Originally published February 5, 2014.
Updated and republished September 18, 2015 after a web host transfer.
Since the time before humans, God has been arranging paybacks. The examples below include paybacks overturning size, wealth, and political power as well as repaying nastiness with nastiness and greed with loss. The examples are in chronological order. They show that the time between an action and its payback can be millions of years, thousands of years, thirty years, one year, or three months.
Millions of years
Brontoscorpio anglicus — thunder scorpion in English — was an aquatic scorpion. It was one of the largest animals on Earth during the Silurian period (443.7 to 416.0 million years ago) and was a dangerous predator with fish as its prey. Over time, Brontoscorpios anglicus moved onto land where it found less oxygen than in the sea. The primitive lungs of Brontoscorpios anglicus could not take in enough oxygen to maintain its body’s huge size. The huge body had to shrink to survive. During the Devonian period (416-359.2 million years ago), this once huge and dangerous arthropod became smaller prey for giant killer fish. Time had changed circumstances, reversing the sizes and roles of Brontoscorpio anglicus and fish. According to the documentary Walking with Monsters: Life Before Dinosaurs, “Paybacks are as ancient as time itself.”
Humans Behaving as Gods on Earth
Thousands of years
King Tutankhamen (King Tut) was an Egyptian Pharaoh in the 18th dynasty. He became pharaoh at age 9 and died at age 18.
Unlike other pharaohs, King Tut’s funeral was rushed. His mummy was burnt because his body was not given the 40 days of desiccation (drying) plus 30 days of oil application and wrapping. His embalming incision was “odd” and “brutal”. His arms were placed in an “unusual” position. His mummification was “peculiar”.
The paintings on the wall in his tomb were still wet when the tomb was sealed, allowing brown spots to develop. Unlike other pharaoh tombs, large sections of the walls in King Tut’s tomb were left blank. Tomb painters put very few hieroglyphics on the walls.
The tomb itself was the size of an official’s tomb, not a pharaoh’s tomb. The grave goods were taken from other tombs, including King Tut’s famous burial mask. It was two pieces rather than one piece. The original face had been removed and a new face was welded to the rest of the mask. The ears on the new face had holes for earrings. Adult men in Tut’s time did not wear earrings. The face on the mask more closely matches Nefertiti’s face rather than Tut’s face. Nefertiti was either Tut’s mother or stepmother. DNA experts have interpreted testing results both ways.
Why the rush, shortchanging, and second hand burial goods? King Tut’s Vizier (advisor) Ay wanted the throne for himself. Ay made himself pharaoh even though Tut had chosen Horemheb to succeed him if he died before he had children. Horemheb was commander in chief of the army and in Asia when Tut died. He did become Pharaoh after Ay died.
Ay had himself buried in a far larger tomb than King Tut. Historians believe that Ay used his own tomb for Tut’s burial and Tut’s tomb for his burial.
Ay wasn’t the only Pharaoh to shortchange King Tut. Pharaoh Horemheb dated his own reign back to Amenhotep III, erasing Ay, King Tut, and Akhenaten, Tut‘s father. Seti I and Ramesses II of the 19th dynasty erased King Tut (as well as Akhenaten and Ay) from a king list of “legitimate” pharaohs at the religious center in Abydos. Looking only at the inscriptions, you would not know that Tut was ever pharaoh. Seti I and Ramesses II thought they had denied Tut immortality.
Four pharaohs with all the wealth and power of gods on earth tried to shortchange King Tut or erase him completely from history. God arranged for some payback.
King Tut’s tomb is located in the deepest part of the Valley of the Kings. After Tut’s death, flash flooding washed water into the valley from three different directions. The water collided in the deepest part of the valley, right above Tut’s tomb. The collision of rushing water slowed the flooding and dropped 1 to 2 meters of rock-filled sediment on top of Tut’s tomb. The sun baked “the flood layer as hard as concrete” making the flood sediment look like “the natural floor of the valley”, according to geologist Stephen Cross. Cross considers the sediment “almost the perfect camouflage for the tomb”.
King Tut was buried with spring flowers. Cross believes the flooding took place the following fall. Tut’s tomb was vulnerable to robbers for less than a year before what Egyptologist Chris Naunton calls “a natural act of God” made it disappear for more than 3000 years. Because Seti I and Ramesses II left Tut’s name off of their king list, grave robbers did not know they should look for his tomb.
When Howard Carter discovered his tomb in 1922, King Tut became the “best known figure” in Egyptian history. Tut’s “name lives on more than any other ruler”. According to Egyptologist Dr. Peter J. Brand, University of Memphis, the discovery of King Tut’s tomb was “the most important moment in archaeological history.”
Note that Ay, Horemheb, Seti I, and Ramesses II all thought that wealth and power gave them the right to create a world order that suited their desires. Their world order was not God’s world order, so God arranged a payback.
