I've never really been one to hold a grudge. I forgive and forget pretty quickly. There have been times in my life where friends/family/co-workers have hurt my feelings and I cry about it and I get mad. But not too far down the line, whether they apologize or not, I get over it. I move on.
Our pastor did an entire sermon on forgiveness this Sunday and for the life of me I sat there in that chair and racked my brain about who I needed to forgive and, um.... I couldn't think of anyone. I know, I know. This is a good thing. And believe me, I'm not complaining. But I was thinking "Surely, someone has done SOMETHING to me that I'm still carrying around". And I really couldn't think of anything that I'm still mad about. Yes, I can think of things that used to really get me all riled up but nothing that I'm holding against anybody.
I believe that this is a trait that the Lord has chosen to give me because I think He knows that my passion levels are THROUGH THE ROOF and I think He knew that if I had the ability to hold a grudge, it would be DANGEROUS. I have a BIG mouth that NEVER turns off and if I was really really mad at someone.... I'm pretty sure I'd be likely to not act very, um.... Christian-like.
I do know people that hold grudges. People that won't forgive... or perhaps can't forgive. I pray that I'm never put into a situation where I find it nearly impossible to forgive someone.
We learned this Sunday about Joseph who forgave his brothers. They sold him into slavery and when he was reunited with them decades later, he forgave them. I'm gonna ahead and venture to say that it was hard to forgive them for that. However, what was amazing is how Joseph turned the situation around entirely. He had every right to spend a lifetime hating his brothers for what they did and what had happened because of it. But Joseph realized that God made good out of the evil. Joseph said to his brothers in Genesis 45:8 "So it was not you who sent me here, but God". Good things had happened because of what his brothers had done. Life lessons were learned. Joseph grew stronger in his faith because of the trials he had gone through.
My point is, the bad thing you went through doesn't have to be all bad. That boy broke up with you and it hurt like heck and made you madder than mad, but you now know what you don't want in a husband. You got fired from your job because your boss was a total jerk and rode your case all the time, but now you are in a new job with a non-jerk boss and you are a boss yourself and know how to treat people. You go through a terrible, tragic, life-altering event in your life, and fifteen years later you meet someone going through the exact same thing who really needs someone to talk to, hold their hand, and pray specific prayers over them that only you know how to pray.
I'm not diminishing what you've gone through. I'm only encouraging you to climb out of the empty well and look for some water elsewhere. Sitting in the dry well and saying "I'm thirsty" over and over again will not bring you any water.
A few quotes Pastor Gregg shared with us:
"Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive." -C.S. Lewis
"A good marriage is the union of two forgivers." - Ruth Bell Graham
"Once a woman has forgiven a man, she must not reheat his sins for breakfast." -Marlene Dietrich
General Oglethorpe once said to John Wesley, "I never forget and I never forget." to which Wesley replied "Then, sir, I hope you never sin".
"You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well." -Lewis B. Smedes
This has been a very wordy little tangent and my goal is not to bore you to pieces. I simply want to challenge you to forgive someone that needs forgiving. It is a painful process, and a slow one as well. But I promise you, the one who will feel FREE is you. It's a burden to carry that around with you. A heavy one. LET IT GO. Or, atleast work on it. You'll feel better.
I do have a confession. In the midst of this, I realized that I do hold one, very large grudge. I am forever boycotting the movie "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" and I generally do not tolerate Angelina Jolie.