Vicious Grudges {www.boldlytanya.com}

I was ranting at an old friend a while ago. About what, I can’t even say because it was so slight it has proven to be unmemorable. The only thing I can positively say is that I was rabid with indignation.

In the middle of my verbal tirade, he paused and said, “Tanya, you hold some vicious grudges.”

I was completely taken aback.

Who, me?

What are you talking about?

Are you insane?

I am the most forgiving person I know!

How dare you say I hold vicious grudges.

What even gives you the right to say that to me.

and then I didn’t talk to him for months.

MONTHS.

*****

That gave me a lot of time to stew over those words and to think about the people who are no longer a part of my life. The ones that I have sworn off, or closed the doors of friendship in their faces, or burnt the bridges between us so they could never reach me again.

What caught my attention is that there are so many. From what should be close family to acquaintances, or even people who I worked with or went to school with, that I just hope I never see again.

Trust me, it is BAD.

Am I the only one who does this?

Then, I wondered why. Why are there so many names scratched off of my heart? Why are things always just over? Why is there never room for reconciliation and redemption?

The answer kept floating around me in two bitter words: vicious grudges.

Those words were like a battering ram, slamming against my hard heart, and as it weakened, I realized that my old friend had nailed it completely. I do hold vicious grudges. No, I don’t just hold them. I cling to them for dear life, because I feel like that is what is at stake – my life, my heart, and soul.

I don’t forget. I certainly don’t forgive. I cling to everything, from the most insignificant slight to the brutal life changing lacerations. I turn each and everyone into a brick, which comprises the walls of my fortress. I tuck my heart away in there, and not actually so it can’t be broken again, but so you can’t break it in the first place.

vicious. grudges.

*****

I have to let go of a lot of past hurts.

I have to love and trust and give grace.

I can’t run and hide and start reinforcing my walls of hurt and disappointment at the slightest infraction.

I have to be willing to love and accept people as they are, with what they have to offer even if what they have to offer looks like it will hurt.

People are going to disappoint each other, and we are going to let each other down. That is the reality of human nature.

But at the end of the day, instead of holding on to my vicious grudges (or making new ones), I have to firmly trust and believe that it isn’t because of bad people or that they hate me or they don’t want to be my friend. It is because they are human, just like me.

I have to be able to say that disappointment and let down is going to happen, and it is okay.

I have to learn to forgive genuinely. I have to move on and not keep waiting for the other person to fail me again.

Then, instead of spending all my energy building walls, I can spend it mending hearts and fixing relationships.

*****
 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. 

Ephesians 4:31-32 (NIV)

Please note: I am not advocating harmful or unhealthy relationships. I am only speaking of my tendency to shut out everyone who has ever done anything remotely hinting at potentially breaking my heart. Forgive all transgression, because Jesus commanded it, and if we do not forgive, we cannot be forgiven (Matthew 6:14-16). But in saying that, please know that I do not believe that forgiving someone means opening yourself up to continued attacks or persecution.  If you have questions regarding this, I urge you to speak to your pastor or a trusted spiritual advisor.