Sometimes I wonder if the easiest thing that we can do is hold a grudge. In our culture of the easily offended, this seems to be the strongest trait of a lot of people.
Holding a grudge is not something we should be proud of, nor is it something we should do at all. It’s a killer to our character, and if you want to have the heart of a champion, you have to let go of the grudges.
The apostle Paul had the heart of a champion. And in his letter of 2 Corinthians, he describes what this looks like. As we have looked at what the heart of a champion looks like, we have identified three things so far: Be clear about your calling, understand the ups and downs of life, and depend on the prayers of others. Letting go of your grudges is the fourth thing we can see in Paul’s letter, and it may be the hardest one yet.
Take a look at what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 (NASB):
But if any has caused sorrow, he has caused sorrow not to me, but in some degree—in order not to say too much—to all of you. Sufficient for such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the majority, so that on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. For to this end also I wrote, so that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. But one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ, so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.
Paul reveals here that the actions of one individual have caused a lot of pain, grief, and difficult circumstances for Paul and his ministry to the Corinthian church. And yet Paul speaks in almost hypothetical language here, and refuses to put a name to the individual. What this indicates is that Paul has forgiven the person, and publicly shaming him would be of no gain whatsoever.
Of course, we know that forgiveness is necessary, and we have been called to it by God. It’s not an option. But it certainly can be difficult. Here are five steps you can take to let go of that grudge.
Admit that there is a problem
The first thing you have to do is acknowledge that the problem exists. Figure out what it is that is causing you to hold this grudge. Identifying the problem is the first step towards a solution.
Talk it over
Sharing your feelings with another can help you see the situation more clearly, and you can receive input from an objective viewpoint. If the fault lies with you, you can then go and seek forgiveness. If the fault lies with the other person, you can open a line of communication to resolve the issue. But talking it over with a trusted friend first can help you release the built up tension you’re feeling, and help you keep your cool when confronting the individual who wronged you.
Put yourself in their shoes
Another great way to help release that tension is to try to see things from the other perspective. You might just gain an understanding of that person or their circumstances that you didn’t have before.
Let it go
Don’t dwell on it. Allowing the wrong to consume your thoughts and discussions will not help at all. Put it in the past and keep moving towards the future. And for sure, once it is resolved, don’t bring it back up.
Peace only comes when you let the grudge go and forgive the other individual. Of course forgiving doesn’t mean you will forget the issue. And forgiveness isn’t usually very easy to do. But it is necessary. After all, no one is perfect, not even you, and each of us needs forgiveness more often than we’d like to admit, from other people, and especially from God. Forgiving one another is the only way to truly let it go and have peace. Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, said it like this: “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
P.K. Thomajan once said, “Grudges get heavier, the longer they are carried.”
Let it go. And let it go now.
Question: Do you have any grudges that you need to let go? What is preventing you from doing that right now? You can leave a comment by clicking here.