Why would you hold a grudge when you can hold other much sweeter things like babies, puppies, kittens or friendship? As I get older, I realize every day all the things that I have done, said, held on to throughout my life and I realize I did a lot of nice things, but I also held on to a lot of bad things much longer than I should have. Maybe it is age, maybe it is the new personality I have been putting on over the past several years. My point is, when we hold on to, or nurse, a grudge the impact is far reaching. I want to help others, therefore I would like to expound on the effects of holding a grudge, the joys of letting it go and how you can let it go.
Does holding a grudge affect you? Absolutely! A grudge can rob you of peace, happiness, and physical health. It can also affect your relationships with others. Meanwhile the person you are holding a grudge against could be completely oblivious to it! This is not new information, Proverbs 14:30 says “A calm heart gives life to the body, but jealousy is rottenness to the bones.” A grudge may or may not be based in jealousy, but it has the same effect.
Speaking from experience, when you forgive a person and let go of a grudge, it is like removing a 2 ton block from your shoulders. You will feel true relief in your heart, your physical and emotional health will improve, and you will gain peace. I say these things, but I have struggled to give up some grudges over the years, and even now there are some that I still battle…I am a work in progress and my favorite saying is that “I do imperfection, perfectly”.
Ask yourself, “am I holding any grudges?” Be honest with yourself, it may be the root cause of some of your emotional or physical symptoms; the good news is that you can do something about it! How can you work toward letting go of your grudge? Here is what worked for me, millions of people today, and countless others throughout history. Turn to the one who knows us all better than anyone, the one who created us. He left us a manual for getting through life. He says:
“Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely even if anyone has a cause for complaint against another. Just as Jehovah freely forgave you, you must also do the same.” (Colossians 3:13)
Forgiveness helps us to be forgivable. If you are struggling with forgiveness, you can pray about it. When you do, you will receive help because the quality of being forgiving is in harmony with God’s will for mankind. It is one of the things Jesus said we should ask for “forgive us our debts” (or trespasses) “as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12). If we seek forgiveness (and we all need it from God and other people), then we have to be forgiving! When we love above all else, we can find a way to forgive freely because “love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8). The last advice I have from the Bible is from Matthew 5:23-24: “If, then, you are bringing your gift to the altar and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar, and go away. First make your peace with your brother, and then come back and offer your gift.” Do you notice, we are instructed to leave the gift, don’t even come up to the altar, go make peace, then return to give your gift at the altar. That is how seriously God and Jesus view forgiving freely.
If necessary, go have a tactful conversation with the person, let them know how you feel in a respectful way. They may not even be aware what they did (or said) hurt you. Once you do, you will have lifted a burden from yourself and whether they react the way you feel they should have or not, you will have done your part to make peace with them. That will help you start to let go of the grudge. It’s a big weight and you feel so relieved when you can get rid of it. I admit, it is SO HARD to forgive sometimes. You may have a lifetime worth of things that a person has done that you are holding on to. It is especially hard when the wounds have been inflicted by a person you love, and they are oblivious. I say oblivious because I like to think that someone who says they love me would apologize if they knew, or later figured out they hurt me. Like everyone else, I continue working on getting rid of grudges, some have been easier than others, and like I mentioned earlier, some of them try to return at times when something new happens…but, I pray about it and ask for help to let it go, I don’t want to nurse it and bring it all back to life.
With all this said, what do you want to do? Do you want to continue nursing that grudge? I know I don’t, I want to be like Elsa, and LET IT GO!