November 18, 2005 • By Ed Wrather11.18.05
And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. - Mark 11:25.
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.- Ephesians 4:32.
In 1978, James Michael Evans (Who is now 52 years old.) checked into Hyatt Regency Hotel in Lexington, Kentucky. However, he left without paying his bill and ended up being arrested, convicted, and spending nine months in jail. This same James Michael Evans has now been charged 27 years later with calling the same hotel, and threatening to blow it up with three bombs he said he had planted at the hotel. FBI Agent Steven Gurley said this about Evans, “Evidently he has harbored that grudge since 1978.”
Yourdictionary.com defines grudge as, “A deep-seated feeling of resentment or rancor.” To further understand the word, rancor, is defined as, “Bitter, long-lasting resentment; deep-seated ill will.” Also, resentment is defined as, “Indignation or ill will felt as a result of a real or imagined grievance.” I think we can agree that James Michael Evans must be the embodiment of a grudge. You can look at what he has done and know what having a grudge is like. Evans not only had a grudge, but he nursed that grudge, reminded himself of that grudge, held onto that grudge, and loved that grudge until we see the end result of the grudge having consumed him.
If you hold your grudge out at arms length and try to take an honest appraisal of it, you will see that it surely is not the most important thing in your life. Try to put your grudge into its proper perspective. What are some of the truly important things in your life? Things like your family, your faith, and when you put your grudge in this perspective, it is probably not even in the top ten of the most important things in your life. In fact, your grudge is a little thing that you should put behind you and forget about.
In a book about Robert E. Lee, Charles Flood tells the story about Lee visiting a woman in Kentucky. The woman shows him what is left of what had been a beautiful old tree in front of her house. She bitterly related that the tree had been ruined by Union artillery fire. She then looked at Lee expecting some sympathy and condemnation of the North. But Lee responded by saying, “Cut it down, my dear Madam, and forget it.” If you do not forgive and forget those injustices, they will take root in bitterness and poison the rest of your life.
I love the story about Clara Barton who was the founder of the American Red Cross. She was reminded one day about how she had been terribly wronged years before. However, she acted as if the incident had never occurred. Her friend asked, “Don’t you remember it?” Clara then made this wonderful statement, which is a great word of advice to all of us, “No, I distinctly remember forgetting it.”
The grudge - James Michael Evans has let it ruin his life. Don’t let it ruin yours! Forgive and forget it and then move on to the really important things in life.