Friday, October 4, 2013

I Hate You

It was like old times. I got together with a friend of mine (we used to be neighbors) for dinner (frozen pizza) at her house and to let the kids play. In the midst of the chaos and disorder (seven kids--I need no other explanation), we got to talk. Sort of. (Seven. Kids.)

But by the time I got home, I was in a completely unreasonable state of irritability. I have no explanation (hormones). Some members of the family unit choose to overlook said unreasonable behavior. Others (no name to protect the privacy of this individual--although it might be the male parental unit of our household) have no patience for illogical and at times irrational behavior.

I have to question the logic of it myself. How is it that I can be perfectly calm and objective when visiting a friend, but turn into a mad woman once I step through the garage door? It must be something in the air here, like an unidentified mold or bacteria. Maybe my allergies are acting up.

So preposterous were my actions that the aforementioned unnamed household resident chose to leave my company and find solace elsewhere, leaving me to be disgruntled and sulk by myself. Fine. I opened the book I'm reading (the Love Dare for Parents) so I'd have something to do only to find the title of the passage glaring at me with contempt:

Is that title unusually large to you?

Okay, okay, so my irritability could be seen as somewhat unreasonable, but did the blasted book have to call me out on it? Good grief. As I read on, the reality of my frustration laid heavy on my heart. Several months ago I was involved in a "growth opportunity" (i.e. an altercation, but Lysa TerKeurst calls them growth opportunities--clever) with another individual, only I never actually got to air my grievance directly to this person as we never really talked face-to-face (hows that for an awesome chance at a growth opportunity--can you hear the sarcasm in my voice?), and although I'd love to think that I've completely gotten over what I feel like was an infraction against me, well...I haven't. Nope. Here's my confession for the day, and don't hold it against me (hehe): I hold grudges. I know I shouldn't, that it's not healthy, that I should forgive, blah, blah, blah.

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I can hold one heck of a grudge. And then really not like that person for a really long time.

Now, of course, if someone did this to me, I would be terribly and grievously offended and hurt. BUT. I still do it. It's not pretty. It's the truth though.

And what did this very book mention in the passage about irritability on the very night I was brooding in silence? That "Love brings freedom by leading you to forgive instead of holding a grudge." No joke. Here it is, I highlighted it for you:



I mean, really. Really. Really. I'd prefer to just hold a grudge, because to me, not holding a grudge is essentially letting the wrongdoer off the proverbial hook. But obviously holding the grudge was, for me, becoming unhealthy and affecting my family. In fact, the Mayo Clinic says that the person who chooses the path of unforgiveness might be the one who pays most dearly. (Read the entire article here).

In my mind, that person needs to know that I did not like what they did/said or how they acted. But, "Forgiveness doesn't mean that you deny the other person's responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn't minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life." (Mayo Clinic). There are benefits to forgiveness, like healthier relationships, but definite drawbacks to holding a grudge, like depression and anxiety. And as you know, I've dealt with and worked through, with God, much of the depression and anxiety that used to plague me. So why would I want to go back there?

I've decided that I just need to forgive and move on. It's not worth holding on to. There are moments when I want to forgive, and there are moments when I want to take it all back and go on a rampage about and against that person. Not my proudest moments for sure.

This will be a journey for me, this forgiveness and such. And not necessarily one I am always most or immediately happy with. However, when I compare the benefits and reward to the plausible effects of holding a grudge, even I know what's best.

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
{Mark 11:25}

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