Colossians 3:13 (NIV)
13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
A straight forward command, �Forgive as the Lord forgave you.� The apostle wants to impress on Christians, since they have been forgiven of their sins that they too should learn to forgive others who have sinned against them.
In June of 2012, Carl Ericsson, a 73-year-old South Dakota man, was sentenced to life in prison after admitting to the murder of a former high school classmate. Friends and family members were shocked that the once-successful insurance salesman seemed to snap. Ericsson had been married to his wife for over 44 years.
But after the murder, Ericsson's secret finally came out. For over 50 years he had simmered with a belated grudge: He was still mad about a classmate who had once pulled a jock strap over his head during a high school locker room prank. Norman Johnson, the classmate and murder victim, was a star athlete on the track team. Ericsson was a student sports manager. According to Ericsson's confession, on one occasion Johnson put a jock strap on Ericsson's head, humiliating him and planting the seed of resentment that would continue to grow for over half a century. Apparently, throughout their lives, Norman Johnson continued to outshine Ericsson. Prior to his murder, Johnson had competed in college football, earned a degree, and then taught and coached at his alma mater for more than three decades.
After holding the grudge for over 50 years, Carl Ericsson rang Johnson's doorbell and shot him dead. Ericsson told a judge, "I guess it was from something that happened over 50 years ago. It was apparently in my subconscious." During his sentencing, Ericsson turned to Johnson's widow and apologized, saying, "I just wish I could turn the calendar back."
[Matt Woodley, managing editor, PreachingToday.com; source: Cameron Smith, Bizarre S.D. murder caused by resentment over 50-year-old locker room jockstrap prank," Yahoo Sports Prep Rally blog (6-18-12]
We are to learn to forgive, not so much for the sake of others, but for ourselves. If only Carl Ericsson had forgiven his old classmate and put aside the grudge he held; most likely there would have been no murder.
I know too many people who keep a grudge believing they are tormenting someone else, when actually they are tormenting themselves. The other person may have forgotten all about the incident. The other person may not have even known what they did. So when you hold a grudge you may be the only one who knows the problem.
Father I pray for those holding onto anger and resentment. I pray they forgive the other person even if they haven�t heard the words I�m sorry. I pray they bring peace back to their own life so they can enjoy it without an old burden weighing them down. I pray this in Jesus name, Amen.