You’ve been wronged. Someone let you down. Something didn’t go your way. This person stole from you. That one lied to you. She betrayed you. He insulted you right to your face. The surefire deal fell through. Your most lucrative client decided to go with another vendor. Your dream girl found somebody else. Would you forget or keep it in your memory?
Each of us has, in our hearts, a list of slights that we carry. About things that were done to us in childhood, about how we were treated early in our careers, about the things people thought about us that were unfair or undeserved. We tell ourselves that these grudges fuel us, that they have driven our accomplishments, and we may be right. But they also make us deeply sad, and if we think about them too much, profoundly angry.
Christ wants you to know that this is no way to live. That even the productive use of that anger and pain is corrosive and dangerous.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”Luke 6:37
The poet Juan Ramon Jimenez puts it this way:
Forgetting is a virtue; memory a vice.
You cannot go through life hanging on to hurt. You cannot let what has gone wrong give way to anger—in the moment or on a permanent basis. Because the damages from that emotion will always outlast the damage from the original infraction. We have to learn how to forgive. We have to constantly be letting go, shedding off these ordinary and extraordinary things that have been done to us like dead skin.
To hold onto them is not a virtue. It is a vice. Forgive. Forget. Move onward.