Political Beliefs Over Human Rights
In South Africa, Nelson Mandela held several leadership positions in the African National Congress (ANC). The ANC fought to end the apartheid system of segregation and discrimination imposed by the white government. It also fought to end the killings of blacks, including women and children.
In 1964, the apartheid government of South Africa sent Nelson Mandela to prison for life, having convicted him of treason. When Mandela and other ANC members arrived at Robben Island a warder told them, “This is the Island. This is where you will die.” History proves that God had other plans.
In the 1980s, calls to free Nelson Mandela kept getting louder and more widespread. The two most prominent world leaders in the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, refused to see Mandela as anything other than a communist. The Prime Minister of Canada, Brian Mulroney, saw Mandela as a man trying to gain freedom for all black South Africans in a country that created harsh segregation. Whenever Reagan and Thatcher and Mulroney discussed Nelson Mandela, Reagan and Thatcher would always state their belief that anti-apartheid leaders were communists. In his autobiography, Memoirs, Mulroney recalled his response:
“How can you or anyone else know that? He’s been in prison
for 20 years and nobody knows that, for the simple reason
no one has talked to him — including you. Besides, if I and
my people were being oppressed by a racist state whose actions
were killing my brethren, I’d take help from anyone if the west
wouldn’t give it to me. And that includes communists.”
In 1986, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act. President Reagan vetoed it. Before passage of the act, Reagan had gone on television to warn Americans that the act was “immoral” and “utterly repugnant”. The Senate (78 to 21) and House (313 to 83) overrode Reagan’s veto. Even after the Republican majority congress overrode Reagan’s veto, Reagan did not fully implement the sanctions.
Reagan refused to recognize that God had already begun working through other people to bring an end to South Africa’s apartheid and Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment. Sports associations boycotted South Africa at least as far back as the 1950s. The United Nations passed a nonbinding resolution calling for sanctions against South Africa in 1962. As time passed, artists and musicians boycotted South Africa as well.
God also influenced ordinary people to become payback agents. One example comes from a woman who found she had a connection to South Africa’s pass laws. Regulations to control the movement of South African blacks to the benefit of powerful whites began in the 18th and 19th centuries when the Dutch and British ran a slave economy. In 1952, the South African government passed a law requiring all black African males over the age 16 to carry a passbook with their photographs. Between 1800 when the first regulations were passed until the pass laws were repealed in 1986, whites arrested between 15 and 20 million blacks for violating the laws that denied them human rights.
Through a “fluke”, Polaroid worker Caroline Hunter discovered that her employer provided the camera system the South African government used to produce photographs for passbooks. Hunter launched a boycott of Polaroid with the man who would become her husband, Ken Williams. The campaign grew to include boycotts and divestment campaigns against other corporations. Hunter and Williams testified before Congress in 1971. Around the world, other ordinary people launched and took part in anti-apartheid boycotts.
President FW de Klerk released Mandela from prison in 1990. The South African Parliament repealed apartheid laws in 1990. When Nelson Mandela visited New York that same year, broadcast journalist Ted Koppel asked him the question President Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher never bothered to ask.
Ted Koppel: “Well, now, the Communists…”
Mandela: “They were the only ones who helped us. Next question.’”
In 1994, South Africans elected Nelson Mandela to be their first black president. When Nelson Mandela died in 2013, his funeral became a world event as people around the world joined South Africans in mourning the man who chose reconciliation over revenge.
The apartheid government sent Nelson Mandela to prison for the rest of his life in 1964. In 1994, Mandela took office as President of South Africa. He will be remembered for the rest of human history as the man who chose to forgive the people who imprisoned him instead of taking revenge on them.
Once again, humans with temporary power (human power is always temporary) thought they could create a world order to suit their desires. Their world order was not God’s world order, and God arranged a payback. God created widespread and continuing attention plus honor for a man assigned to obscurity by humans with temporary power.
Nastiness To A Former Friend
When I was in my early 20s, I needed to share the rent and asked a friend to move in with me. We were better friends than roommates, and our time as roommates killed our friendship.
Instead of recognizing our differences, instead of acknowledging my own mistakes, instead of taking responsibility for my own actions, I chose to blame my former friend for everything that had gone wrong. To make sure my friend knew I blamed her for everything, I wrote her a nasty letter. I only remember one word from my letter – “nauseous”. I don’t remember anything else I wrote except that I thought up the nastiest things I could say pertaining to her personality and her life. I underlined a number of words and sentences, including the word nauseous. When I mailed that letter full of nastiness, I felt a wonderful self-satisfaction.
