"Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained." Its not the doubting Thomas that caught my ears/heart/soul this Sunday, no it was forgive/retain!
When I heard the words: "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained", suddenly what came into mind was grudge. We are all given the Holy Spirit at our Baptism and Confirmation so it seems reasonable to me that whatever we forgive or retained God is going to remember: makes me think twice about holding grudges.
So why do we hold grudges? What good does it do to hold onto whatever it was that happened? Grudges are ineffective ways people have of trying to protect themselves from further hurt. Keeping the grudge is like having power over the person who hurt us. But often the grudge backfires, the person that hurt us does not remember the event, or care; it is only us that keep the fire alive. It is our pain that we are revisiting, and to heal that pain to stop the grudge we must look at how we are wounded, what happened to us, how did it affect us, what are we to learn from the experience and what is it that we must loose and give back to God.
As we have examined before in Forgiving a Personal Experience and For-give an Act of Justice true forgiveness comes only after healing on our part. Forgiveness must be freely given and it can not be if our hearts are still burdened by the pain our grudge. Forgiveness is an act of Divine Mercy, which comes only when we have Divine Trust in a God that loves us and wants ONLY what is best for us. Grudges keep us in a negative cycle. We want the person we are holding in a grudge to do what we want them to do, it has nothing to do with trust or mercy, its all about power, power we do not have over people, that power only God has.
For us to truly be free and therefore free to trust again in the goodness of others, we must first heal our trust issues with God and ourselves. Yes we can and do have trust issues with our selves, these come from wounds inflicted on us by those we did trust and love. When those wounds are healed we no longer seek power over others, only power over our own selves, the power to heal, grow, trust and love.