It goes without saying that we all try to love others as we believe God loves us. But we are not God.
When we or a loved one have been injured by another party, especially egregiously, our first emotional response is anger followed most often by the desire to get even. We go to great length sometime to pretend that we are perfect and are absent this emotion that God says is his domain (KJV Romans 12:19- Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord).
Question. Do you remember Gary Plauche? Well you should.
His actions at a Louisiana airport in 1984 placed the subject of “revenge” squarely on the consciousness of America. You see, Plauche’s 11-year-old son was kidnapped and molested by his karate teacher and taken to the state of California.
The father was devastated. A man whom he trusted with his child had done the unthinkable. The culprit, Jeffrey Doucet, was eventually apprehended by law enforcement, and his victim was delivered safely back to his family.
As a father, would you be angry? Well, Gary Plauche was very angry! He was blind with anger and not only wanted revenge, he wanted the life of the villain who committed this awful crime against his son.
Armed with reliable information concerning the date and time that Doucet would be flown back to Louisiana to face trial, he put his plan into action.
At the appointed time he went to the Baton Rouge airport and waited. Wearing sunglasses and pretending to talk on the telephone, Plauche watched as Doucet, accompanied by law enforcement, walked past where he stood. He quickly pulled his weapon and fired a single shot into the head of the man who had molested his child.
Can you blame him? If given the opportunity would you do the same? If you say you would not, are you really telling the truth?
Several years ago I was personally tormented with the desire to seek revenge against an employer who had aggrieved me. I was terminated after more than 20 years of successful services to the institution.
Some of my activities as an employee even brought recognition to the institution. It did not matter. After a remarkable career I was fired.
It hurt. I was truly embarrassed. I resolved to get even — not to kill anyone, just to get even.
Shortly after my termination, my employer became the subject of a major investigation that became the biggest public school cheating scandal the country had ever known. The lives of thousands of students were negatively impacted by an administration motivated by greed.
These students are even today, being provided special services related to assisting them in being able to perform on grade level.
Many of the perpetrators of these crimes against children were brought to justice. The main culprit died before facing a jury of her peers. I personally had the opportunity to meet with the investigators of these crimes to share my insight into these illegal activities.
You know the saying, “God is always on time?” Well, he is. During the period leading up to the cheating scandal I actually won a major financial settlement against my employer.
Even though the major architect of the scandal died before going to trial, her assistant was able to temporarily escape justice and public condemnation by securing a job paying nearly a half million dollars in another state. This official was the person who actually, fraudulently terminated me from my employment.
When I discovered this, I became furious. I wanted “revenge.” This person was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the institution and was not going to be punished?
No! I immediately sprang into action. I telephoned the major newspaper in the city where she was hired. The editors were familiar with the cheating scandal and allowed me to do an op-ed piece for their paper on the crisis in Atlanta.
Ironically, on the day my op-ed piece ran in the paper, the former Atlanta educator was scheduled to meet her cabinet that evening for the very first time. You know what? Her contract was bought out by her new employers.
The former Atlanta educator and superintendent will never again be given the opportunity to harm children. My column went viral in the academic community around the country. The damage done to these children is hopefully reversible, allowing them the opportunity to be productive citizens in the future.
Were my actions revengeful? Were my actions against God’s will?
Glenn Dowell is an author and LaGrange native who currently lives in Jonesboro. He may be reached at [email protected]