A Bible class teacher once asked her students to bring a clear trash bag and a sack of potatoes next week. At that class, she had each student take out a potato and write down some of the following on each potato: 1) A past situation where they were wronged but that still upsets them. 2) A current situation where they have been wronged and are upset about it. 3) A person they may still be upset with or holding a grudge against.
Each student’s bag was unique. Some of the bags were lighter or heavier than others. The teacher then instructed the students to carry this bag around with them everywhere for the next week. It was to be with them at all times and they could only set it down when they had to (sleep, meals, etc).
After the week was up, the students brought their potatoes back to class. As you might imagine, the potatoes now looked ugly and beaten. The potatoes had deteriorated into a nasty sight from being dropped, hit, baked in the sun, and a variety of other damaging influences. Hauling around these nasty potatoes was a burden to each kid in the class. Then the teacher explained the point of this exercise.
When we refuse to forgive, it’s a burden to carry that grudge around. We think about those situations. We think about those people. We let the burden grow and fester. The longer we carry it, the nastier it becomes. How silly it is to hold on to these grudges and to refrain from forgiving people when we could simply let go of these burdens.
Colossians 3:12-14 says, “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.”
God has forgiven us and we should forgive others as well (Matthew 6:14-15). Can you think of someone who needs your forgiveness? Is there a situation you’re still holding on to? Why are we still holding on to these things? Let go of this burden.