Disappointment, Grudges, and Grace

Photo by Adam Birkett on Unsplash

It’s been well established that holding a grudge against someone will cause more problems for us than the person we are offended with…so why is it so hard to do?

I have recently discovered a powerful practice for peace – simple and effective – but let le give you some context first.

I had have had a few situations related to work, where relationships went from difficult to unmanageable. In each of these situations I ended up making a decision to leave, and I often look back and wonder what my life would have been like if I had not left.

Now, before you point out the obvious perspective of me being the common denominator in each of these situations, let me assure you that I am not blind to my part in the problem. However, I can also provide evidence that I did try to objectively process and work through the difficulties – even bringing outside perspectives to help.

No amount of talking or strategizing had made any difference overall. When I left these situations, I felt like I was the broken one. In truth, we are actually all broken. Looking back I can see that there were definitely issues in the other people involved in these situations — but that is not really my point — I have something different in mind than judgement of who was right or wrong. I’ve been thinking about where all of these situations have led me to.

If I go all the way back to one of the first situations, I have to travel back decades. I enjoyed my time while I was there, but I wouldn’t go back now. I have changed, and so have they. I can even see that it is now a very good thing that we parted ways – for all of us.

If I go to the next situations – same story on repeat. I enjoyed, and I impacted, but I was there for a season of change, and then it was necessary to move – for all stakeholders.

Next situation – same story.

In fact, a theme emerges, and as I reflect I can begin to see that I needed to move on from each of these situations, and if relationships had not become awkward, I may have been tempted to stay in my comfortable surroundings – and I would have forfeited all of the growth that I have experienced since then.

I would not go back to any of these situations. I enjoyed them, but I would not go back. What’s the point in living in the past – especially when each step forward has been growth – and growth is always mine to choose. I just need to set my attitude, and voila, done.

So, what’s the “simple practice for peace”? Be thankful. Not just the kind of thankfulness that exists in your head as a kind of tipping of the hat to an idea, but rather the audibly stated word: “Thank-you”.

My Creator designed me. This is intentional. He directs my steps, and though I don’t ever know what is to come next, I can see a pattern of growth through each transition of the past. So, instead of speaking any ill of that person that made my life a living hell, forced me to choose the door, or to endure more than I thought I ever wanted — I can say “thank-you”. It’s honest. I believe that my Creator allows things to come into my life to move me and to grow me, and if I am not thankful for these events, then I have to wonder if I really believe Him to be loving, and/or to support me; to be worthy of my trust. Since I hold the perspective that anyone that would craft me with as much intricate detail (my DNA strand’s instructions written out in book form would fill the grand canyon) as He has, I should be able to trust that these situations work together for good.

“If you stretched the DNA in one cell all the way out,
it would be about 2m long and all the DNA in all your cells
put together would be about twice the diameter of the Solar System.”
How Long is Your DNA?

It doesn’t seem logical that there would be this much intentionality, and then no meaning for what just happened. It’s more than “things happen for a reason”…it’s more like “the Creator takes all the things that happen and makes them meaningful”.

BTW…If there is no intention, then I have not been created, and then every experience is pointless, including the writing about this to you, your understanding of it, and any application we might seek to make from it. But, alas, I digress. 🙂

I suppose that some people are truly evil and bad to their core, but the people I am thinking about here are not really bad people at all. They were all just people trying to navigate their own journey, handicapped by their insecurities and foggy future lens – just like everyone else – just like me.

As I sit here today, I am aware that there will always be more uncertain circumstances ahead. More situations that are going to look bad for me in the future. I want to choose thankfulness now in preparation for these events. This is the path of choosing grace for life, others and self. To give all the freedom to be.

The same Creator that formed me in the womb is surely worthy of my trust, and even if I ever felt that He wasn’t, what strange irony would it be for me to use the breath that He has breathed into my lungs to assault His character? I am hoping that never happens…and that I will simply trust and be thankful. Thank-you.