Friday, January 2, 2009

Holding Grudges

I've been reading a book called Created for Work by Bob Schultz. Today I came across a little section about grudges that stood out to me, not because I have a grudge against anyone but because I'm a witness to a monstrous and nasty grudge and the truth of these words seem like something every grudge holder should consider.

"A grudge is the inward reluctance to give. It's the unwillingness to benefit the people you resent. When you have a grudge against someone you cut them out of your life, even when they are in the same room with you. You don't smile and only talk if absolutely required. A good grudge holder doesn't look at the person. He refuses to acknowledge their presence. He can be pleasant to everyone else, yet carefully avoid the target of his grudge...

Grudges require work. Emotionally, you must keep the sour feelings. Mentally, you must remain alert not to smile of look kind. A day of grudge holding is physically exhausting. However, with training, some people are able to maintain an intense grudge for years.

God desires to benefit the world through you. He designed you to be a vessel in which His Spirit grows and bears fruit. He wants to display His mercy, forgiveness, and goodwill everywhere you go. You are like a pipe He wants to use to pour goodness into the world. The only hindrance is that we have the ability to clog our own pipes."

Sometimes people seem to think the grudge impacts only the person they're holding the grudge against. Not so. The grudge I'm thinking of seems to have a greater impact on the "favored" people on the fringes of the grudge than one might imagine. They feel awkward to be favored when the other person is being carefully left out, they feel the injustice displayed towards the object of the grudge, they have to choose words carefully and hide information because they know that giving further evidence of the grudge would seriously hurt the feelings of some while raising the ire of others. The grudge holder seems to think nothing, now, of this habitual practice and apparently plans to continue this to and beyond death. Yes, the object of the grudge DOES feel it acutely. But others, also feel the sting of it, struggle to grasp how the person they love can act that way and struggle too, to be loyal to both parties. A grudge is a nasty thing.

I'd like to ask, WHAT is the value of a grudge well held?

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