Once in my life I actually set out to be unpleasant to someone who had upset me.
You must understand that I’m a person who has left a lot of upset people in my wake, but never intentionally. Being a Kiwi, I tend to say what I think bluntly, being Jewish I tend to say it very volubly, and being a writer I tend to write it elegantly and at length.
So I upset a lot of people, and have to do a lot of apologising. Not that it helps, because oddly a lengthy, elegant apology tends to make people even more annoyed. Hey ho. I guess I’ll go to my grave annoying people, but at least the wake will get shorter as I outlive my inadvertent enemies.
However, just once I set out to do something mean with malice aforethought. It felt so good at the time. “Revenge” I told my horrified friends (yes, amazingly, I still have some) “is a dish best served cold.”
However my initial underhand act, while succeeding on one level, has had lots of really quite unpleasant side-effects, which have redounded on me, leading me to the conclusion that maybe good old-fashioned Christian teaching on Goodness is practically sound, as well as pleasing to God.
I’ve long thought that the Seven Deadly Sins of old actually bring their own punishments with them – God doesn’t need to do anything! Think about it – Gluttony makes you fat and ill. Lechery makes you loveless and untrustworthy. Anger drives away friends and helpers. Avarice and Envy mean that you are never happy because you always want something you haven’t got. Sloth means you miss out on the rewards that activity brings. And Pride – thinking yourself the centre of the world – draws you into a world that is empty of anything but yourself.
Sin does get its reward. How efficient of God to make that happen….