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
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.
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