It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:5
When I was really little, my church did a kids musical called “Agapeopolis,” which was based on this passage of scripture. Each character represented an attribute of love, or of what love wasn’t. One of the characters was Judge Grudge, who, as you may have guessed, kept a list of everyone’s wrongdoings. The rest of the characters told the main character, a kid looking for love, about how love isn’t like that.
That’s how I’ve often seen this phrase interpreted. But I’d like to focus on forgiveness. Would you say that’s the opposite of holding a grudge?
I won’t dwell on what forgiveness is, or the fact that the hardest person to forgive is ourselves. I want to look at timing and conditions. When do we forgive? Under what conditions do we forgive?
Do we forgive when the person has learned their lesson? Do we forgive when karma’s bit them in the ass? Do we forgive only when the person has received his/her punishment, or if they seem remorseful, or when they’re in dire straits and need our help? Do we wait until they ask for forgiveness? Do we wait until God tells us to forgive? Do we ask others advice about when or under what conditions to forgive? Do we forgive when we feel better about the situation? Do we forgive only after the whole truth has been revealed?
You forgive immediately.
How can you say that?
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13
When you don’t forgive right away, you are implying that you can handle the situation better than God. Don’t take it into your hands, give it to God.
p.s. The “self-seeking” character in “Agapeopolis” was a girl named Mimi (get it?) who sang “Looking Out For Good Ol’ Number One.”