July 2021, Vol. 40, No. 7

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Wrong Revenge

posted on July 14, 2021

[336 words]

In September of 1982, relatively healthy people around the Chicago area began dying unexpectedly. Soon it was discovered they all had been poisoned with cyanide ingested from Tylenol they had taken. Panic ensued. 

Tylenol was taken off the shelves and police searched for any clues to who had done the tampering. Authorities asked the public for any tips that might lead to the capture of the man involved.

A local bar owner Martin Sinclair knew a man by the name of Rodger Arnold who kept cyanide in his home. So he reported it to the police and Arnold became a suspect. Arnold turned out to have nothing to do with the tampering but the media attention and the stress of the investigation made him suffer a nervous breakdown. He felt his life had been ruined by Sinclair.

So the next summer he waited outside the bar and when he saw Sinclair come out he went up and shot him. Only it wasn’t Sinclair, just a man that looked like him. He would serve 30 years in prison for the murder of a random stranger.

A man so upset that anyone could think him guilty of indiscriminate murder went did just that in an attempt of revenge.

So often in trying to make someone pay for a wrong we just end up hurting everyone else. Vengeance isn’t something we are good at, best leave it to the experts.

Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,’ says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19).

Don’t make the mistake of thinking revenge is the answer. Even if you “get” the right person, countless others may be harmed. As we read in 1 Thessalonians 5:15, “See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.” Revenge doesn’t seek the good of anybody. It only adds to the body count.

Barry Haynes
Hope church of Christ
Hope, AR

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