IntentionAspire to Inspire
By Mazuba Mwiinga
Intention 6: Pound The Grudge
“If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.” - Proverbs 25: 21
I love stories from the Bible because if you take them into the context of our day to day lives, you will be amazed to see how they connect with us and how they change course; from being religious texts to spiritual writings that talk about an ordinary life of an ordinary human being. Those who followed the Law of Moses believed in the “an eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth” kind of life. And I see nothing wrong with them following this law. Who wouldn’t want to hit back when provoked? During our time as children in my village, only a coward would run away in such situations. But when Jesus started Ministering he said, “I did not come to change Moses’ Law but to fulfil it”, and fulfil he did. He taught that, “When your friend slaps you on the right cheek, give him the left cheek too”. I wonder how many of us can do that. No wonder the Pharisees called him ‘crazy’, yet he wasn’t.
Jesus the Son of Mary and foster child of Joseph as he was known in his homeland, told his clansmen to “forgive those who trespass against you, seventy times seventy”, a sum which I personally take as being symbolic to mean, “forgive your aggressors all the time they wrong you”.
In today’s life however, what we have seen going in and out of our lives is scaring to look at twice or talk about it in public. As human beings, we have become so thick-skinned that no-one listens to anyone and no-one allows any ‘nonsense’ fester their lives. Often times I understand because, insecurity has ruled our lives; hope have eluded us, and more worse faith and love have been locked outside our houses; to some even in the yards or wall fences they are not there.
Revenge is simply an act of settling scores. ‘Because you hurt me yesterday, so let me show you too that I am also capable of hurting you; may be worse than you did to me’. It’s from these incidents that wars have broken up, families have broken apart, friendships have been collapsed and insanity has ruled our lives. Our hearts today have become soared with pangs of anger, hatred, un-caring attitudes and all we want in life is to be left alone with our own lives.
What we fail to realise is that whatever and whoever you cannot forgive will destroy you. If you are angry with another person for any reason, you allow that person to control you. Your heart, your mind and your thoughts will always be festering on this person; thinking about how much you hate them and wish them ill; while the same person you are angry with, is busy enjoying his life with other people happily without thinking about you and how he has made you angry.
Your life will go on renting with bitterness while your ‘enemy’ continues renting with joy and happiness without minding you. This is a very serious anomaly that has encircled our lives to the extent that we end up seeing nothing good in people and forfeit our own chances of enjoying God’s love for us. We become so much imbued into external happiness; that’s the happiness we always expect to get from other people in order for us to say we are happy. And when we don’t get it from people we expected to give it to us, we sulk, grumble, shout and curse and hate them. What we don’t know is that, happiness is an inside job. It begins with me. I need to explore my own personal inner happiness and peace for me to easily receive it from others. I need to let it overflow in me first for me to easily give it out to others; as one person said, we can only give what we have. Proverbs Chapter 15 verse 17 teaches that, “Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred”.
So if you don’t have happiness in you, how are you going to give it out? The formula of reciprocal comes in again. We can only get happiness that we expect from other people, by first giving the one we have to them. And it’s from the quality and not quantity of happiness that we give out to others, that will depend on what kind of happiness we get from others. It will be folly of us indeed to expect high quality happiness from others when what we can give is only a residue of what we had.
Therefore for us to get the full benefits of what we want from life is to have big hearts. I remember when a friend of mine asked me what I would be if I was to be a house, I said, I would be a big ware house without rooms where everyone would sit together on an open area and chat. If we want to progress in life, we need to learn to bury our grudges against others and look for better things ahead of us. There is no way we can get new things if our hearts are burdened with loads of hate and grudges. Love does not stay where there is bitterness, or anger, or hate and revenge.
To encounter a new happy life, we need to pound our grudges and sieve them; get the good lessons from the disappointments and throw away the stinky husks and nourish our souls with goodness. So many people today have fallen short of falling in love again after disappointments because they carry over their bitterness from the previous relationship to the other, where this bitterness infects that relationship and they move on again until they become hard hearted, and become careless with their lives.
Hatred or revenge, or grudges is like a festering wound that never heals. The moment we allow revenge or bitterness or hatred to run through our blood system, we infect our soul and we will never be free in our lives. Our progress will be below par in anything we will try to attempt to do, because whatever is in our hearts and minds always shows on our faces and in our actions.
For us to live happily, we will need to forgive ourselves first then forgive those who wronged us and then ask for forgiveness from those we wronged. The moment we clean our hearts and minds of any dirty, then shall we experience inner joy and freedom that will shine bright rays ahead of us for a better future. We will need to let go and let God in. As long as we will hold on to this hatred, revenge, bitterness, it means we are holding on to those people who brought these feelings to us, and as long as we will feel this way, the longer these people will stay in our minds and continue hurting us even more because we will be seeing them being happy as we ourselves, cry out with hatred.
What we need to understand is that, even the mightiest among us are going to screw up sometime because we are all human and to error is human but to forgive is divine; that’s why Jesus asked us to forgive infinitely. He knows that just as someone else may have done us wrong; he guarantees that we will do someone else wrong as well. Just as we would pray to be forgiven, we need also to forgive others.
Our duty in this life if we want to inspire others to change this world is to refuse to be crippled by our own grudges, because grudges will limit our power of imagination; they will block our sixth sense to see great opportunities in our lives. But the time we forgive, we move out of the trap and become renewed human beings capable of leading our own independent lives without depending on others for our happiness.
Let’s intend to remain grudge free, forgive and learn from our experiences so that we will be able to inspire others to do the same. In this way, success will always be at our door steps, because the moment we intend to forgive, God enters our lives. Solomon in Proverbs 25: 21 advises that, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.”