happen and ask why did I get better? What am I going to do with this gift?” said Messmer, who also still has the leather Blackhawks jacket with a bullet hole in the collar. “It was nothing short of miraculous. So I can’t possibly have a day I’m not totally grateful.”

With that spirit of gratefulness, Messmer visited the men who were responsible for his injuries and personally forgave them. This is what he had to say about that experience:

“I discovered that the only antidote for revenge is forgiveness.”

Amen. Thank you for the inspiration, sir.

Have a great day.

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