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Two men were arrested, convicted and put in prison. For their crimes, each man was sentenced to 6 years. Upon the completion of their punishments, both men were released and went their separate ways.
As fate would have it, about 5 years later, those two men were walking down the same street and as they passed, they recognized each other.
The one man excitedly exclaimed, “Hey, it’s been awhile. How are you doing?”
The other fellow replied, “Not so good.”
“Why?” the first man questioned. “What’s wrong?”
“Well, I’m still angry at the people who put me in prison,” answered the other.
Slightly taken aback, the first man asked, “Wait, you did commit a crime, you know. And you mean you can’t forgive them for putting you in prison for what you did?”
“It doesn’t matter who did what,” he shot back. “I’ll never forgive them.”
“Well then… I guess you’re still in prison. Good luck to you,” said the first man, as he turned away and continued his journey up the street.
Yep, that one fellow was still in prison – a mental prison. He was locked inside a jail cell with the word “Unforgiving” hanging over the door.
Many people are like that. It doesn’t matter what happened or who did what to whom or why. People will hold a grudge and never forgive.
And it’s true, sometimes people say really bad things or do bad things. Sometimes, they don’t say or do what we expect them to say or do. In either case, we get angry, hold grudges, plot revenge and so on.
But who does that anger, those grudges, or evil thoughts really hurt?
I know some people who’ve held grudges for 10, 15 or 20 years and usually, the other person has no idea that someone is angry with them. I know some people who are still holding a grudge against people who are dead. And I’m pretty sure (as far as I know) that those who have departed this earthly plane have no idea that someone is still angry at them.
The only person who is really hurt when we don’t attempt to forgive others for what they may or may not have done is ourselves. That bitterness… that resentment grows like a cancer inside of us and makes us say and do things that sometimes, later on, we feel guilty for saying or doing. In short, we only end up hurting ourselves.
Those grudges act like bags of heavy weight that we just end up carrying around. And the longer we keep carrying those bags, the heavier they get.
It reminds me of an old story that, lately, has been making the rounds on social media. It’s about this teacher who picked up a glass of water and said to her class, “Let me ask you all a question. How heavy is this glass?”
The students started to discuss the question among themselves. The teacher heard the students utter: “Well, the glass probably weighs an ounce and the water’s probably 5 or 6 ounces.” Soon, one student shouted, “5 ounces!” Another exclaimed, “6 ounces,” and another said, “9 ounces!”
The teacher waited until the class stopped guessing and calmly noted, “No. You misunderstood me. I didn’t ask you how much the glass weighed. I asked you how heavy is the glass?”
The class grew silent. The teacher continued, “Right now, the glass isn’t that heavy. But in a few minutes, it will start to get heavy. And then my fingers will hurt …and pretty soon my elbow will hurt. Then my arm will start to hurt and, in a bit, my back will hurt. The longer I hold this glass, the heavier it will get, and, eventually, the more pain I will create for myself.”
Think of your grudges or resentment or your anger as that glass of water. The longer you hold on, the heavier they become… and the more pain you create for yourself.
As I mentioned earlier, sometimes people say or do bad things or don’t say or do as we would expect … and that makes us angry. But how long do you want to carry that glass of anger? How long do you want to carry those bags of bitterness? How long do you want to stay in your self-imposed prison?
So, maybe this week, we can be mindful and take a look at some of our grudges and see if there’s any way we can – like that glass of water and those heavy bags – put them down … just let them go.
And, should you choose to do so, not only will you lighten your mental load, but you will also step out of that prison… and into freedom.
Known as a guy who took a dream and turned it into reality, Bob Garner is a successful business person, author and funny motivational speaker who speaks for Fortune 1000 corporations on personal and professional development. BTW – Bob uses magic and comedy in his programs to reinforce specific points. Follow him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BobGarnerSpeaker
©2016Bob Garner. All Rights Reserved. You may use this article, but you must use the byline and author resource. Contact Bob Garner at http://www.bobgarneronline.com . Be Happy. Be Healthy. Be Kind® is a registered trademark and service mark of Bob Garner 2016.