Friday, October 3, 2008

A grudge is a heavy, unnecessary burden

Why is it that certain people are just inherently evil? Feel the need to constantly berate others, to pick at wounds or to say things that once heard or read make you not want to be anywhere near them? I was sent something today that once read, I shuttered and though-how can someone feel good about gleaning pleasure from causing misfortune on others? Have they so lost themselves in the need for revenge or one upmanship that they have let evil take such a deep root? Honestly, the "I've been slimed" phrase came to mind. I seriously felt the need to take a shower after that.

I do a daily bible devotional called the Upper Room. It's been around forever. I even have one of the monthly paperback books-used before the invention of the Internet, that has the most amazing Advent devotions, that we still use each year. But I digress, so I click on the link this morning, get myself settled and start reading. Kind of like that V-8 -bonk on the head, I immediately thought of a group of people I know. So this is the opening scripture to read:

Matthew 18:21-35 (NRSV) "Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?"Jesus said to him, "Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times."

Okay, again, I had a V-8 moment. After reading what was sent to me that I mentioned earlier, I seriously thought about how dragging it is to carry a grudge. The extra weight we feel the need to carry, the inability or the road block we place in our lives when we don't just own up to a mistake-and forgive. I kind of likened it to a favorite road "hazard" that my kids love to encounter. Why is it that we feel a need to continually hit the potholes, to not forgive and to continue going in a circle on the "roundabout" of life? Do we not realize that we can so easily get off with use of our forgiveness turn signal? I see so much of it on a daily basis-those looking out of #1, protecting their "friends" and will turn in a moments notice when it seems too hard to face up to the facts, acknowledge our shortcomings and just forgive?

The rest of the passage goes as such:

"For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.

When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.' And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt.

But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, 'Pay what you owe.' Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you.' But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt.

When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?' And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart."

Just before this passage is another one - Matthew 6:15"... but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespass."

God is telling us that if we can't forgive other's, then he won't forgive us. When you fail to ask for forgiveness or forgive someone else, you are holding on to those past transgressions,. Evil then has a place to take root. Then comes a great little thing known as the attitude of revenge. And revenge is not ours to enact. By taking it into our owns hands it just plants the seeds of evil even deeper into our being.

Romans 12:19-21 says "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. "

Basically what God wants us to do is let it go. For if it is true evil and unrepentant, then in time it will get it's comeuppance. Let go by asking God for forgiveness, accepting the forgiveness of others and letting it go. As we are asked to forgive, we need to be honest, with no underlying intentions. For there are those that will ask without truly having the honest intentions that God asks us to have. Playing the part so to speak. Good with alternative intentions is no longer good but means that you have not completely let go of the revenge portion.

So I step back myself and ask what have I not forgiven others for? Is there still a need to "get even" ? Are there grudges weighing me down that I could so easily get rid of by asking for forgiveness, admitting my shortcomings and just turning on that turn signal. Getting out of the slow roundabout of revenge and merging onto the byway of happiness and enjoying the rest of my life?

Loaded blog post, I know. Don't you just love it when I get this way? I promise, Monday will be much better and I should have some great news to pass on.

Later gators...


Traci said...

Great, thought provoking post Cindy... Thank you. I wish more people would give thought to your statements here... I can think of many situations with people I know where they could use to read what you wrote. I hope you have a peaceful weekend :) Thanks again, for sharing your thoughts :)

Sherilyn said...

Great post, Cindy! I know there are several of us, myself included, who have a hard time just simply forgiving and moving on. Logically, our heart tells us this is what must happen, but our head can't always let it go.

Definitely words to think about this weekend...

Thanks for reminding us! Have a great weekend!