Ethos Education

The Lone Ranger: Vengeance is Mine

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Assembly Objective: 

  • Is revenge sweet or does it ultimately sour us and our community? This assembly explores the Bible’s teaching about justice and revenge.

Film:

  • The Lone Ranger (Disney, 2013, certificate 12). Click here to buy the DVD online.

Bible: 

Supporting Values Education:

  • The value of the Rule of Law is based upon the assumption that law will bring justice. This assembly explores the value of resisting our urge for revenge and looking to the law for justice.

OPENING ACTIVITY

How vengeful are you? (quiz)

Download the Vengeful PowerPoint for use with this activity.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Tell the students that you want them to take part in a multiple choice quiz to reveal their attitude towards revenge. For each question, ask them to put up their hands to indicate which answer is the closest to what they think they might do. Ask them to make a mental note of whether their answers tend mostly towards a, b, c or d.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • Question one: A friend’s parents find cigarettes in his bedroom, and he says he was hiding them for you. They tell your parents. What do you do?
    • [click] option a: Wait for a chance to plant cigarettes on your friend at school so that he gets into just as much trouble as you.
    • [click] option b: Tell your parents that the cigarettes aren’t yours, and that your friend is really into things a lot stronger than cigarettes, and maybe they should tell his parents about that.
    • [click] option c: Persuade your parents that it isn’t true, and talk to your friend about why they tried to get you in trouble.
    • [click] option d: Admit that the cigarettes were yours, even though they weren’t, and take whatever punishment comes your way.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • Question two: Someone plays a practical joke on the teacher, and the whole class gets kept in over break time as a punishment because nobody will own up to being responsible. What do you do?
    • [click] option a: Tell the teacher who it was who played the trick on them.
    • [click] option b: Wait until after school with several friends, grab the person who played the trick, steal all their clothes and leave them naked on the games field. Let’s see them let others take the blame for that.
    • [click] option c: Say that you don’t think it fair for everyone to be punished, ask for people to put their hands up if they want the real culprit to own up and hope that their conscience makes them come clean.
    • [click] option d: Admit that it was you who played the trick (it wasn’t) and take the blame so everyone else can have their break time.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • Question three: Your boy or girlfriend breaks up with you and starts going out with your best friend. What do you do?
    • [click] option a: Wait for a chance to steal your boy or girlfriend back.
    • [click] option b: Sneak into his/her house and rub chilli peppers on the inside of his/her underpants.
    • [click] option c: Talk to them about how they have made you feel, but then get on with your life and let them get on with theirs.
    • [click] option d: Good luck to them; their happiness is probably more important than yours anyway.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • Question four: One of your friends borrows and breaks your favourite CD. What do you do?
    • [click] option a: Borrow one of her CDs and break that too.
    • [click] option b: Take every CD that she owns out of her room and sell them at a car-boot sale, then use the money to replace your broken CD and buy several others.
    • [click] option c: Say that it’s okay, but ask if she can buy a replacement copy for you.
    • [click] option d: Say that you didn’t like it all that much anyway, and offer her any other CDs you own as well.
    • Now go through the remaining four slides to say what the students’ answers reveal about them.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • Mostly a: You believe in paying back whatever anyone does just as hard. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, even if the whole world ends up blind and gumsy.
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • Mostly b: Never mind an eye for an eye; with you it’s a head for an eye, and a full on war for a tooth. When someone messes with you, you fight back ten times as hard. Let’s just hope they don’t have the same approach.
  • [PowerPoint slide 8]
    • Mostly c: You don’t cause trouble where it isn’t needed, but you don’t let people take liberties either. When there’s a problem, you just want to sort it out as quickly as possible.
  • [PowerPoint slide 9]
    • Mostly d: You don’t like to cause any trouble. The only problem is that makes you a bit of a doormat who some people choose to walk all over.

