"If you are angry, don't sin by nursing your grudge."1
I have read about "a scene from a movie a few years ago called 'Nobody's Fool.' There's a working man named Donald Sullivan. Everybody calls him Sully. He's about sixty years old, and spent his whole life in the same town. When his parents died, he inherited their house. He never moved in. Instead he left it alone. It was the house where his father beat him as a child. So he has left it alone, and every day he drives by to watch it slowly fall apart. One day he takes one of his friends, a builder, through that broken-down house.
"The builder says, 'Sully, you could have saved this place. You could have fixed it up a little bit, rented it out. You could have sold it and put the money in your own pocket. Instead you stick it to your old man. What's it been—thirty, thirty-five years? You're still keeping score? Well, here's the good news: you won.'"
Failing to forgive keeps us bound by the past and under the control of the one whom we feel hurt us and towards whom we are still nursing a grudge—even if they are dead! Little by little it will also cause the love in our heart to decay and crumble. Furthermore, nursing grudges can take years off our life.
Jesus, the Master Teacher, knew exactly what and why he was saying to forgive seven-times-seventy—meaning to never quit forgiving. Let's be realistic and realize that "failing to forgive is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die!"
It's not only important that we forgive all who have ever hurt us or let us down, but also that we seek forgiveness for ourselves from those whom we have hurt and above all—to ask for and experience God's forgiveness for all our sins and wrongs.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to face any grudges I may still be nursing, confess these to You and to a trusted friend and, in turn, freely forgive all who have ever hurt me. And please forgive me for wherever I have hurt others. And where needed, give me the courage and grace to ask for forgiveness from anyone I have hurt. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
NOTE: For further help see "Forgiveness: The Power That Heals" at: http://tinyurl.com/3bw3q3
To know and experience God's forgiveness click on: http://tinyurl.com/8glq9
1. Ephesians 4:26 (TLB-NLT).