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Look What You Made Me Do

Revenge Forgiveness Anger

Source: Contextive, by Major Dalton, August 30, 2017

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Major Dalton | Date Posted: 2017-10-29

Scripture: Proverbs 19:11 ; Romans 12:17

Author: Major Dalton


It’s been three long, silent, years, but Taylor Swift is back with new music, and apparently a new approach to career and conflict.

In the opening weekend, the first single from her new album Reputation, was downloaded over 184,000 times on iTunes. The song set a new global first-day record on Spotify with over 8 million streams. And that was all before the music video debuted at the MTV Video Music Awards.

The video was a sensation. According to YouTube, “Look What You Made Me Do” was played more than 43.2 million times in the first 24 hours, the largest one-day sum for any video. It was viewed some 30,000 times every minute.

In the song, Swift seems to be punching back at some, or perhaps all, of her combatants.

The world moves on, another day, another drama, drama
But not for me, not for me, all I think about is karma
And then the world moves on, but one thing’s for sure
Maybe I got mine, but you’ll all get yours

But I got smarter, I got harder in the nick of time
Honey, I rose up from the dead, I do it all the time
I’ve got a list of names and yours is in red, underlined

Millions have now mused about who is the “you” in Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do.” Who forced her hand, who ignited such vengeful energy, who gave birth to such a dark persona? A better way to ask the question, a more honest approach, is to ask, who has become an authority over her emotions?


In moments of clarity, moments free of the haze of conflict, we know that, when it comes to areas of personal choice, no one makes us do anything. We alone are responsible for our actions and the accompanying consequences.

Retaliation, retribution, and revenge are the tones which pour out of this new emanation of Taylor Swift. Emotions which seem to gush out involuntarily. In Taylor’s view, she is not really responsible for what happens next. She is the agent of anger, but not the cause. She is simply reacting to the actions of others, a fact which she repeats 36 times in her four-minute declaration of defiance: “Look what you made me do. Look what you made me do.”

Bitterness is a chain of bondage that essentially makes us a slave to the actions of others. Perhaps this is why Solomon taught his son: “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19:11).

Near the end of the video, Swift stands victorious over that heap of previous personas. One of these choreographed characters had taken a different approach to conflict during Swift’s last album, 1989. It was a much more liberating approach. She’s the one who sang:

I never miss a beat, I’m lightning on my feet
And that’s what they don’t see, that’s what they don’t see
I’m dancing on my own, I make the moves up as I go
And that’s what they don’t know, that’s what they don’t know

But I keep cruising
Can’t stop, won’t stop grooving
It’s like I got this music in my mind
Saying it’s gonna be alright

Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off

Heartbreakers gonna break, break, break, break, break
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off

Some people don’t have our best interest in mind. They will inevitably mistreat us, misuse us, and malign us. We can’t avoid them. We can’t evade the pain. But we can choose who has authority over us. We can’t control them, but we can control us.

Don’t let them make you do anything. Shake it off! Let them do what they do. Let them say what they say. You live free! You do you!

Spite Is Always A Bad Investment

Revenge Forgiveness Retribution

Source: “Warren Buffett Buys An Entire Company Just To Fire One Man”

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-06-19

Scripture: Matthew 5:39

Author: Illustration Exchange


The staff of write:

In 1962, Buffett began buying stock in textile conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway. However, with the price per share in steady decline, Buffett and Hathaway chairman Seabury Stanton made an oral agreement that Stanton would buy back Buffet's shares at $11 1/2 per share. But when Stanton presented the contract in writing, Buffet noticed that the price had been reduced to $11 3/8. If you don't understand the stock market, just know that, in that scene, 1/8 of a dollar is a lot to squawk about.

Insulted by Stanton's undercutting, Buffet responded by … buying more stock. So much stock, in fact, he became majority owner of the company. His first act of business?  Fire Stanton.

… Buffett has since described the buyout as both an act of spite and the "dumbest" investment he'd ever made.


Revenge represent an investment of emotional and spiritual resources; the poorest investment of emotional and spiritual resources. 

