WHAT IS IT IN THE HUMAN HEART which loves to bear a grudge? I assume it must be some obsession otherwise those grudges would not be clung to so avidly. Have you ever tried to dislodge a grudge in someone? It’s an almost impossible task, outside of some kind of exorcism. The more you try to uproot that spike of bitterness from grudgers, the more they will cling to it. It’s as if they have a need to bear grudges, for grudges are a form of victimhood. People bear their grudges like badges saying, “poor me”, so the world will feel sorry for them, and they can wallow in their mire of dark unjoy. Grudges are a form of hate embedded in the fabric of the soul (its freeze). Grudges are the canker sores of those who take offence with ease. Their precious little egos, when they’re slighted, make a meal out of venom and aggrievance and, begrudging conflict resolution, they would rather hide behind antagonistic zealotry than simple fruitful fellowship. People with grudges think they are indulging in justifiable resentment. But they are merely showing their pettiness and inability to forgive — if indeed there is anything really needing forgiveness, for very often grudges are based on the egocentric neuroses of the grudger rather than on any terrible evil of the one who is begrudged (which has usually been blown out of all proportion). So often, one finds that the object of the grudge is only something slight which could be annulled with just a mutual smile and a shared cup of tea, if only grudgers realised what course could set them free.
I remember long ago, there was a time I bore a grudge. I must have been seven or eight years old. Some aggressive fellow attacked me physically with great violence because I had discovered he had told a major lie to puff himself up. He said he had found a seam of gold buried in his garden and promised me a share of the proceeds. I knew he was lying, so with my investigative hat on I secretly dug around at night and found that he had merely painted some ordinary stones with gold paint and secreted them in the earth behind his house. When I confronted him about it with a smile, he went absolutely berserk, like a madman and rained blows down upon me with his fists. After I escaped his lunacy, I then ensconced myself behind a wall down the road with my catapult awaiting him to pass by so I could catch him unawares. I kept this up for a couple of days, then I suddenly became aware of myself as a ridiculous figure and had no choice but to snigger at my sheer stupidity. In those moments of observed futility, my grudging had dissolved. Some months later, as I was coming home from school, I saw him hit by a dustbin lorry at speed as he was crossing the road. The ambulanceman who attended his unconscious body called out, “No broken bones!”, and I was relieved (though later it was revealed he had a fractured skull). I visited him in hospital with some sherbet licks. Imagine if I had still held that grudge when he was clobbered by the lorry. I might have thought, “Well, that serves him right”, or “He got his comeuppance”, or, as some would say, “Well, that’s karma for ya”. You see, grudges are nothing less than disguised hatred posing as justifiable homicide. Please meditate on that for some moments.
Who am I, apart from being the bemused object of needlessly offended people’s silly grudges over time? I am actually the exorcist of grudges! That is who I am. I gouge them out with my trusty sword of sniggers, then I cauterize the wound with fiery words. I brook no place for grudges in my heart, for they only eat away my sense of joy in life. You can fuck me over any way you wish, and I will not begrudge it. I will simply get on with my life and live it to the full and those grudges will ricochet back to those who grudge. And if you have a grudge against me, then get down off your self-indulgent pedestal of victimhood and let us share a quaff. I wonder if the earth would faster spin if all the grudges in the mass of human hearts should be jettisoned into the bin. Life is way too short for all the pointless crap that grudges conjure up; for grudges are the contents of a bitter poisoned cup. As Augustine of Hippo said: “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die”. Grudges are the signs of love undone: When you dissolve your grudges, you will find that love has won!
[The image accompanying this text is El Ángel Caído (“The Fallen Angel”, 1868) by Alexandre Cabanel]
Text copyright © Alan Morrison, 2021
[The copyright on my works is only to protect them from any wanton plagiarism which could result in undesirable changes (as has actually happened!). Readers are free to reproduce my work, so long as it is in the same format and with the exact same content and its origin is acknowledged]