Sheldon Saltman, a publicist who worked for Evel Knievel for a short time, wrote a book in the late 1970’s called, Evel Knievel on Tour. The book trashed the famous stuntman’s character, alleging that he used drugs and mistreated his wife, among other things. Even though he had two broken arms at the time, Knievel was so angry that he tracked Saltman down and beat him with a baseball bat, fracturing the man’s left arm and wrist.
When his court date came, Evel Knievel refused to allow his attorney to speak on his behalf. He simply stood up and said, “I want to plead guilty because I am guilty of the charge. I did it.” Even at his sentencing hearing a month later, he refused to apologize. For that reason, the judge had no choice but to send him to jail for six months.
Naturally, Saltman sued, and four years later a sympathetic jury awarded him 13 million dollars, primarily because Evel Knievel was still unrepentant. However, in an ironic twist, Saltman never got a dime because, by then, Knievel was broke. The beating incident had so damaged his reputation that all of his sponsors and promoters had long since dumped him.*
As urges go, the desire for revenge probably ranks behind only hunger and the sex drive in terms of sheer controlling power. It can grab you by the throat and squeeze unmercifully, demanding that you do something–anything–to even the score, whether it makes any sense or not.
I’m convinced that the desire for revenge is one of Satan’s favorite tools. I think he loves how the very idea mesmerizes people and causes them to say and do things that are utterly stupid. He must snicker up his sleeve at the people who foolishly believe revenge will bring them peace.
Have you been hurt recently? Do you feel those icy fingers sliding around your throat? If so, be very careful. I can promise you they don’t belong to the Holy Spirit.
For further reflection read: Matthew 5:38-39, Romans 12:17-21, Colossians 3:13
*Ace Collins, Evel Knievel:An American Hero (New York: St Martin’s, 1999), 202-203, 208