I used to hold grudges. I have always felt I was robbed of glory. I was denied honor. Yet on the outside I was a perfect student, an obedient daughter and a goody-two shoes altogether.
When I was younger, I was pretty mediocre. I was well contented with where I was and would not dare reach for anything higher. Although my achievements never deserved mention I was well pleased with where I was “middle of the pack.”
Not until the latter years in elementary school that I got motivated. I received high grades in class. Despite my best efforts, during graduation I was never acknowledged. Instead, awards were bestowed to the favorites, to the more affluent graduates and not to the deserving ones.
After the closing ceremonies, I cried and promised myself I would get back at them one way or another. I would study hard elsewhere and proved them wrong.
Hatred took room in my heart and the mere mention of my alma mater would rekindle old wounds and channel my conceited nature.
This feeling, however, was not limited to my previous school but to anybody who I believed wronged me—a friend who broke a promise, a parent who took the side of a sibling, a boss who disregarded my work. Deep inside I had a bank account where I would deposit all the shortcomings of these people. I would then plan a payment scheme. I became bitter and was easily irritated. I harbor negative feelings and rarely able to trust.
During these times my religiosity further blossomed. I would practice the common rituals with more regularity than your average parishioner. So, I considered myself a good person but well in fact I was becoming rotten inside and gearing towards self-destruction.
Then my parents invited me to Sunday worship at Christ Commission Fellowship (a Christian Church), I was committed to my religion then but was also open to the opportunities to learn more about God. So, I would go to both churches one after another.
Unlike others who had a dramatic turnaround, mine was a steady one. First, God gave me the hunger to have fellowship with Him as well as fellow believers. Then, He opened my eyes to my sin problem even those that I have kept sealed inside me which is unknown to many. He made me realize that I have been motivated by the wrong reasons. As He drew me closer to Him, He started to withdraw the thorns I’ve inflicted to myself from my unforgiving heart. He took away my burden and allowed me to see goodness in people.
Moreover, He caused me to look at my shortcomings and understand that I’ve fallen as well. Romans 3: 23 clearly states,
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
I was able to confess my sins and claim that He granted me pardon through His Son Jesus Christ. He showed that without Him I could never be contented. I can get overwhelmed with activities, strive towards personal growth, be in the company of friends and still be miserable or incomplete.
More importantly He gave me the gift of salvation. As undeserving as I was, Jesus Christ died for me so that I may have eternal life. Acts 4:12 declares,
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
He made known to me that my being good won’t earn me life after death. According to Ephesians 2:8-9,
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourself, it is a gift of God not by works, so no one can boast.”
He assured me a place in His home, Jesus Christ became my confidante, my sole redeemer and my provider.
Today, I have never ceased to acknowledge that the honor and praise should only be given to God for all the blessings He poured in my life. I continue to live with people who could hurt me and fail me, but I no longer have an avenging heart and the bank account I mentioned before has long been out of business.
God tells me in Ephesians 4:31-32 to,
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, just as Christ God forgave you.”
Jesus leads a good example by forgiving those who wronged Him, and He expects His followers to do the same.
I still have a long way, but I pray that He will make true the promise He said in Romans 8:28,
“We know that all things work for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”