They say that cats do not hold grudges. There is supposed to be some other reasonable explanation for their behavior. However, when returning from a trip, it would always take our Tiger a bit of time to warm back up to us. He would hold himself aloof and look at us sideways as if to say, “Where have you been and how dare you leave me?” After a few rebuffed overtures he would eventually be his loving self again.
Today’s verse can be convicting. It is repeated throughout Scripture that we are not to take revenge (Romans 12:19). That job is done much better by the Lord who sees hearts and is righteous. However, holding a grudge is something that we feel entitled to do. Holding a grudge is reminding ourselves that it is not OK what was done to us. Holding a grudge keeps the memory alive and keeps the offender at arm’s length.
So often, the guilty one is unaware of that unforgiving spirit we harbor. It certainly does nothing to him. The pain we continue to feel is self-inflicted and often becomes more important than the original offense. Still, it is hard to let it go. To forgive and forget seems as if we are letting that person get away with something.
We are told to love our own people and our neighbor. These are the people who are close to us, making their wounds so much deeper. It is impossible to forgive and let go without the Lord. It can only happen as I continually give it to Him.
Lord, help me to forgive with even a tiny fraction of the pardon You have shown me!