Less than a year later, I met a man through a coworker and started dating him. At the time I was coping with one of the worst experiences of my life and this man did what he could to help me. Then he started talking marriage. I started planning a wedding. Suddenly, this man told my coworker that I had misunderstood everything he had said. I knew what the word “married” meant. I told my coworker that he hadn’t heard what this man said to me. But my would-be fiancé refused to admit to anything and blamed me for everything. To make sure I knew he blamed me for everything, my would-be fiancé wrote me a letter. I’m certain he felt a wonderful self-satisfaction when he mailed it.
Can you guess what that letter said?
That letter said everything I had written to my former friend, word for word — including the word “nauseous”. My would-be fiancé had even underlined the same sentences and words I had underlined, including the word nauseous. I don’t have that letter anymore, but I wish I did. I wish I had a copy of the letter I sent to my former friend. Together they would be concrete evidence that God arranges paybacks, so we better think before we speak or act.
Being on both sides of the nastiness made me realize that every nasty statement I made to my former friend was what I felt about myself. God gave me a payback that made me recognize who I was.
Disregard Of Privacy
A 70 year old woman was in the locker room of a gym, expecting privacy. Dani Mathers decided the woman did not deserve privacy and took a sneaky photograph of her. She added a body shaming comment and posted it to social media. Someone reported this to the police, who arrested Mathers for misdemeanor invasion of property. The court sentence included community service, three years probation, and an order to not snap photos of other people or post them online without their permission. Payback was perfect.
“It’s taught me a lot about privacy. I’ve lost a lot of that myself as
well. We’ve had a lot of paparazzi involved in my family life. I had
my privacy taken away after I took someone else’s.”
Greed At Tax Time
My friend J. had a high paying job at a Chicago television station. He asked me one evening if I had watched the big sports game the previous Sunday. I said no. He laughed and told me he had accidentally made the game “go away” in the middle of a play.
J. had enough money to own a fancy motorcycle, a fancy sports car, and an everyday car for Chicago’s cold weather. During the winter, J. kept his sports car in a garage and his motorcycle in his apartment where he would take it apart piece by piece and warn any visitors not to disturb the carefully laid out trails of parts.
For some reason, J. decided to cheat on his tax return to the tune of $300. Within three months, his $300 camera disappeared. J. told me about his cheating and his camera. He said, “I knew when I cheated on my taxes that something like this would happen.”
J. stole money from other taxpayers and God paid him back by taking away something of equal value.
See these 22 examples of immediate or nearly immediate payback.
Payback for litterbugs.
Present & Future
The powers of size, wealth, and political status are temporary powers, no match for God’s permanent power. The self-satisfaction of nastiness is no match for God’s power. The trickery of greed is no match for God’s power.
My former friend and roommate died before I had the emotional courage to apologize to her. I have apologized to her soul. She is one of the women I was thinking about when I wrote the poem, “I Mourn You”. Regret is a particularly effective form of payback.
Think about the paybacks, apologies, and regrets you would like to avoid, then take the appropriate actions to avoid them in the present and future.
I Mourn You
I mourn you,
the girls and women of my life —
I mourn what we could have been, done, celebrated if
you had not decided I was
of your love, attention, status.
I mourn you,
the girls and women of my life —
I mourn what we could have been, done, celebrated if
I had not decided you were
of my love, attention, status.
I mourn us.
Paula M. Kramer
“22 People Who Discovered Karma The Hard Way”
“Former Playboy model Dani Mathers apologizes after body-shaming 70-year-old on Snapchat”
Good Morning America
May 31, 2017
“In Ronald Reagan era, Mandela was branded a terrorist”
Jonathan S. Landay
“How Margaret Thatcher helped end apartheid – despite herself”
April 10, 2013
“Mandela death: How he survived 27 years in prison”
December 11, 2013
“Mandela funeral to bring together world’s most powerful people”
Julian Borger and Daniel Howden
December 6, 2013
“Our uneven history with South Africa”
Winnipeg Free Press
December 14, 2013
“Pass laws in South Africa 1800-1994”
South African History Online
“Polaroid & Apartheid: Inside the Beginnings of the Boycott, Divestment Movement Against South Africa”
Democracy Now! (radio news program)
December 13, 2013
“Reagan’s embrace of apartheid South Africa”
February 5, 2011
“Selfish Litterbug Throws Trash Out The Window, Then A Biker Teaches Her A Lesson”
“Sports Diplomacy and Apartheid South Africa”
The African File
December 13, 2010
Sun City (protest song)
Artists United Against Apartheid
“The Day a Newly Freed Mandela Came to New York”
The New York Times
December 6, 2013
“The Mandela Funeral”
December 8, 2013
“The Surprising Republican Civil War That Erupted Over Nelson Mandela and Apartheid”
December 5, 2013
“U.N. condemns apartheid in South Africa”
November 6, 1962
Paula M. Kramer
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Updated October 12, 2017
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