We all want to be forgiven, but do we want to forgive?
Every day as we go about our daily lives, we interact with other people. Sometimes we irritate others, sometimes other people irritate us.
When somebody irritates us, it is very easy to bear a grudge for some time after the event. In my experience, when I bear a grudge against somebody, it is always me who loses.
Mostly when I have born grudges I have spent my time thinking how I was right and the other person was wrong.
There are no positive impacts of bearing a grudge, so why do we do it?
The only real alternative to bearing a grudge is forgiveness. In order to stop the grudge thoughts going round and round my head, I have found I have to forgive the other person.
This means I no longer have to spend all the effort keeping the grudge going, because this is quite an effort and I am then free to spend my time thinking about more positive and interesting things.
For me, part of forgiveness is changing the way I look at events.
It is easy to assign blame for things that have happened to us and to think that somebody wanted to do us harm. I do not think this is often the case.
Very rarely does it happen that somebody wants to cause me a problem, it is much more likely to be an unintended consequence of an unrelated action.
Forgiveness helps us in so many ways, freeing up our thoughts, changing the expression on our faces and allowing us to appreciate the people we love.
Also, if we are seen to forgive others, it may make it more likely that other people forgive us.
There is no downside to forgiving, so next time you find yourself holding a grudge, try forgiving the other party immediately, it will improve your life.
Geoff Peck is a member of Woosehill Church, writing on behalf of Churches Together Wokingham