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The Bridge Podcast - 60- Godly Moments
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A new Bridge Podcast is up! Could your Monday use a little extra worship and encouragement? We have awesome original worship songs from Jed Brewer and Alexander Webb, a sermon from The Bridge’s Matt King, and a scripture memorization track about casting your cares on God. 

Stream it above or download it Free on iTunes or our Website

Getting Past A Grudge

catareena asked:
How do you let go of a grudge? Especially when it’s because of a betrayal? And Is it wrong if I’m picky with the persons I want to be close with?

Jed Brewer replied:

Sis, these are fantastic questions.

Part of the reason these questions are good ones is that there’s an admission inherent in them.  In other words, by asking the first two questions, you’re saying, “Somebody betrayed me, which wasn’t cool, and now I’m holding a grudge.”

The reason this is important is that, often times, people aren’t willing to admit either of those things.  They make excuses for the people who have hurt them - “oh, they didn’t *mean* to act that way!”.  And they pretend they’re not mad when, inside, they’re ready to explode.

So, given that you’re clear that this other person *did* in fact hurt you, and that you *are* in fact holding a grudge, the answer is pretty straight forward.  The answer, as I bet you already know, is to forgive them.  That’s how you let go of a grudge.  You forgive it.

But, what does that look like?  How does that actually - practically - work?  Now we’re asking *fantastic* questions.

Forgiveness has three distinct stages, and they have to work in this order.

1) We give up our claim against this person.

So, pretend somebody borrowed a hundred dollars from you, and never paid you back.  In a very literal sense, they owe you.  Forgiveness, in this case, would start with deciding that, as a decision you are making, they no longer owe you the money.  You are choosing to erase their debt - to forgive it. That doesn’t mean you’ll loan them any *more* money, but it does mean this $100 is over and done with.

Now, when it’s something a bit more abstract, like a betrayal (instead of unreturned money), it’s easy to get confused about the dynamics of the situation.  But, actually, they still work the same way.  When somebody hurts you, when they betray you, they owe you, but in a emotional sense, rather than a financial sense.  They owe you for all the hurt they caused, all the tears they provoked, all the difficulties they brought forth.

So, again, to forgive starts with deciding that they no longer owe you.  You’re no longer holding this debt against them - you’re erasing it.  You’re forgiving it.

(Note: this is super hard.  It takes God’s strength to do it.  And you’ll probably need to do it 20 times before you really feel like it’s gone.  That’s normal.  ‘Cause it’s really hard to do.)

2) We stand ready, when appropriate, for a reconciled relationship.

You may note that step 1 didn’t involve the other person at all.  They don’t have to be sorry for us to forgive them.  They don’t even have to be *alive*.  Step 1 is about us letting go of the debt for our own sake.  We’re the beneficiaries of that decision, and they don’t get a say in it.  (There’s an old saying: “Resentment is me drinking poison and hoping you die.”  It’s true, and step 1 is where we decide to not drink poison anymore.)

So, with step 2, when it’s appropriate, we stand ready to have a new relationship with this person, should they seek our forgiveness.

Let’s break down each of those details, because they’re really important.  

First, “when it’s appropriate.”  There are, unfortunately, relationships that have been broken in a way where attempting to rebuild them would cause further damage and do no good.  Situations that involve abuse, assault, and neglect often fall into these categories.  It’d be a great idea to talk with a pastor or counselor about the details of your situation to see if it would make sense to be open to a further relationship with the person who hurt you.

Next, “we stand ready.” Because you did the work in step 1, you’re no longer holding a grudge.  There’s no longer a sense that they owe you.  So you are open to something new, if they seek it out.

Third, “should they seek our forgiveness.”  In human relationships, the person who has hurt you needs to ask for your forgiveness before the relationship can begin to be rebuilt.  The reason for this is simple: if they aren’t sorry, they’re going to do the same thing again.  And it isn’t healthy to put yourself back into a situation that’s going to hurt you once more.

Whew, that’s a lot.  You still with me?  Good, cause here’s the last step.

3) We give out the trust that this person earns.

Provided that we’ve let go of our grudge, provided that they have sought out our forgiveness, and that it’s appropriate to rebuild the relationship, the last step is trust.

We need to be very clear here: while love is a gift, trust is earned.

In healthy relationships, we expect people to earn our trust by behaving in a responsible, consistent, trustworthy fashion.  When we see them do that, we assign them a proportional amount of trust.  In other words, when someone demonstrates that they will show up when they say they will, we trust them to keep engagements on the calendar.  But we don’t give them the PIN to our bank account.  Those are two separate things.

If you’re rebuilding a relationship with someone, and they’re behaving in a trustworthy fashion, then give them the trust that they’re due.  If they’re not behaving in a trustworthy fashion, then don’t trust them.  

It isn’t unloving or unchristian to withhold trust from untrustworthy people.  Nope.  Instead, it’s smart, responsible, and exactly what Jesus did. (John 2:24)

And that points to your last question - about being picky about your close friends.  Understand, a smart person is *extremely* picky about their close friends.  It’s an old adage, and a paraphrase of a Bible verse, but it’s true: “You become like the people you’re around.”  A smart person chooses wisely on who they want to become.

Last thing: we did a whole issue of BridgeBox on this exact subject.  Because you’re awesome, I’m gonna PM you the link.  For everyone else, they can get in depth info on tough topics like forgiveness by signing up for BridgeBox - just click the image below.

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The Bridge Loud - 26- Making Changes (Part 2)
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A New Episode of The Bridge Loud is up!

Original, heavy worship music and an audio devotional from Unka Glen all in one free, 20 minute worship service in your ear buds.

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(To get brand new worship songs every month, sign up for BridgeBox. You get to support inner-city missions as well as getting a ton of cool stuff for your walk, all for less than a Netflix subscription. Check out BridgeBox RIGHT HERE)


Say That buttons are here! Let everyone know your superfan status, or your non-time-traveling-cyborg status.

Exclusively available when you sign up for BridgeBox. Only $8 gets you the buttons and a ton of exclusive songs, sermons, writings, and videos to help grow your walk with the Lord, AND that money goes directly to funding ministry on the streets of Chicago.