"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven."1
A friend sent me the following illustration: One of my teachers had each one of us bring a clear plastic bag and a sack of potatoes. For every person we refused to forgive for whatever they did, we were told to choose a potato, write on it the name and date, and put it in the plastic bag.
We were then told to carry this bag with us everywhere for two weeks, putting it beside our bed at night, on the car seat when driving, next to our desk at work, etc.
The hassle of lugging this around with us made it clear what a weight we were carrying spiritually and emotionally, and how we had to pay attention to it all the time to not forget it and leave it in embarrassing places.
Naturally, the condition of the potatoes deteriorated. This was a great metaphor for the price we pay for nursing our grudges. Too often we think of forgiveness as a gift to the other person while it clearly is for ourselves!
So the next time you decide you can't forgive someone, ask yourself, Isn't your bag heavy enough?
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to forgive all who have ever hurt me, and never nurse any grudges—no matter what others may do to me—just as You always forgive me. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Jesus (Luke 6:37, NIV).