I don’t even like the sound of the word. It just sounds… icky. I think that’s the technical term for how holding a grudge feels: icky.
Stocks to your soul and rots it away.
We shouldn’t handle a grudge with a ten-foot pole. And yet we tend to hold these poisonous little chunks of egotistical unforgiveness as if they are a badge of honor.
And grudges can come from a variety of sources. We might hold a grudge against someone for hurting us, or cheating us, or speaking ill of us. Maybe it wasn’t me who was directly harmed, but my family, or friend.
Maybe we just don’t like someone’s lifestyle. Or religion. Or politics. Or ethnicity.
Maybe we just don’t like the way their mother dresses them in the morning.
The grudge is not a reflection on the one we are choosing to shut out, but on the holder of the grudge. There is no love in a grudge, because the grudge is born out of – and grows in the soil of – hate.
Yes. Hate. And while we may think it feels good, it really is rotting our souls.
Consider this line from the Lord’s Prayer: forgive us our debts / trespasses, as we forgive our debtors / those who trespass against us. Our very forgiveness hinges on our forgiving others.
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. – Matthew 6:14-15 (ESV)
We are called not to unforgiveness, but to love. Love the Lord with all being. Love our brothers and sisters. Love our neighbors. Love our (gulp) enemies. Bless our enemies. Feed them.
Applying forgiveness and love are the only two methods of ridding the grudge from our souls. When applied, the grudge will be released, decreased and, in time, totally ceased. However, left untreated, the grudge will simply take over with its bitter bile.
Judge not. Grudge not. Love one another.
Even / especially those you think are unlovable.