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Webster’s dictionary describes a grudge as “a feeling of deep resentment or ill-will.”
Have you ever had a grudge against someone? (Or maybe you’re still holding on to one or more.) One author states that it often seems easier to get rid of a person, or an animal, than a grudge.
The story is told of a man whose family had inherited a stray cat that the man had always hated. One day he made an attempt to finally get rid of the cat. He put him in the car, drove several miles to a golf course, set the cat free and drove away. Only three days later, he found the cat mewing and howling at the back door again. That is what also, often, happens to grudges.
One tries to get rid of it — finally — and, sure enough, back it comes in one of the “nine lives” of grudges.
Now, let’s be honest with ourselves. The grudge, no matter how hard one tries to rid oneself of the haunting, if not painful, memory, seems to want to hang around.
The grudge can affect many areas of life, including mood swings that can have a serious detrimental affect on those we love. And, it drains a lot of energy from our emotional system because grudges keep old wounds from healing.
It happened to me many years ago when a friend I had known for more than 20 years, suddenly showed a side of him that had been hidden from me, although for many of those years, I would have sworn that he was my closest male friend. We had on several occasions had warm, social visits with each other’s family, even were active members of the same church, and had vacationed together.
When this relationship suddenly turned sour, it left me wondering what happened to cause it. Did I do/say something that brought out this new side of him?
Frankly, it left me in a state of shock. When I probed, the best that I could, into this sudden change, the frivolous reason he gave to me had me wondering if I was so blinded by this enjoyable relationship that our real, true feelings were never allowed to emerge.
I knew that my feeling about him was a strong brotherly love, and I believed, and still do to this day, that maybe my love for this friend was the glue that held our friendship together for years — that being the honest reason for the shock I had experienced at that time.
Now that I have presented this experience, did I develop “a grudge” toward him?
I don’t think I held a grudge, but I can tell you, honestly, God knows that I felt a combination of both hurt and anger. For a while, I thought, “Who does he think he is to brash a relationship that I felt was so close?”
I was also in a state of confusion and bewilderment for a period of time and prayed about it to help keep the anger from developing into rage or resentment.
As a result, I eventually resolved much of it by convincing myself, by way of an honest inventory, that I probably was the one who fostered the relationship and he, and his family. were benefited by the actions of both me and my wife, who developed a friendship with his wife before we got married.
That helped a lot in resolving this whole matter. It needs to be said that I believe that I don’t hold any bitterness or anger toward him. We exchanged birthday and Christmas cards for many years, although our paths have not crossed since then.
Finally, it must be understood that there are many faces (some very ugly), along with many species, of grudges — namely anger, bitterness, resentment, disappointment, hatred, jealousy and even apathy.
If some or all of these are present, and these can be sly, they can move in again and set up housekeeping before you are fully aware that they are even there.
Recognizing the grudge is the first step.
What is the name of the one with whom you have the grudge? Is the primary target your husband, your parent(s), a brother or sister, a child, a friend, or maybe God? Recognizing, even naming, the grudge may not get it out of your life, but it is a good start.
At least now you will have a name to call it when you tell it to leave. And, for your spiritual, mental, emotional self, it may be time to offer forgiveness to those people.
Begin to live free from being so bound up with these emotionally draining things and free yourself up to feel less burdened and controlled. Even if the person no longer alive, or you cannot connect with that person anymore, tell God that you are asking his forgiveness for this, knowing that he not only has the power to forgive, but can administer grace.
Maybe the person you want to forgive has no idea why you have held this grudge against him/her and will never believe they should be held accountable for anything. In that case, leave it alone and get on with your life without that excess burden dragging you down.
Try it, it will help. I know, it worked for me. Wounds can heal if you do your part. You’ve been forgiven. Case closed.
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