The hardest thing

It’s easier to get gum out of your hair than to let go of a grudge. Why? Because the typical human body contains about a hundred pounds of pride and only a few ounces of humility.

Kindness and forgiveness are often harder to find than missing socks on washday. When someone says something reimagesally hateful to you, how do you respond? Most people react like Mentos in a Diet Coke – they spew anger and hate. I want to behave more like an Alka-Seltzer; some fizzing that quickly subsides and then turns into soothing relief. Sadly, I’m usually more like Mentos.

Hollywood glorifies the grudge. Movies like “Gladiator” and “Unforgiven” won Oscars for their portrayals of vengeance. Viewers (like me) find themselves cheering for the Russell Crowe and Clint Eastwood as they exact violent revenge on their antagonists. We love to see people get even. Karmic justice is entertaining even for us Christians.

Why do we act this way? I think it’s because we all secretly want to be God. Not “a” god, but “THE” God. Remember what the serpent said to Eve? Eat the fruit, you’ll be like God! She totally fell for it. I probably would have, too.

The irony is that God wants us to put away pride and put on humility. Philippians 2 tells us that Jesus took the form of a servant and humbled himself to the point of death. We should emulate Jesus. Instead we act more like Kanye West, who has compared himself to Picasso, Michelangelo and, yes, God. If there were a Mount Rushmore of Ego, Kanye would be up there with Justin Bieber, Beyonce and The Donald.

I must admit that my ego is big and my skin is thin. When someone hurts or mocks me, or doesn’t allow me to have my way, I get punitive, even if only in my thoughts. Actual sin always begins as a thought. If we dwell on it a little it may trickle out of our mouths as an insult, gossip or sarcastic remark. It often ends up as hate which we keep stored in the closet of our heart, a closet that we rarely bother to clean out. Occasionally we pull out that hate so we can revel in the bitterness. One day they’ll get what’s comin’ to ‘em!

Yeah, we want revenge. Meanwhile the Holy Spirit urges us to forgive. How do we flip the switch from hate to love? Pray. Pray for the ability to forgive and pray for the person who caused your anger. “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” That’s Jesus’s advice. Be like Jesus. Don’t be like Kanye.