I Believe in Forgiveness

Matthew - Showlow, Arizona
Entered on November 29, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: forgiveness

The Grudge is a scary movie but real grudges can be much more frightening.

Grudges can truly ruin lives both physically and mentally.

The concept that I shouldn’t hold grudges was probably driven home to me

most by an old man named Mr. Riley who I met at a retirement home while visiting a

member of my church. Mr. Riley had been holding a grudge against his best friend for

nearly thirty years. He and his friend had a fight over a girl and his friend ended up

marrying her. Instead of moving on with his life Mr. Riley had spent the last thirty years

hating him. He had never married himself because of the grudge he carried against his

friend. When I met him, he was an extremely bitter old man haranguing his friend and

going over arguments they had over thirty years ago. I tried to get him to talk to or at

least call his friend but to no avail his grudge was the only thing he had left and he was

afraid to let go of it.

I’m sorry to say this story doesn’t have a happy ending. When I finally convinced

him to look up his old friend, we found out that he had died five years previously. It

destroyed Mr. Riley. His object of hate, his best friend, and his only real reason for living

was gone. Maybe I should have left well enough alone. I wasn’t sure, but before I left

that day, he took me aside and thanked me for all that I had done and for helping him

finally get over his grudge.

This experience deeply affected me. To tell you the truth, it actually scared me.

I was terrified that I might end up like Mr. Riley since I had also kept grudges against

other people. Before I met Mr. Riley, whenever I had an argument or a problem with

someone I didn’t try to make it up with that person. Instead, I would wait for them to

come to me and apologize. Sometimes I would hold a grudge against them for weeks or

months, and even when they did apologize I would never truly forget what they had

done.

Now that I look back on it, whenever I was holding a grudge against someone my

schoolwork suffered, and I was miserable most of the time. I think I held these

grudges because I was afraid of being hurt by that person again and I was trying to

demand that they earn my forgiveness.

Now, whenever I have a problem with someone I will go up to them and try to

work it out as soon as possible. Not for their sakes as much as my own because I know

what a true grudge can do to you and I never want it to happen to me.