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A Fist of Forgiveness

Published on October 26, 2012

A grudge is like holding your fist really tightly and never letting go…

I didn’t think I was holding anything against him; I just didn’t want anything to do with him. By him, I mean my grandfather. That guy who told all the stories, some with meaning and some just to make me laugh. I remember closing my eyes tasting the bitter taste of coffee at the age of four, I didn’t like it… Yet I drank all of it just because he told me it was good for my “Spanish blood”. That same guy I spent my Saturdays with eating takeout, while watching Maury, Steve Wilcox, and Jerry Springer, which always included his own personal commentaries. He always had me laughing… until things weren’t funny anymore. Stories weren’t told, visits stopped, and laughter was no more. His wife had tried to break up my family by attacking the youngest. When it came to the light, he took his wife’s side. He looked at my little sister as the villain, when she was the victim. That’s all it took. He suddenly became nonexistent to me. My own grandfather was no longer in my life.

My nails were digging into my skin, but I still hold my fist firmly…never letting go…

How to hold a grudge? Deny it. I didn’t think I was holding anything against him; I just didn’t want anything to do with him. By him, I mean my grandfather… Three years had passed and my mom had started back communicating with her father, but I didn’t. She once asked me why I didn’t forgive him? I shrugged and simply said I wasn’t holding anything against him… yet I cringed at the mention of his name. I didn’t even want to pick up the phone when he called. Every time I listened to a sermon about hidden sin, I would get this warm feeling in the pit of my stomach. Hypocrite, the truth was… I hated him…

The digging caused cuts, bloody cuts… it hurts more when my hand is in a fist…

I use to think that we hold grudges to remind ourselves never to get into a situation like that again. But isn’t it just to hide your pain? I trusted him and all in one decision, he betrayed me. You might argue why didn’t I look at Christ? He was blameless, and they crucified him, yet he still forgave them. True, true, true, why didn’t I have the mind of Christ? Pain was my excuse, I wasn’t ready to let go. I knew what God wanted me to do, I just needed His help to do it…

God opened my fist, my nails full of skin and dry blood… what did I do?

I Forgive You by Thi’sl, blasting through my headphones on my bus ride home. There I was, just a typical ride home, jammin’ as always and… conviction. All of a sudden I saw right through my lie. I was holding it against him; I didn’t want anything to do with him. By him, I mean my grandfather… I saw Christ doing the same thing to me, denying me of grace because I didn’t do what he wanted. Countless of time I haven’t obeyed God’s word, not being willing to forgive, I was doing just that. Yet he never denied His grace… What have I done? Pain should’ve never been an excuse but it was for three years. How to forgive? Telling myself wasn’t enough, I was almost in tears on the bus (thank God for single seats by windows and hoods, lol).

I’m sorry… I don’t want to hurt anymore… heal me… My fist is open regardless of who knew… healing has begun…

What I’ve been avoiding, became a chance for healing…I didn’t even want to pick up the phone when he called. Here I was calling him and ready to admit what was really in my heart. Every time it rang, my heart thumped faster, I was nervous and honestly, holding on to the grudge seems better at this point. Uncomfortable is how forgiveness feels at first. He didn’t pick up but I felt as if forgiveness had just taken place. I did it, I called him… It was a start regardless of whether he answered.

No longer holding my fist, my hands still open… and healing.

Two months after the call, I was by his bedside watching him take his last breath. My mom held his hand. I saw her like a little child, her sorrow was so deep. She cried “Papa, don’t leave me”… I saw it all, his last gasp of life. That same guy who always told stories, drank coffee, spent Saturdays with, and brought laughter to the room. Lay lifeless. I missed him already. But as I sat in that hospital room, I remember that call. It led to a few visits, we started talking and laughing together again. And of course more stories and coffee. It all ended with a phone call, the last time I spoke to my grandfather was on my 20th birthday. He told me how much he loved me. His last words to me were “I love you.” Imagine if I didn’t pick up this time… better yet, if I didn’t let go.

jamesrosseau@thecorelinksolution.com

Author: jamesrosseau@thecorelinksolution.com

President/CEO of The Corelink Solution and Holy Culture

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