Have you ever held a grudge against someone? Yes, even as a Christ-follower? Well, I have, and it’s not pretty. It doesn’t make you feel better, and it certainly doesn’t help the relationship. But, I’m so glad I didn’t have to learn the hard way about letting go.
I’ll rewind a bit. I am the fourth of five children in my family. I’m 11 years younger than my oldest brother, and 8 years older than my younger sister. Indeed, we were all over the place. My parents were my rock, my protectors. Especially my dad. He kept me out of harm’s way. And yes, all dads are protectors, right? Not to be biased, but there was something unique about my father. He was one of twelve children – that’s more fingers than you can count on two hands. Though not the oldest, my dad became head of the household at twelve years old when his father passed. He worked hard – he was the first in the family to attend and finish college, spent several years in Italy and could speak fluent Italian and LOVED his family. He never knew a stranger, and treated everyone with respect and kindness (which is somewhat of a lost art these days). He was a true gem.
There is one thing that’s constant, and we often do not like to discuss: we must all leave this world. And while as a believer we know heaven is far better, the thought of not walking the earth anymore is a touchy subject. And definitely one that I didn’t like to think about. Which is why I was completely blindsided on December 10, 2002.
December 10 is my birthday. This particular December 10 wasn’t so special for me though: God called my dad home to be with Him that day. I was crushed to say the least. My dad and I shared a strong bond. I selfishly misled myself to believe he would always be around – or, at least be there watch my children grow into adults – because apparently it was all about what I wanted out of this relationship on earth.
This is where the grudge comes in – I had a grudge against God. God! Of anyone to hold a grudge against, not against the Big Guy. Well let me tell you, it’s not easy holding a grudge against Him. How do you raise your children to be Christ followers and hold a grudge against the One who sent his Son to save the world?? How do you continue your walk with Christ if you don’t even feel compelled to pray? I tried to shut Him out anyway.
It was such a tumultuous time for me – and a time that required (guess who) God. I found myself slipping further away from God, all on my own accord. I stopped teaching at Sunday School. I attended church regularly, but it was all about business. I showed up to the church Executive Board meetings for business. I made the announcements as clerk because it was my job. I read condolences at funerals for church members because it was a duty. My life became busy with any and everything to block out the One who gave me life.
And I never spoke a word of it, until now.
The irony in all of this is God knew my heart. I may have kept a facade to friends and family, and even myself. But, holding a grudge against God – WHO KNOWS EVERYTHING – was the craziest thing I have ever done in my life. Even crazier than teenage years, and we can all attest to those being some crazy years.
There comes a time in life when you have an epiphany moment, and you never know when it’s going to hit. Mine was quite some time after my “fall-out” with God in 2002. Anyone who knows me knows that I love to meet for a bite to eat or coffee. I love to hear from friends and family and share conversation over a steamy cup of Joe. I remember sitting across from my friend, and for some reason at this particular moment, it hit me. “Let it go” was the quiet whisper in my ear. It kept recurring as I tried to chat with my friend. Why now? Why at this particular moment is the Spirit stirring up inside of me?
As I sat in my car after having coffee, crying hysterically, I realized I have done such an injustice holding a grudge against God. I’ve done an injustice to family. I’ve done an injustice to friends. And, I’ve done an injustice to myself.
Have you ever watched the movie “Signs” starring Mel Gibson (before he decided to vocalize his opinions when intoxicated), Joaquin Phoenix and the cutie Abigail Breslin? Mel Gibson’s character, Reverend Graham Hess, held a grudge against God. My favorite part of the movie is when he was talking to his brother, played by Joaquin Phoenix, and he said the following:
“People break down into two groups.When they experience something lucky, group number one sees it as more than luck, more than coincidence. They see it as a sign, evidence, that there is someone up there, watching out for them. Group number two sees it as just pure luck. Just a happy turn of chance. I’m sure the people in group number two are looking at those fourteen lights in a very suspicious way. For them, the situation is a fifty-fifty. Could be bad, could be good. But deep down, they feel that whatever happens, they’re on their own. And that fills them with fear. Yeah, there are those people. But there’s a whole lot of people in group number one. When they see those fourteen lights, they’re looking at a miracle. And deep down, they feel that whatever’s going to happen, there will be someone there to help them. And that fills them with hope. See what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, that sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky? Or, look at the question this way: Is it possible that there are no coincidences?”
We all go through something, every last one of us. Mel Gibson’s character went through the death of his wife; I dealt with the death of my dad. In both his case and mine, we heard the words “trust in God.” Something so simple and yet so hard when there’s a turn of events you can’t wrap your mind around. Mel Gibson had to face aliens to bring him back to God – I’m glad I didn’t have to encounter that scenario! Instead, God showed his sovereignty and gentleness. He spoke to me doing what I love to do: drinking coffee, conversing with a friend. Wow, He’s even perfect when you’re mad at Him.
“Wow, He’s even perfect when you’re mad at Him.”
I tell this story to anyone who may be holding a grudge against God. He is absolutely crazy about you and cares deeply for you! Satan loves to twist that FACT – don’t fall for it like I did. Let it go – not the Frozen soundtrack version – but the Spirit-enriching, Satan-stomping version. I let go of my anger of losing my dad and replaced it with cherished memories – fishing trips, piggyback rides and our first dance at my wedding. I let go of hiding my grudge and being transparent – I hear the road to recovery is first admitting there’s a problem.
This brings me back to the last part of the quote above – is it possible there are no coincidences? Is it possible that God’s Hand is not interwoven into every particle of life we breathe? I believe there are no coincidences – there was a reason I was having coffee at that particular moment. There was a reason the Spirit spoke to me then. There’s work to do for His glory, and I couldn’t be more ready.
So, let go of the grudge – the Big Guy always wins.
Love to you all,
I am a working mom of 3 kids, and have been married to Shawn for 17 years. I am a native St. Louisan but my heart lives in Montreal – or Arizona – or Bora Bora. Let’s just say I love to travel.
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