"But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also" (Matthew 5:39). 

No Grave Can Stop Him!

Death Revenge Second Coming

Source: “Montgomery Meigs makes Robert E. Lee's home untennable by making it a cemetery”

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-06-19

Scripture: Ezekiel 44:3 ; 1 Corinthians 15:55

Author: Illustration Exchange


The staff at writes:

[I]n May of 1864, … soldiers were … dying en masse, and a new cemetery was needed stat. Enter Montgomery C. Meigs, the Union quartermaster in charge of the new cemetery. A southerner by birth, Meigs opposed secession, sided with the Union, and hated Robert E. Lee for not doing the same.

The new cemetery, he decided, would need to be a plot high in elevation, aesthetically pleasing, and with a clear view of the District of Columbia. All of these requirements, he discovered with glee, just so happened to be met by Robert E. Lee's nearby abandoned Arlington House. In converting the property into a cemetery, Meigs made it his personal goal to fill it with so many bodies, it would be completely unlivable for Lee upon his return.

At first, he simply lined the flower garden with plots of dead officers. Once he realized the house was still inhabitable that way, Meigs ordered even more dead soldiers be sent there, with orders that they be scattered in various locations about the property. His plan was a success, as Lee never even attempted to return. Today, with over 400,000 gravestones, what's now known as Arlington National Cemetery stands as a military mecca for honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.


Mr. Meigs effectively used the dead in order to stop the return of the living.  But, surprisingly, this was not the first time in history that such a tactic would be employed. 

Approximately 2,600 years ago, the prophet Ezekiel was given the following vision of the coming of the Messiah:

"After this, the man brought me back around to the east gateway. Suddenly, the glory of the God of Israel appeared from the east. The sound of his coming was like the roar of rushing waters, and the whole landscape shone with His glory ... I fell face down on the ground. And the glory of the Lord came into the Temple through the east gateway" (Ezekiel 43:1-4, NLT)

In his vision, the prophet describes the glorious coming of the Messiah to Israel, entering Jerusalem through the East Gate.  Presumably, to prevent this prophecy from being fulfilled, the Muslims sealed the gate during the rule of Suleiman in 1530 A.D. Subsequently, a Muslim cemetery was established to further block the entrance in the hopes that a Jewish holy man would not be willing to pass over ground that had been defiled by the graves of Muslims.

All to no avail. As Ezekiel's vision makes clear, the Messiah will enter the East Gate. Thus, the tactic that prevented Robert E. Lee from returning to his home will not stop Jesus from returning to His people. The prophet Ezekiel tells us that although the gate will be sealed when he arrives, the Messiah will "come and go" through this gateway" (Ezekiel 44:1-3). 

If His own grave couldn’t stop Him, how did they imagine the graves of others would stop Him?

"’Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57). 

In accordance with what some believe to be a fulfillment of Ezekiel's prophecy that the gate would be closed until Messiah comes, here is what the East Gate looks like today!

Revenge Always Fails

Love (Divine) Revenge Sacrifice

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-06-07

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:8 ; Romans 12:19

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Bitterness Shuts Down George Washington Bridge

Bitterness Revenge Spiritual Health

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-01-16

Scripture: Hebrews 12:14 ; Ephesians 4:31

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Preserving Order and Promoting Peace

Wrath Disobedience Revenge

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-11-09

Scripture: Isaiah 30:1 ; Isaiah 65:2

Author: Albert Barnes

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Do Unto Others . . . ?

Revenge Boasting Betrayal

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-06-30

Author: Jimmy Hoffa

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Blind Justice

Justice Revenge Forgiveness

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2011-08-07

Scripture: Romans 12:19

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Road to Refuge

Salvation Revenge Refuge

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2011-01-17

Scripture: Joshua 20:1 ; Psalms 46:1

Author: Chuck Swindoll

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What If God Canceled Us?

Forgiveness Politics God's Love

Contributed By: Neal Pollard | Date Posted: 2021-03-28

Scripture: 2 Peter 3:9 ; Hebrews 7:25

Author: Neal Pollard

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