POSITIVE LIVING: ARE YOU NURSING A GRUDGE?
Are you nursing a grudge against someone today? Are you carrying around envy, jealousy, covetousness, malice, anger, hurt, or bitterness towards another person or persons in your heart? Every time you see that person or persons, do you begin to boil with anger and feel your blood pressure rising? Are you just waiting for the opportune time to have their head on a platter? Has someone either done or said something to you, that even though you cannot even remember the specifics, all you remember now is that you do not like him/her. Not only do you not like him/her, but you wish him/her no good will? Well, if you do, it is time to deal with it and let it go because carrying a grudge serves no useful purpose.
When we are offended, our positive energy gets depleted, and we feel angry or hurt. And when we let this feeling of bitterness remain inside us, it starts to build up. It gnaws on us, weighs us down, disrupts our lives, and grows and grows inside of us as a mass of negative energy. The grudge that we feel is directed not only toward our offenders but, in reality, it affects us more than it affects them. And it affects the people around us as well.
This is because as the negativity from resentment builds up within us, we begin to get defensive and sensitive. We may lose our temper more easily, and begin to withdraw trust from those who care for us. During this emotional state, we send out negative vibes into our surroundings and, this in turn, will result in other negative events happening. This negative energy then spreads outward and affects members in the society/country in general.
This is exactly what is happening in our country at the moment. It is obvious that there is much strife and bitterness among us as a people. There is much tension in the atmosphere. The wrangling and unforgiveness among us is spreading like a deadly poison eating away at the very core of our society. If left unchecked, it has the potential to destroy us as a people. Nursing a grudge is not only harmful physically, emotionally and spiritually – it can be detrimental psychologically. Murder is caused by anger and resentment, so it is very important that we root those things out of our lives, and do our best to reconcile with our adversaries instead of nursing a grudge against them.
We all have been wronged in life. We all have been hurt in life. We all have been mistreated in life. We cannot control the universe, as hard as we try. But what we can do is choose how we will react when injustice comes our way in life. The Bible highlights a vivid story of how holding grudges can lead to a destructive end. In Mark Chapter 6, Herodias had such a grudge against John the Baptist. Herod married his brother’s Philip’s wife Herodias. John the Baptist told Herod that it was not lawful for him to marry his brother’s wife. The sparks began to fly. Herod feared John – he knew that John the Baptist was holy and just, so he sought to protect him (v. 20). Herodias, on the other hand, hated John the Baptist, and while there was little she could do about it, Scripture said she held a grudge against him (v. 19). When the opportune time came for Herodias to take revenge, she instructed her daughter to ask for John the Baptist’s head to be severed and placed on a platter which was done.
You see, bearing a grudge leads one to bitterness, wrath, and hatred. Anger is the fuel from which grudges spring. A grudge is hatred in action. That is why we must never allow a grudge to fester in our hearts. We need to search our hearts and look deep into our lives and hearts and ask ourselves the questions: Does the sight of someone bring hostile feelings to the surface? Do I avoid someone just to keep me from having to speak or wave to him/her? Can I think of others for which I have these emotions and treat them in this fashion? By answering these questions, you will begin the process of admitting you have a problem which is the first step that will help to move you to deal with the issue and resolve to reconcile with those persons.
If you are willing to forgive that person or persons, and make amends, here are some steps to help you deal with grudges:
Recognize The Signs – Whenever you feel your mind going to that dark place, stop and take stock of what is happening. By taking control of your mind, and making a quick inventory of your thoughts, you can identify what triggered the thought.
Turn A Negative Into A Positive – When you feel negative thoughts creep up, acknowledge that you are giving in to a spot of weakness when you should be focusing on a mountain of strength and positivity. Take control and turn negative thoughts into positives.
Keep Positive People Close – In times of frustration, it helps to be around people who allow you to vent and get things out of your system. Positive people and positive attitudes are contagious.
Read Positive Stories in the Bible to help you – Some examples that serve as incentives:
? Esau did not continue to bear a grudge against Jacob who stole his birthright.
? Joseph did not bear a grudge against his brethren for selling him into slavery.
? Jesus did not hold a grudge against those who crucified Him.
Memorise Bible verses such as:
Ephesians 4:31-32 – Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Matthew 6:14-15 – For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Romans 12:17-21 – Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honourable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Mark 11:25 – And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
When we forgive, we release to God any right to vengeance or restitution. Forgiveness puts our relationship with God back in proper alignment. We acknowledge that He is the Judge, not us, and that He has the right to bring about any resolution He chooses. Forgiveness is the choice to trust God rather than ourselves with the outcome of the offense. Forgiveness is a matter of the heart. It is an act of surrender to God’s will and is primarily between us and God. We release to Him our right to hang on to anger (Psalm 115:11). We can release a grudge with a simple act of our will, by offering the whole situation to God and letting go of it. Forgiveness brings healing to our souls and allows God to build His strength and character into our lives.
Brenda Terrell, in her poem Forgiveness says it best:
When a hurtful word is spoken, or an unkind deed is done
I always must remember I am not the only one
Who has ever been mistreated, stepped upon or pushed aside
By thoughtless harmful actions, or selfish hateful pride.
The world is full of people who purposely abuse
Who lie and cheat and slander and manipulate and use
Anyone and everyone who might get in their way
Of success or fame or power; no price too big to pay.
God’s word is clear and simple about what I must do
When I have been offended by friend or foe’s misuse:
“Forgive…and be forgiven” I dare not keep a score–
Seventy times seven times seven hundred more.
When I am unforgiving, the battle I’ll not win;
For I need my Father’s mercy to blot out all my sin.
Forgiving is not easy yet I know it can be done:
I look to Christ my Savior, the Holy, Sinless One.
When Jesus died upon the cross, His words rang clear and true,
“Father, please forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
As the Precious Lamb of God, Christ wants me to see:
Forgiving is the power, that sets my spirit free!
Forgiveness is God’s wondrous gift, That sets my spirit free!
Remember: “One of the most devastating symptoms of pride is the unwillingness to forgive.” Wayne Gerard Trotman
About the Author: Mrs. Marilyn Hodge owns and operates the Wellness Centre in the Farrington, Anguilla. The Centre offers Counselling Services by Appointment Only and has now published Positive Living Volume 2. Contact information: 476-3517 or email:firstname.lastname@example.org. www.facebook.com/axawellnesscentre