Have you ever heard of the famous feud in the hills of Kentucky between the Hatfields and the McCoys? It went on for nearly a century, and resulted in the death of nine men. And what started it all? The theft of a pig. One of those famous families accused the other of stealing one of their pigs. Hard feelings resulted, acts of violence escalated, and nine men ultimately died because of one pig.
Look at the world today—full of war and terrorism and mutual accusations and recriminations. Our Lord doesn’t want us to live that way. We are to forgive injuries as we expect to be forgiven by God. We can’t do much on the national level, but we can certainly make a real effort to forgive on the individual, personal level. Nursing grudges and keeping up resentments are forms of vindictiveness and hostility. They eat away at our spiritual lives and make it more difficult for us to relate lovingly to God and to grow in holiness. A spiritual writer once suggested to his readers that they treat a resentment as they would a hot coal from the fireplace: if one accidentally picked one up, he would drop it immediately since it would burn his hand. Let us try to throw away our grudges and resentments the way we’d get rid of a hot coal, since they can do us harm, although of a spiritual, not a physical, nature.
And let us always meditate on the words which we say every day, having been taught by Our Lord: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive . . .
Thank you for seeking God’s truth, God Bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.