I spent somewhere around five years holding a grudge. These were five years I was a Christian and were actually the first five years I was a Christian. But this wasn’t just any ordinary grudge. This was an especially sick kind of grudge that was so full of bitterness and anger, and not a small degree of hatred as well, that I took a kind of perverse joy in my grudge. I was almost proud of it, and I would take it out and parade it around every so often either trying to prove my own manly toughness or trying to elicit sympathy and support for what I considered my clearly just cause. And even though I spent those five years listening to people tell me to forgive and to reconcile it was still five years before I was able to let it go.
When it comes down to it, I spent five years holding a grudge because I had been so massively hurt by my relationship to this person, that I didn’t know how else to respond but through anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness. Five years holding a grudge means five years I was acting like the Black Knight from Monty Python: Quest for the Holy Grail. (Note for those of you who haven’t seen the full movie, it was released with a rating of PG in 1975)
“Just a flesh wound” ??? Yeah that was me.
There are three components here to be recognized.
- Recognize when you need healing. You can’t get well if you don’t know you’re sick, try and watch yourself for signs that something is wrong or different. For me it was anger. When I’m angry, it’s usually because I’m hurting.
- Seek Healing. It’s not enough to know you need healing, you need to go out and get it. Whether that means asking someone for help or offering forgiveness and getting something off your heart, go and get it done. Don’t wait for the person who hurt you to come and apologize, they may or may not, but you can control your side of the equation and start taking care of yourself.
- Accept Healing. This can be the toughest part. Once we’ve gotten to the recovery room, once we’re reclining on the velvet couch, it’s tough to get up and out. It’s tough to accept healing and move on because as long as we’re in the recovery room we have an excuse for just about everything. While we’re there we can avoid responsibilities and dangerous situations because we’re still recovering from the last one. But God did not make us so that we could heal, He made us so that we could live.
So now it’s your turn. Most of us are in one of these three stages and most of us, like me, hold unforgivness. So who do you need to forgive? Do one thing today that can help you move towards that.