I know exactly why people hold grudges (got a few myself right now). Nursing a grievance instead of resolving it gives me a fake sense of moral superiority. I can look down at the person and feel wounded and righteous. Holding a grudge helps me justify my own bad behaviors. It helps me justify my own laziness and failures by constructing a mental narrative that I am always the victim of other people’s neglect and cruelty. If I have to risk talking to the individual about his or her faults, I know I will then open myself up to that person’s pointing out mine. If I never start that conversation, I won’t have to confront my own weaknesses.
All understandable thoughts, but all poisonous. Jesus Christ himself taught his followers that a spirit of mercy toward other people is not just a nice accessory but central and indispensible to the Christian life. We despise God’s mercy to us if we fail to show it to other people. St. Paul heartily agreed: “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).
In those words you’ll find the power to break out of your “grudgy” ruts. God’s steady, unconditional mercy to us, based on his decision and not our worth, warms our hearts and thoughts.
What are you stewing over today? Let it go.