Expert Grudge Holders by Christine Hitch
Christians are experts at talking about forgiveness. But actually doing it? That’s a different story. Forgiveness can sometimes be easy, but most of the time it’s just really hard. I would like to think of myself as a pretty forgiving person, but when I think of how Jesus forgives, I realize that I’m not always doing it right.
We as humans are expert grudge holders. We may act like we have forgiven someone, but can still conjure up hurt feelings from memories long ago - like how I can still get upset about the girl in second grade who told me I was fat!
We even label people by their sins, like the liar, the cheater, the backstabber, the thief. Could you imagine if Jesus labeled us all by our sins and held a grudge?
Thankfully, he does not…
Psalm 130:11-12 - For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Our sins are erased from His memory.
When we actually stop and think about how amazing His grace is, how wonderful His love, how deep His forgiveness, it might be easier for us to do the same. Holding a grudge not only hurts the other person, but also ourselves. There are some things that I not only need to forgive, but also let go of, even if they didn’t ask for forgiveness. I need to free myself from the burden of holding on to a sin.
Ephesians 4:31-32 - Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
And just as importantly as we need to let go of other’s sins, we also need to let go of our own sins. I so often ask for forgiveness but can’t shake the guilt of what I’ve done.
I beat myself up about it.
Thankfully, His grace covers any and every sin, big or small. When you ask for His forgiveness, He ACTUALLY forgives us. It is gone and we can start over. As humans, that is such a difficult and radical concept for us to understand!
So friends, let’s be reminded to live each day as though we are forgiven, and that we are called to do the same for others.
Q&A with Christine Hitch
How did you become involved in 818 Ministries?
I’ve been a long-time friend of Rebecca Dotson, the Founder of 818 Ministries. We got back in touch last year when I joined her church and she became my small group leader. After becoming invested and excited about her ministry, she asked me if I would like to write for her blog. Of course I said yes!
Do you have a life verse(s)?
Proverbs 31:25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
Phillipians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
1 Thessalonians 5:14-16 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
What are 5 of your favorite things?
This is hard. Umm, my FAVORITE thing for sure is my puppy, Nelson. I’m a little bit of an obsessive dog mom, but how could you not be, he’s so cute! I don’t really have many favorite material things that stick out to me, but I love doing anything outdoors, going to concerts, and experiencing new places like a good hiking trail or new city or even a new coffee shop or restaurant! Lastly I just love hanging out with family and friends. I think I snuck a little more than five things in there….whoops.
What are 3 of your favorite books?
This is actually impossible for me to narrow down to 3 because my 6th favorite thing to do is read, but I’ll try to think of 3 gems for ya.
The Art of Racing in the Rain- It’s a book from the view of a dog about his owner who is a race car driver. Okay I’m really not as obsessed with dogs as it seems, promise.
Anything by Jennie Allen- She’s my girl. I love her books and devotions. She just rocks!
Ghost Boy- The true story of a man who was trapped inside his body for years, with everyone believing he was basically brain dead. It took a special person to believe in him and shows the miraculous steps he took to be able to communicate again.
What is your favorite hobby and how did you get into it?
Making clothes! My mom taught me how to sew when I was 5 or 6 and I never stopped. I like to find cool fabrics and designs and then wear the final product! Unfortunately I don’t have a sewing machine in my tiny apartment at school but whenever I’m on break I try to make something!
What is Mentorship? By Christine Hitch
A mentor is a trusted advisor. A mentor is someone you can look to, trust and share all aspects of your life with - both the good and the bad. One of my favorite mentor relationships in the Bible is the one between Paul and Timothy. Paul led Timothy to Christ, and throughout his life he called Timothy his “true son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2). Paul acted as his spiritual father and guided him through his leadership role, providing prayer and advice. I can think of several people in my lifetime who did the same for me. Much like Paul’s letters to Timothy, I remember texts of encouragement and prayers over cups of coffee from my own “Pauls”. These people were very much placed in my life for a purpose, helping to advance my faith and guide me through a stage in life or a leadership role in the church.
A mentor is a friend. We often think of mentors as being older and wiser than us, but they don’t necessarily have to be. The mentors that are currently in my life are peers that are going through or have just gone through similar experiences in their life and are able to share their perspective. Likewise, we are also called to be mentors and share our experiences with others, whether it be someone older, younger or the same age. Timothy 2:2 says, “The things which have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” Paul is calling Timothy to share the wealth! If someone is pouring into you, learn from their knowledge and wisdom and then share it with others.
A mentor doesn’t have to have a perfect past. Paul reminds Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:15-16, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.” I think some of the strongest mentor relationships are the ones where the person is open and honest. People can often learn the most when they learn from past struggles and sins and how they were overcome.
Mentors keep you on track. Paul reminds Timothy various times to “keep the faith” and “fight the good fight.” Paul says that 2 Timothy 1:3, “as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.” Being a Christian is not always an easy task, so it is important to have someone on your side for encouragement. A mentor should constantly hold you accountable, being there for support and reminding you to keep fighting the good fight!