Monday, March 9, 2009

Forgive and Forget? Not Really...

To forgive is a powerful thing.
To not forgive is even more powerful. But not in a good way.
Huh. I guess I should be working on that…

I’ll explain.
I am a lifelong Christian. My first love was Jesus, my first classroom was Sunday School. My Godly mother instilled in me the basic truths of my faith and I embraced them. I obeyed the Ten Commandments, loved my neighbor, and exercised my mustard seed faith. As far as I knew, I’d learned how to turn the other cheek, love my enemies, and forgive - just as God instructed over and over in His Word.

Then last week as I talked to a friend about a sad period in my life when I was hurt, betrayed, and persecuted by those who were supposed to be my friends and fellow believers, I stumbled upon a terrible truth about myself: I was the owner of a king-sized grudge. The more I shared with her about how I was wronged and cast out, the more anger and resentment bubbled inside me, and I knew if anger and resentment resided there, it was because total, honest forgiveness had not taken place.

I decided to investigate further. “Do you think I hold grudges?” I asked my husband as we waited for American Idol to start.

“Yes.” He didn’t even hesitate.

I was appalled. “Really?”

“Aw, c’mon, Bun.” (He used to call me Honey Bunny, which morphed into Bunny, and now, just plain Bun.) “You’re still mad at me for things I did fifteen years ago.”

“I am not.”

“You are. Remember when I accidentally mowed down your wisteria?”

I became royally agitated. “Give me a break! I put a bright orange ribbon on a huge wooden stake. How could you not see that? The space shuttle could detect it from space, and you just mowed right over it!”

“I rest my case.”

Next stop: prayer closet.

I began to prayerfully explore hidden anger and buried resentment. I asked God to show me where I’d messed up, who I’d neglected to forgive, and what I needed to do. I delved into submerged pain and forgotten hurts and one by one asked God for help. And the funny part? I realized I never had any trouble asking for forgiveness, I just had a heck of a time giving it.

The challenge: Take a look inside yourself. Are you harboring resentment? Or withholding forgiveness from someone who needs to know it’s okay? The time and energy spent holding that grudge is time better spent receiving the blessings you’ve missed.
Find it, fix it, forgive it, forget it.

Carla Rossi is the author of Limited Light, Almost Home and the soon to be released Under the 5th Street Bridge – an Easter Lilies Contest Winner due out April 9th. Visit Carla at or by e-mail at


Sharon Donovan said...

Carla, this is one great post. Thanks for sharing and for making us all take a long, hard look into our hearts and souls. I think we're all guilty of holding grudges from time to time. I know I am. It makes us human. To forgive is divine. And a special thanks for trading with me today, Carla!

Rose said...

Hi Carla,

Great post.

I too am guilty of holding grudges...and you've inspired me to seek out God's guidance in letting those grudges go.


Laurean Brooks said...

Carla, you are a girl after my own heart. You hit the nail on the head. I cofess. Like you I didn't know I was stewing over past hurts. Big ones including a nasty divorce 2 decades ago.

Since God has brought it to my attention, I am gradually healing by letting go. My release is titled, "Journey To Forgiveness." Kind of ironic, isn't it?

Forgiveness usually isn't an instant thing, especially if you've been carrying the resentment for a while. It is is a healing process, one day at a time. But, when it occurs, a heavy weight is lifted.

Thank you for posting this.

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Beautifully written, Carla.


Ashley Ludwig said...

Carla - thanks for posting. I'm REALLY looking forward to reading your story. :)