I remember a story about... a theology professor at a small Christian college who wanted to teach her students about forgiveness and how it can impact their lives. She had each of her students bring a clear plastic bag to class one day. As the students packed into the classroom the next day... they couldn't help but notice several large sacks of potatoes at the front of the room.
The students were told to choose a potato, write on it the name and date of the person they had refused to forgive in their life experiences and put it into their plastic bags. Some of the bags... as you can imagine became quite full and heavy.
The students were then told to carry this bag with them everywhere they went for one week... carrying it through the halls between classes... putting it beside them in the car when they were driving... setting it on the floor while they ate meals... etc.
The inconvenience and hassle of lugging the bag of potatoes around with the students... made it very clear of the weight.... that was carried spiritually by an unforgiving spirit. The care... that was required to pay attention to it all the time and not forget it... and the embarrassment... into the places they had to lug it. Many of the students did not realize the natural condition of the potatoes... as they deteriorate into a nasty slimy and smelly byproduct.
This is a great analogy for the price we pay for keeping our pain and burdensome unforgiving attitudes. So often we think of forgiveness as a gift to the other person... but it clearly is for ourselves... as much as anyone else!!
Consider this... as you carry this cumbersome weight each day... and as you bear the anger and pain... does the other person even remember or care about the circumstance between the two of you? Why would you want to put yourself through this kind of plight?
As this new year begins... I urge you to let go of any situation that is doing so much harm and damage to yourself! Bring it to Jesus... pour out your heart to Him and let His healing and peace come. Pray for the person or persons that you harbor negative feelings for... and as God would lead you... go to them in Christ's love and heal the breach between you. Remember, as we forgive others... God will also forgive us!