In his latest book “Think Big and Kick Ass” (2007) Donald Trump writes:
“When someone crosses you, my advice is “Get even” . . . If you do not get even you are just a schmuck! . . . When people wrong you, go after these people, because it is a good feeling, and because other people will see you doing it” (pg 29).
Trump is looked upon by many as a business hero. He has even been featured on a popular international Christian TV talk show. And so what he says carries quite some weight – at least in America.
We saw this dog-eat-dog philosophy play itself out in December 2006 during Trump’s famous feud with Rosie O’Donnell. For nearly a month the two celebrities traded insults and invectives in the public media. It made for “great TV” as ratings shot up. GSN.com even launched an online game featuring the two celebrities in an animated fight. The results? O’Donnell got fired from The View. Trump’s Apprentice 6 tanked. The TV show attracted only 9.1 million viewers, the lowest ever for its season opener.
Dig Two Graves
Revenge is not all it’s cracked up to be. It’s a dish best eaten cold. Or, better still, a dish best not eaten at all. Before you embark on a journey of revenge, says a famous Chinese philosopher, dig two graves. One for yourself. The era for an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth or a blow for a blow is over. Why? Because for every action, says Newton’s 3 rd Law of Motion, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Every domineering, subjugating and imperializing force must give rise to a counterforce. Life is a game of boomerangs. You reap what you sow.
So, instead of trying to get even, “agree with thine adversary quickly, lest he deliver thee to the judge, and the judge to the prison officer” (Matt 5:25). In other words: don’t be a schmuck. Be smart. Nice guys spend less time in court. There is a study that showed that doctors who had never been sued in America spoke to their patients for an average of 3 minutes longer than physicians who had been sued two, three or more times. Good guys finish at the top.
Some people say success is the best revenge. Instead of trashing your cruel boss’s beloved car, or throwing a brick through your opponent’s window, or lacing your ex’s food with rat poison, try positive revenge. Concentrate on making yourself so powerful that no-one can ever throw you out of the ring again. Get back at them by being the best you can be. Improve yourself in every area and then sit back and enjoy the smug feeling of superiority that comes from knowing that you are doing better than them.
Sounds better than the cold “revenge is sweet” approach, doesn’t it? But there’s just one big problem. Your need to get even is proof that you are still a victim. You are not a free man. And as long as you carry this internal victim attitude, you will remain miserable, regardless of how much external success symbols you acquire. It’s sad to see people spend entire lives doing things just to prove something to somebody. You should be doing what you do, not to prove a point, but for yourself and to the glory of God. It’s not about them. It’s about you and God’s purpose for your life. What they did to you is past history. Your best response to an injury or insult is a poor memory. So forgive, forget and move on. You can’t get ahead trying to get even. The only people you should be trying to get even with are those who have helped you!
Life Is Not A Zero Sum Game
The story of Isaac in Genesis 26 shows that you don’t have to be mean to be rich. Life is not a zero sum game. One man’s gain does not have to be another man’s loss. Zero sum thinking says, for each winner there must be a loser. But this is a false way of looking at life. Win-win situations are quite possible if we all try hard enough to create them.