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Did you mean to do that?

There are always going to be times when we feel like we have been 'harmed' in relationship - it is part of we humans trying to live and interact together. We won't always get our own way, nor will we be continuously satisfied with what we see in others. Part of human nature is to fail on occasion - we cannot avoid that harsh fact. It is how we respond to these failures in others that really matters - not the failure so much, but our response of heart and emotion toward the failure, and more importantly - toward the person who has failed!

Don’t seek vengeance. Don’t bear a grudge; but love your neighbor as yourself, for I am Jehovah. (Leviticus 19:18 TLB)

When we hold grudges, or 'nurse them' as some people refer to it, we are really creating a 'debt account' in which the other individual begins to 'owe us' for each offense. We are then adding 'interest' to the 'debt' owed each time we rehearse (nurse) the grudge. 'Unpaid debt' soon becomes something that causes more 'ill will' between individuals. Have you ever seen one of those advertisements for a 'payday loan'? You bring them something of value - such as the title of your car - they loan you a sum of money. What you don't see is the 'fine print' - at the interest rate they will charge that simple $1,000 loan will take you ten years to repay - long outlasting your car!

Debt accrues interest - there is no avoiding that - even when they propose to you an 'interest free' loan on some appliance or vehicle. What we don't realize is that they have 'marked up' the item to include what they would have exacted from you in interest over the term of the note! You and I can be cleverly disguising the 'debt' another owes us, nursing that grudge until the interest demanded becomes so much it is almost impossible to ever achieve 'pay-back' of the debt. We rehearse the debt and add a little to the account each time we do - essentially adding 'interest' to the debt! What comes next is that we send the individual to 'collections' on the debt!

We move from just 'adding interest' to the account into the territory of demanding very forcefully the debt be repaid. They are incapable of repaying what they 'owe' in any real satisfactory way, so the next thing we know, we are actually devising ways to bring further 'harm' or 'embarrassment' into their lives. It is like when the sign goes up on the front lawn announcing to the world the home you worked so hard to buy is now going into foreclosure and you will soon be living on the street! This movement from nursing the grudge into seeking to retaliate and bring further harm to the individual is entering into the territory known as vengeance. If you have ever heard the warning that vengeance belongs to God and God alone, you know you are treading into dangerous territory on that one!

Grudges should never have a chance to take hold. Debts should not be 'added to the account'. In fact, we shouldn't even be doing the book-keeping! A grudge begins with us 'crying out' - complaining against or about someone. Cry out long enough and you will begin to sense they 'owe' you for all the time and energy you are investing into this slight. Soon, without even noticing, you are beginning to keep record of the wrongs - and in time, you will be adding interest to those books! It is best to let 'real' wrongs go by working them out as soon as possible. It is an even more shameful thing to imagine wrong has been done when someone has been unintentional in their 'wrong-doing'! Remember this - intentional or not, the debt isn't really 'owed' to us - we just think we have a right to demand it. Just sayin!

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