Friday, November 4, 2011


{This post had three titles. It was originally "Grudges," then changed to "Broken Promises" before staying on "Forgiveness."}

I always thought I was really good about not holding grudges. I forgive, even if I don't forget.

Then I got to thinking about it the other day, and I wonder why the hell I ever thought that. I do hold grudges. I'm terrible about it. What have I been thinking my whole life?

It came to my attention when talking to Sam. I told him about something he'd said about a year ago, and how much it hurt me and pissed me off. We talked about it and it was okay; I felt a ton better. It had been bothering me for, like, ten months. He said that whole concept was completely foreign to him. I didn't understand. What concept? Grudges, he said.

"It's not a grudge," I said. "It's just something that's been bothering me, but I didn't wanna bring it up because I didn't wanna seem petty."

He told me that was kind of the definition of a grudge.

While I'm not sure I agree with that, it's definitely at least a LITTLE true.

Then today I got to thinking about another friend, and how it's totally obvious he is never going to follow through with something he promised to do. And that bothers me a LOT. Honestly, the promise he made doesn't matter as much to me anymore, and it probably wouldn't really work out if he kept it. But for some reason, it still makes me really angry that he's going to break it.

I recently read my Fire Fairy stories, and it reminded me of how another girl friend acted years ago. And I got mad about it again. I'd probably bring it up to her if we talked.

Armed with all these and several other instances of grudgery, I began to do my favorite thing: analyze. Are there specific things that bother me more than others? What about them bothers me? Are there patterns to my grudges?

One factor was immediately apparent: broken promises. Broken promises hurt me and make me angrier than almost any other personal offense. If you insult me, I might be mad, but I'll get over it. However if you swear on your guinea pig's grave that you'll always be there for me and then aren't, I will likely never view you the same way again. Ever.

It almost doesn't matter what the promise is. Promises to read a book, promises to visit me, promises to call me, promises to love me, promises to research for a debate, promises to ask your parents something...

Now, not all of those are grudge-worthy, but more of them are than is probably healthy.

Why do broken promises bother me so much? For one thing, they always make me feel like a fool. Like a fool for trusting you in the first place, like a fool for wanting it to be true. They inhibit my ability to trust you in the future, which is inconvenient at best, and relationship-hindering at worst.

As Christians, we're called to forgive. I've always struggled over what that actually means/entails. I'm pretty sure forgetting isn't required, so what is real forgiveness? I think it means that you no longer feel that the person owes you, and you have given up the desire to judge them.

So have I done that with all those people? No, not all of them. I'm not even sure how to go about it. Even if I told them that I'm upset, I don't think we'd get anywhere. They would make useless excuses and pathetic apologies and I would end up staying angry.

But in the end, I guess forgiveness isn't about the other person at all. Forgiveness takes place in your own heart, in your own mind. Only you can forgive someone, and only you can know if you really have.

Which kind of sucks, because that means at this point the only person I can blame is myself XD I hate it when I write myself into a corner like this...

Do you hold grudges? What is especially difficult for you to forgive?



  1. This is interesting. From a Christian point of view, think about how many times God has forgiven us, you and me. What does his forgiveness mean? Once he forgives, will he ever bring it up to us again? No. Does that mean he forgot? Likely not, but it's as if he did.

    I think forgetting about how we've been wronged is nearly impossible but trying to forgot or at least completely putting it aside and never bringing it up again is like forgetting. I know, MUCH easier said than done.

    I would agree that for me "broken promises" as a nice umbrella term for people being unreliable is what gets me the most too. And yet I'm not perfect at keeping my word either so I should point the finger at myself too.

    It fits one of the Proverbs: "Expectation postponed is making the heart sick."

  2. You know, you promised you'd watch the Machinist when I read Clockwork Angel. AND you promised you'd watch it THIS WEEK.

  3. I certainly agree with you regarding broken promises, it is terribly disappointing when someone we trust makes some sort of a commitment and then goes against it. And realistically, I think we all hold grudges to a certain degree, but the key is not holding on to it forever. I think we all take our required amount of time feeling upset about an occurrence and when the time is right, eventually find our way to forgiveness. It's a process, more than an instantaneous reaction easily achieved because of an expectation. think. Great post topic, btw. x