When I was seven, a classmate accused me of stealing her bracelet. In fact, she had given it to me earlier that day and I, in turn, donated it to our class monarch butterfly habitat. Other classmates had added colorful knick-knacks to liven up the cocoon display. I still remember that she accused me. We were never friends.
When I was twelve, a close friend decided one day to stop being friends with me. I developed a crush on a boy on whom she had her eye. She then convinced our whole circle of friends to stop being friends with me. I no longer had a group to share lunch with. I still remember that she ostracized me. We were never friends again.
When I was sixteen, my best friend betrayed me by telling my boyfriend of my doubts. I was not sure if I wanted to continue dating him (or whatever sixteen year-olds do). She went behind my back and told him all of my doubts, my secrets, my fears. Over the next year, she continued to divulge confidences to anyone and everyone. I still remember how betrayed I felt. Our ten plus year friendship ended.
What is the common denominator here?
Me. Yes, I am the problem.
I have harbored grudges my whole life. I remember those negative feelings. I did not forgive. I am a tax collector.
I have kept a ledger of all the wrongdoings my whole life. I have columns, lists, check boxes of all those instances where I have felt betrayed, hurt, ostracized, mocked, ridiculed, and alone. I am like a collector of grievances and I have punished all my wrong-doers with ill will.
And that is completely sinful. I need to forgive, I need to pray, I need to let it go.
Jesus has called me to repent for my sins. My sin of pride. My sin of grudge-holding. My sin of anger.
The forgiveness of our Lord is never-ending.
“For thou, O LORD, art good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call on thee.”
If our Lord forgives even the most sinful, then why do I let these negative feelings grow in me like a cancer. I need to throw away my ledger for I am invited to the table.