We live in a culture of revenge. A culture that teaches us to hold grudges, and not to move on. Here’s a great example from last week…

Last year Andy Reid was fired from the Philadelphia Eagles franchise. Last week, Andy Reid led his new team, the Kansas City Chiefs, into Philadelphia to take on the Eagles. Over and over again, sports commentators said things like, “Andy Reid would never admit it, but he would like nothing more than to push around his former team.” Another commentator said, “…stick it to his other team.” Like the news, sports networks were looking for a story — they were looking for drama that will make a regular season football game seem more important than it really is. And one thing TV has shown over the past few years, nothing sells like revenge.

I think I’m sensitive to this theme because I struggle with holding grudges. When people “do me wrong” or treat me unfairly I want to lash out at them. I want to belittle them. I want to make them seem stupid and silly because, for some reason, I think that will make me feel better. If I can make them seem immature, inexperienced, or silly — supposedly that makes their offense less offensive and allows me to elevate myself above them.

But it doesn’t work. Instead, I feel worse. Sometimes it feels good for a season — maybe Andy Reid felt really good about beating the Eagles — but in the end it falls short.

Recently, a mentor of mine told me “the act of forgiveness is more about you than the person you’re forgiving. It allows you to heal, and to let it go. Don’t hold grudges Daniel, or you will be miserable.” I think I understand what he’s getting at — holding grudges keeps us living in the past. And when we live in the past, we can’t embrace or get excited about the future. If Andy Reid spends all of his time thinking about the Philadelphia Eagles, he is going to miss out on the opportunity in front of him to lead the Chiefs to a winning season, the playoffs, and maybe a super bowl (or two). If he is focused on the past, he will never be able to coach the Chiefs well.

So don’t listen to our culture when they try to hype a simple game by stirring up revenge. Don’t allow the cancerous idea of holding grudges to permeate your heart and soul. Take that idea captive before it takes you captive.

Do you struggle with revenge? Why do you think it’s so hard to let stuff go? Comment below and continue the discussion… 

*photo borrowed from ESPN.COM

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