What is the Price of Vengeance?

WendyAvatarBy Wendy Cuccia-Griffin

An ancient proverb says, “Those who seek vengeance should dig two graves: one for the victim and one for themselves.”

The intense desire for payback, the unquestionable need to right a wrong is a uniquely human trait. Whether perceived or justified, the idea stirs a plethora of volatile emotions in even the most docile individual. The lure of retribution can be dangerous and seductive in its unique ability to rob even the most logical person of reason, in effect flipping an invisible switch, transforming the individual from the benevolent Dr. Jekyll to a malevolent Mr. Hyde.

In my novel A Price Above Vengeance, Adrian Terreno struggles with the lingering guilt from an act of vengeance in his past. Even a decade after his lapse in judgment, the potent combination of guilt and regret colors every major decision in his life from where he lives to whom he loves.

For Adrian, sacrificing his own happiness for loyalty to his family seems to be the only way to redeem himself. Even though the choice to walk away from his legacy looms in the back of his mind, guilt holds him to an arranged marriage to a woman he despises. Will the unexpected arrival of a beautiful journalist give him a reason to choose a different path? What price will he – and she – have to pay for that choice?

In Christian beliefs, the concepts of good works and prayer loom as possibilities for redemption – as if the sacrifices of the sinner can earn them another key to a heavenly afterlife. What qualifies as enough to earn redemption? And what about those who do not share those beliefs?

Rather than earning it from others, I believe true redemption comes from forgiveness. Some things can never be “taken back but forgiving one’s self is a step in the right direction. Only when you forgive yourself, can those around you forgive as well. After all, we are only human.

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