Friday, January 07, 2005

the grudge: part one

I just finished watching the movie The Grudge. It was definitely an interesting movie to say the least. There were some suspenseful and jumpy parts (just ask Jess and Lindsey!), but, for me, it wasn't as scary or as freaky as The Ring. I think most of this is due to the fact that a friend and I watched Ju-on, the Japanese movie that The Grudge is based on. The plot and much of the scarier scenes were known to the both of us--of course we still jumped a couple of times.

I'm not here to write about my movie-going experiences, though. What struck me about the movie was the slavery and bondage that everyone who went into the house experienced. Japanese lore, according to the movie, states that if a murder was a byproduct of rage, the emotion resides in the house where the murder happened touching everyone who enters. Once the characters encountered The Grudge, they lived in fear and eventually died. The evil rage and bitterness that caused the plot hunted them down and put them in chains.

Sometimes we are the same way. In Christ we are free. We are free from the penalty of sin, free from it's slavery, free from it's bondage, free from it's tyranny...yet we live as slaves sometimes. Sometimes we live in bondage to our own bitterness, anger and resentment. We let it fester inside of us like a physical wound and like a physical, festering wound it eventually eats us up inside. We place ourselves in bondage to it. We do not forgive a person for wronging us. We are bitter at life's circumstances. We are hurt, annoyed, angered or whatever...and we do not forgive. We hold a grudge and it eats us alive. It ensnares us and traps us within its prison.

I know when I get wronged I don't want to forgive. On the contrary, I want revenge. I cannot count the times I've thought about all the good one-line retaliations I could muster and throw at another person in order to hurt them back. Each time I speedily run to the prison gate, unlock it and take up residence there. (Cell 113 is my favorite by the way) Each time it's done, the only person who has been hurt by my "festering and plotting" is me. My focus is lost, my spirit is spent and my body aches for love and fellowship with my Father. Just like a prisoner longing for freedom, I find myself, at those times, longing for the emotional, spiritual and physical freedom and health I once knew outside of these prison walls.
In reality, though, the cells are not locked, the shackles and stocks aren't attached to our legs, and the gate is wide open for us to walk through. The penalty has been paid and freedom is waiting on the other side.

The walking out of the prison of "the grudge" is accomplished only through us actively forgiving others when they have wronged us. This is not easy, though. It's hard to forgive--we don't want to do it for some reason. We want to hold onto it; to store it up for some masterminded scheme of revenge. Often times it becomes a driving force in what we do and in the relationship with that person(s). We need to just let it go.

Let's face sucks sometimes. People fail us, they hurt us and they leave us. Things don't always go as planned and often times don't go our way. There is nothing we can do about other people. It's one of the pitfalls of doing life with other people who live in a sinful world. But, I can testify that the junk that happens in life and in relationships makes the good times...the great, loving, perfect times all the more sweet. Somehow the pain, sorrow and discomfort make the love, peace and pleasure all the more perfect and enjoyable. We need to wrestle these angels down and allow God to work through the suffering.

We must let those feelings of resentment and [un]forgiveness go and allow God's grace, peace, love and healing flood into our souls and restore us to the freedom we have been given in Christ. Friends if the Son has set us free, then "we are free indeed". We ought not to place ourselves in the bondage of these things. We will be hurt--
c'est la vie. We cannot control life, people or circumstances. What we can control is how we respond. Will we hold a grudge and cling onto our bitterness, rage, anger, hurt and resentment for dear life or will we let go of these things and cling to our God for true life? The choice is ours.

until Christ is formed in us...


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