The cup-cake that started a war (something to think about)

  • Read the following tale of escalating revenge to the students.
  • Alex and Billy are brother and sister. They always got on all right, until one day one of them upset the other and set in motion a terrible sequence of retaliation and revenge.
  • Alex ate the last of the cup-cakes. Billy was so upset that he spat in Alex’s cup of tea. When Alex found out, she put a laxative in Billy’s coffee, which resulted in him having a bit of an accident at school and becoming known as Billy Brown-Pants. Billy added hair remover to Alex’s shampoo, causing her long, golden hair to fall out in clumps and prompting everyone to start calling her Alex Luthor.
  • Alex waited until the day Billy had an important exam, and then let down the tyres of Billy’s bike and the family car. Billy missed the exam and lost his place at university while he waited for the chance to retake it. Meanwhile, Alex took a job at a local coffee shop, so Billy sent an anonymous letter to her boss saying that she was giving free coffee to all her friends and stealing from the till. Alex was sacked, but started up her own coffee shop business, which did so well that she was soon running a whole chain of funky coffee shops. Billy decided to take a job at a cup-cake factory and worked his way up until he was able to control the national supply of cup-cakes and charge his sister’s shops twice the price that anyone else paid. Alex responded by taking over the major flour manufacturers, cutting off Billy’s supply of essential ingredients for his cup-cake factories.
  • Billy pulled out of the cup-cake business and put all his money into funding a military coup in the South American country that supplied all the coffee-beans for Alex’s shops. Alex in turn stood for parliament, got elected and waited until she had risen to the position of Prime Minister, when she promptly had Billy executed under emergency cup-cake related anti-terrorist legislation.
  • Which meant that everyone suffered. Billy had needlessly lost his life, and Alex received one less present every Christmas – and all because nobody had the sense to say ‘enough is enough’.

FILM CLIP

  • Play the clip from The Lone Ranger (Disney, 2013, certificate 12).
    • Start time: 1.27.39 (in chapter 14 of the DVD)
    • End time: 1.30.26
    • Clip length: 2 minutes and 47 seconds
  • The clip starts with a small cart trundling along the rails towards Butch Cavendish and his men. It ends with Tonto saying, ‘You are not a man. I will do it.’
  • The clip shows the Lone Ranger catching up with one of the men they have been hunting, and then disagreeing over whether or not to kill him for the things he has done against them and their families.

TALK

Download the Revenge Lone Ranger Talk PowerPoint for use with this presentation.

Scripted Talk

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • What’s the worst thing anyone has ever done to you? [click] Perhaps someone has stolen your stuff, [click] bullied you, [click] cheated on you. We’re all old enough to have worked out that this world isn’t perfect, and most of the things that are wrong with it are caused by people mistreating one another.
    • How does it feel when someone wrongs you? What does it make you want to do? For a lot of us, we want to get our own back; we want to hurt them just as much as they hurt us. We want revenge.
    • We’re going to watch a clip now from the film The Lone Ranger. John Reid – the Lone Ranger and his Native American companion Tonto have been pursuing outlaw Butch Cavendish for quite a while. Cavendish killed the Lone Ranger’s brother, Dan, and for all John knows has killed Dan’s wife and child. Tonto on the other hand has pursued Cavendish for years, seeking revenge for the massacre of Tonto’s entire village. When they finally get their hands on Cavendish, the outcome isn’t entirely predictable.
    • Play the clip from The Lone Ranger:
      • Start time: 1.27.39 (in chapter 14 of the DVD)
      • End time: 1.30.26
      • Clip length: 2 minutes and 47 seconds
    • The clip starts with a small cart trundling along the rails towards Butch Cavendish and his men. It ends with Tonto saying, ‘You are not a man. I will do it.’
    • If you are unable to play the clip, say, ‘When it comes to it, the Lone Ranger and Tonto argue. Tonto wants them to kill Cavendish, to take justice for themselves, but the Lone Ranger argues that they have to capture him and let the due process of law give them justice.’
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • So who is right? Tonto says that ‘Justice is what a man must take for himself’, while the Lone Ranger tries to resist his urge for revenge and look to the law for justice.
    • I said earlier that we are all old enough to have worked out that this world isn’t perfect. Yet Christians believe in a perfect God who wants justice for the world. Doesn’t that mean that we should settle scores? Does that mean that the way for us to get justice is to take revenge when someone wrongs us?
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • A Bible passage that is popular with people trying to justify the pursuit of revenge is this:
    • ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord’. Romans 12:19, King James Version.
    • But that little snippet takes the passage completely out of context. Here’s slightly more of it, from a more modern translation:
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, `I will take revenge; I will pay them back,’ says the Lord. Romans 12:19, New Living Translation.
    • Yes, God promises to right the wrongs and make people pay for the things they have done, but that’s a reason for us not to seek revenge, it isn’t permission for us to behave just as badly towards anyone who has wronged us. When the older translation says ‘vengeance is mine, saith the Lord’, it means that only God should take revenge.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • When you think about it, that is surely a good thing. If you decide to get revenge on me, then I take things further to get revenge on you, and you have to do something else to even the score. The result is an endless cycle of pain and misery which can never end. That doesn’t mean that the things people do against us don’t matter, of course they do. [click] But it means we should trust God, along with other authorities in this world, to put the wrongs right. Even if we don’t entirely trust teachers, parents or the police to get things right, the Bible reassures us that in the end God will right all wrongs and put everything as it is supposed to be.

