Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Early lesson in forgiveness and holding a grudge

When I was a freshman in college, I would often go to the library and study after class. One day, after I had finished studying, I decided to go the computer lab to work on a program. As I was walking toward the lab, I noticed a couple cuddling. I didn’t pay this much attention, until I came closer. 

To my surprise, the girl cuddling with this unknown guy was my friend “Charlie’s” girlfriend! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was just yesterday that Charlie had told me how much he cared about “Deborah,” who I saw, was now “creeping” with another guy.

Wearing my feelings on my sleeve, I was tempted to tell Deborah about herself. After all, she was supposed to be Charlie’s girlfriend, but there she was parading down the hall under someone else’s arm. 

When I told Charlie what I saw, he got defensive and said that I was lying. To my surprise, he asked Deborah about it. And of course she denied it and he believed her. I couldn’t believe that Charlie took Deborah’s side over mine.  We were supposed to be boys.  We hung out together. We played basketball together and I even gave him a ride to school every morning! I learned on that afternoon that there some things that go well beyond the boundaries of being boys. It took me a long time to forgive Charlie and Deborah for what happened.  And it took me even longer to forgive myself for holding such a grudge against them. 

When we learn to forgive ourselves, we let go of the part of us that wants to hold on to blame, shame, guilt and fear. Forgiving others shows that you have the ability to open up and let love flow through you.  It shows that you no longer bear grudges and carry hatred in your heart for being wronged.

After my experience with Charlie and Deborah I had to learn how to apologize to myself and let it go. It wasn’t easy as I would often find myself beating up on myself about something that I did or didn’t do. Finding the courage to open up to be honest with God about my struggles with forgiveness was the first step of learning to forgive myself. God forgives us when we miss the mark, and wants us to forgive ourselves as we forgive others.

Rev. Dr. Quincy Brown is Vice President for Spiritual Life and Church Relations at LaGrange College. Contact him at

God Is Still in Control!

Miss Lladale Carey
Web Content Producer

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