"Grudges" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward
I learned some time ago that carrying a grudge is a waste of time. It also robs me of joy and peace of mind.
My family and I... we were treated very badly by a Christian leader. After many years of anger, resentment, bitterness, and holding a grudge passed while waiting for him to repair the damage, I realized it was totally up to me. When he died, leaving behind no apology that came close to the level of devastation caused, I knew for a fact it was totally up to me.
Am I going to hold a grudge, and like this man in the picture be weighted down for the rest of my life? Or am I going to release the grudge, heal myself, and continue on with the life set before me?
The Buddha is quoted saying, "Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."¬†Of course, Jesus is also famous for promoting forgiveness and letting go of anger.¬†Or any therapist would say the same thing. In other words, it's nothing new in the area of personal health.
I am not saying that my perpetrators need not make amends. This is about my own personal response. How am I going to proceed? How am I going to get on with my life? Because the chances are my perpetrators, even if they do apologize, may never grasp the full dimensions of their violations against me.
Also, unfortunately, many religious people see this teaching of forgiveness as a license to harm others. It can create an unhealthy environment for abuse. Again, this is not what I'm addressing here. I'm talking about how we can immediately step in the direction of moving on from our hurt and anger to peace of mind and joy again.
This also doesn't mean you must reconcile with your perpetrator and make things right and be all cozy again. Again, I'm talking about your own ability to heal yourself and move on. This has nothing to do with your perp.
Now, all that being said, we are allowed to hold on to our grudges. Some offenses seem too great to drop. But this will never bring peace of mind or happiness. We do have a choice. In fact, I believe in a place where forgiveness is no longer necessary.
You can heal yourself. You can let the grudge go. You will be and feel better for it. I know it.
Meet other people learning to let go of grudges in our online community The Lasting Supper.
Like this cartoon? Get a print of it HERE.