Headings and Bullets

Download the Revenge Lone Ranger Talk PowerPoint for use with this presentation.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • What’s the worst thing anyone has ever done to you?
      • [click] Stolen your stuff.
      • [click] Bullied you.
      • [click] Cheated on you.
      • We all know the world isn’t perfect.
      • Most things that are wrong with it are caused by people mistreating one another.
    • How does it feel when someone wrongs you?
      • What do you want to do about it?
      • Lots of us want to get our own back, get revenge.
    • Introduce clip from The Lone Ranger:
      • Lone Ranger and Tonto have been pursuing outlaw Butch Cavendish.
      • Cavendish killed Lone Ranger’s brother, Dan.
      • Lone Ranger also thinks Cavendish may have killed Dan’s wife and young son.
      • Tonto wants revenge for Cavendish killing his entire village.
      • When they finally catch Cavendish, the result isn’t entirely predictable.
    • Play the clip:
      • Start time: 1.27.39 (in chapter 14 of the DVD)
      • End time: 1.30.26
      • Clip length: 2 minutes and 47 seconds
    • The clip starts with a small cart trundling along the rails towards Butch Cavendish and his men. It ends with Tonto saying, ‘You are not a man. I will do it.’
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • So who is right?
      • Tonto: ‘Justice is what a man must take for himself’
      • Lone Ranger tries to resist his urge for revenge and look to the law for justice.
    • The world isn’t perfect yet Christians believe in a perfect God who wants justice.
      • Does that mean we should settle scores and take justice through revenge?
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • A Bible passage sometimes used to justify revenge:
    • ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord’. Romans 12:19, King James Version.
    • But that little snippet takes the passage completely out of context.
    • Here’s a longer version, from a more modern translation.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, ‘I will take revenge; I will pay them back,’ says the Lord. Romans 12:19, New Living Translation.
    • God promises to right wrongs and make people pay.
      • That’s a reason not to seek revenge.
      • It’s not permission to behave just as badly.
      • ‘Vengeance is mine’ means only God should take revenge.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • Surely that’s a good thing.
      • Revenge results in an endless cycle of pain and misery.
      • That doesn’t mean wrongs against us don’t matter.
      • [click] It means we should trust God and other sources of authority to put things right.
      • Even if teachers, police, etc sometimes let us down, eventually God will right all wrongs.

Photo Copyright for Vengeful PowerPoint: Slides 6-9 iStockphoto.com

Photo Copyright for Revenge Lone Ranger Talk PowerPoint: Slide 1 and 5 iStockphoto.com / Slide 2 Disney Enterprises


RESPOND

Prayer

  • Dear God, thank you that you are a God of justice, and that you promise to right all wrongs and bring justice to your world in the end. Give us the courage and wisdom not to seek revenge when someone wrongs us, but to be voices for peace and reconciliation in your world. Help us to trust you to give us justice in your time. Amen.

Reflection

  • What makes it hard not to take revenge when someone does something against you? Can you think of times when revenge has made a situation get worse, or times when resisting the temptation to hit back has proved to be a wise decision?

YOU WILL NEED:

  1. The Lone Ranger (Disney, 2013, certificate 12). Click here to buy the DVD online.
  2. Vengeful PowerPoint.
  3. Revenge Lone Ranger Talk PowerPoint.

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