Letting go of something is never easy. We have a hard time letting go of the things we love, but also of the things we don’t love. One of the things we do not love, but do like to hold on to, is a grudge. Holding on to things carries a certain weight with it. Of course, when you love something, you’re more willing to carry the weight than when you don’t love it. For example, when you go on a great shopping spree and buy whatever pleases your heart, you end up with a bunch of shopping bags that may be heavy. However, you won’t mind carrying these bags, because you love what’s in them. The feeling changes when you’re holding a bag that contains a bunch of bricks. You will not want to carry that around for long, because you’re carrying useless weight that is slowing you down. The same happens when you hold a grudge; something you don’t like, but you decide to carry it around and it just keeps weighing you down, making it very hard for you to move forward.
Life is about continual movement. Time does not wait for anyone; we’re supposed to move along with it. But, we cannot move when we’re being held back in the past due to the grudges we hold. Lucky for us, there is this powerful thing called ‘forgiveness’ that could make our lives way easier. It is our Christian duty to always forgive those who wrong us. For when we forgive others, God will forgive us. If we don’t forgive others, God will not forgive us (Matthew 6:14-15). This does not mean that we should forgive a fellow sister or brother just because we want to be forgiven. No, forgiveness needs to come from the heart, or else you’re just lying to yourself and no one benefits from that. Forgiveness is an act of love. Without love, you can never forgive. Love comes from the heart, which means that forgiveness needs to come from it as well (Ephesians 4:32).
Forgiving from the heart means that you’ve truly let go of the grudge, you’ve dropped the weight. Only saying you forgive someone does not equal truly forgiving them. Let’s test that for a minute. Forgiveness check: try to think of someone who has done you wrong before, someone you claim to have forgiven. Does this person’s presence annoy you when they enter the same room you’re in? Does even mentioning their name irritate you? Could you pray for God to bless them? If the answers to these questions are “YES – YES – NO”, then sis, you haven’t forgiven the person. “But person X did such a horrible thing to me. How can I forgive him/her completely?” Let me ask you this: what exactly do you gain from holding on to that grudge? And what will you lose by letting go of the grudge? I’ll answer them for you: holding on to the grudge will keep your mind set on the past, prevent you from moving forward, and may cause negativity to reign in your life. Letting go of the grudge will lift a great weight off your shoulder, free up some space in your mind, and give you peace. Who doesn’t want that?
There’s a popular image of a little girl standing in front of Jesus. She’s holding a little teddy bear and Jesus is asking for it. The girl seems hesitant, because she cannot see that Jesus is holding a larger teddy bear behind His back, which He will give to her when she lets go. In the same way, when we let go of our grudges and give them to God to deal with, He will give us something greater: peace.
We often make life more difficult than necessary. People will hurt you and you will hurt them; such is life. It is only right to forgive people, because more than likely we’ve hurt others as well. I know I like to be forgiven for something I’ve done wrong, so why wouldn’t I treat others the same way? Let’s be cool and not forget the golden rule in Matthew 7:12a: “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.”