God is really working on me this week. On something I would have sworn I did NOT need to work on. I would have been wrong. It is funny all the innocent ways he has brought this to my attention...some reach all the way back to summer and then forge a little Hansel and Gretel crumb path to now.
My name is Janice and I am a grudge holder. I can't even believe it. We tease my sister, Pam, for bringing up certain sock incidents of long ago. We laugh and she laughs and we tell her she never really got over it. We all laugh until we cry big fat tears that just won't stop and it is lots of good fun that is funny. Then I adjust my self-righteous hat because I am not a grudge holder. Or at least, I never thought of myself as one. Forgive and move on has always been my motto. AND, on some level, this IS true. HOWEVER, on the most important level, it isn't the least little bit true.
I call my grudges "wisdom". I KNOW how so and so is because 6 years ago she did this and while I have forgiven her completely, I won't put myself in that position again! I haven't forgotten what happened-but I do forgive her. God's mercies are new every morning, my mercies? I am not sure I grant any. I have always thought I did but I am now positive that I have not. As I flip back through my grudge Rolodex, I realize it is brimming. If I pull out a grudge card on one of those people, the hurt is so fresh, it hurts me all over again. Heaven help us all if I have more than one grudge card on someone!! I relive the hurts. AND, I am cautious. I am different with that person. I am GUARDED. The sad thing is, I know I have hurt people-intentionally and unintentionally-all my life. I sure don't want to think of them being guarded with me over a mistake. I want them to extend mercy, realize I am a work in progress and carry on as though nothing ever happened-a clean slate.
I am thankful that this past Monday, one of my friends pointed this out to me. She did not realize just how strongly God would use her words. I needed someone to speak the truth to me so desperately. I am amazed that she did, it would have been so much easier to say, "Yep Janice, I can't believe so and so did that-what a horrible thing to do to you." I really wanted her to say that, to 'take my side'. Actually, I did not even care if she took 'my side' as long as the hurt was acknowledged. She just kept saying, "Why can't you just be free from it? Why do you allow the hurt to continue? Why can't YOU just move on as though it never happened REGARDLESS of what SHE does?"
Why, indeed. Why would I choose to pack around grudge luggage? I think for me it has been the power. I feel powerful and "better" to constantly have been a victim of someone. Especially if that whole jealousy flaw thing is worked into it. I am jealous of Goody Grudge. Goody Grudge is smarter than me and has more friends. I shall never forget all the mistakes Goody Grudge has made that hurt me. I will remember them often. I will meditate on them every time I am around Goody Grudge. I choose not to be friends with Goody Grudge. MY WISDOM thinks it is not wise.
PRAISE GOD. My shoulders feel 1000 times lighter. I am going to prayerfully allow God to remove my grudges. I don't think this will be a simple process, after all, I've been storing them up for years. Grudgectomies probably take a little time to fully 'heal'. Now, as I read through, "How to Love Someone You Can't Stand", it will be like reading it for the first time. AND MAYBE, just maybe, my list of those people I can't stand will not only be shorter...perhaps I can do away with the list altogether.