By: Karel Samek
I like quotes by wise people whose ability is to put gems of truth into a short sentence.
One such quote caught my attention last week: “It doesn’t take a very big person to carry a grudge.”
I thought, “Do I sometimes hold on to grudges?”
Nowadays, carrying grudges has become a well-established habit of many.
I got caught in such a trap far too often.
Grudge is costly.
It has ruined friendships, marriages and family relationships, split organizations, governments and churches.
In the long run, it also wears down the one who carries it.
It causes stress, robs people of peace, affects blood pressure, lowers life enjoyment and solves nothing.
Instead of making us large-hearted and generous, it makes us petty, ego-sensitive and judgmental.
It is easy to build resentment toward a person, church, government or organization.
Yet, most people generally don’t mean to offend or hurt us.
Sometimes, in times of stress, we tend to be selective hearers, catching a phrase out of its intended meaning.
A good rule of thumb is to place the most-favorable evaluation on other people’s words and actions.
Few individuals have a magnanimous spirit that overlooks what seems offensive.
King Solomon expressed his wisdom in Proverbs 19:11: “A person with good sense is patient, and it is to his credit that he overlooks an offense.”
Yet, he recognized that correcting misunderstandings can be a delicate task — Proverbs 18:19: “An offended brother is more resistant than a strong city, and disputes are like the locked gate of a castle tower.”
Wow, Solomon knew our human nature, didn’t he?
Have you ever wondered why some people nurture grudges?
Having an unresolved issue and living under a strained relationship is too costly and painful for every party involved.
We should not allow grudges to become fossilized in our minds.
Extending a gracious and forgiving hand toward the one you feel has caused you pain clears tension and restores peace.
Exchanging love, compassion, forgiveness and understanding for resentment, grudge and animosity is a much happier way to live.
It breaks the silence, initiates reconciliation and ends isolation.
Start breaking the walls.
Become a bridge builder to other impe-fect people at your workplace or within your family circle.
Don’t wait for others to clear misunderstandings and diffuse tensions.
Reach out to other people as imperfect as yourself.
Their weakness or trigger points may be different from yours.
Karel Samek is pastor of the Merritt and Ashcroft Seventh-day Adventist Churches and Friendship Outreach Ministries.