Confession: I love the new television drama Revenge. It’s a bit like eating a heaping plate of cheese covered, chili soaked, French fries…so delicious and yet so wrong. For those of you unfamiliar with the devilishly delicious show, it is basically a contemporary re-telling of The Count of Monte Cristo. And by contemporary I mean two things: 1) in a modern setting, where the main character is a woman and 2) NOT for children! Actually, in light of recent content, I am still determining if it is appropriate for me.
Oh, but there’s just something about watching a young, victimized woman exact revenge on her filthy rich, powerful and morally corrupt perpetrators, while posing as the beautiful, wealthy, sophisticated, girl-next-door. Who hasn’t dreamed of possessing such power, poise and endless resources? Even if just for a moment. The temptation to avenge oneself is forceful…it thrusts itself upon us when we least expect it. One minute I’m changing the radio station in my car and then I find myself devising scathing, witty comments with which to slay my enemy’s soul when next I see him.
Thankfully, such reveries are quickly interrupted by a harsh dose of reality upon remembering that I am not clever, cold or courageous enough to act on my imaginations; which, after all, is a good thing. Fear really does come in handy sometimes. Revenge, a nasty, violent affair, often inflicts its greatest wounds on the avenger.
The main character, Amanda (a.k.a. Emily) initially experiences great success in taking down some of her fringe enemies – those who are guilty by association. Yet, like a lioness closing in on her prey, she circles closer and closer toward her main targets, the people who destroyed her family. This made for especially entertaining television at first, as every Wednesday night Amanda skillfully destroyed another immoral, hypocritical elite…so much reward for so little time invested. That’s how they get you! I knew it was coming, the inevitable slow down. As expected, complications arose and now the story moves about as fast as a car stuck in mud…but it’s too late. I’m hooked!
However, for the first time we are beginning to see the cost of Amanda’s quest. Life rarely goes according to plan and even the resourceful “Emily” is not omnipotent. Revenge, we see, is a complicated, messy business. We find ourselves asking: What about Daniel, the man who’s fallen for Emily? Will he have to pay for the sins of his parents? What of Victoria, Daniel’s mother, and Amanda’s archenemy, who’s horrible actions are often the result of a lonely and desperate life? And what about Amanda, who Emily has locked away in a small, dark room of her heart? What happens to such a person, consumed by rage and obsessed with revenge? Can they ever know contentment again? Can they love? And if not, can they ever really live?
Revenge may not be the kind of show that inspires people (Well, let’s hope not anyway!) but it does raise some interesting questions. And for now, it holds my attention. Can it go on for years? My initial thought is “NO!” I want an end to this story and truth be told, if it goes on too long, I’ll probably lose interest. But a bitter heart can last a lifetime, and some people will wait forever to see someone “get what’s coming to them” even if only vicariously.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17-21