I have noticed that it is infinitely easier to express grace and mercy to people I really like. Conversely, it is easy to be stingy and withhold grace, mercy, or forgiveness when I don’t particularly care for the person who needs it. There are people in our lives who daily need grace and forgiveness. If we are regularly put in the situation to demonstrate it, I am willing to bet there is something that God is wanting to teach us about our own need to extend it.
In terms of spritual growth, if I am the very one who is begrudging someone frequently, I think it ceases to be about the person I am annoyed with…it is now about me and my attitude of unforgiveness. Nursing a grudge is a destructive thing but it is much easier to not allow yourself to fall into that trap than get out of it once you are there.
Here is the anatomy of a grudge: It starts with being annoyed or downright angry with someone who has caused you some level of grief followed by “expecting” that annoying behavior to continue. Next you pay attention for and look for that annoying behavior and you are satisfied in your inner ugly place when you see it. And soon you notice that many of your thoughts revolve around that person or situation. Like an ominous cloud, the negativity continues to grow. And so does your sin.
Have you ever been there?
It is good to interrupt that cycle before it gets too far down the path. And we need to recognize that only God can help us accomplish any of this.
If you think about the nursing profession, you know that nurses work very closely with people and nursing a baby is a very close contact experience. If you apply these ideas about nursing to nursing a grudge you will rightly connect that nursing a grudge draws you even closer to the person that has “wronged” you. Do you really want that?
I don’t think so.
A first step towards freedom from this trap is to admit to God you have an issue with this person. Next ask God to bless this person. Every day. It is pretty tricky to hold a grudge against someone you are praying for.
May you walk in freedom of God’s forgiveness!