Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross, understood the importance of choosing a right attitude even in bad situations. She was known to be someone that avoided grudges. One time a friend reminded her of a cruel thing that had happened to her previously, but Clara seemed not to remember the incident. “Don’t you remember the wrong that was done to you?, the friend asked. Clara answered calmly. “No, I distinctly remember forgetting that.”
Oftentimes, when people suffer bad situations in their lives, they become bitter and angry. Over time, their lives will become negative and hardened toward others. The tendency for them is to point back to a difficult time and say, “that incident ruined my life.” However, their choice to respond the way they did, not the situation, is what ruins their lives.
Do you have something in your life that you are holding on to? Maybe something that you are having a hard time moving on from? I have had friends let me down. I have had a business partner cheat me out of thousands of dollars. I have had bosses put themselves and their own agendas above that of the greater good.
An old saying that I love because it paints such a great visual is that “Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. It is like grasping a hot coal in your hand with the intent of throwing it at someone else.”
As author and pastor Charles Swindoll said, “life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to what happens to you.” You can’t control if someone wrongs you, but you can certainly control how you react to this wrong.
How about us? The one thing that we can control in life is our actions and our attitude. If we hold grudges, what does that say about us? It is definitely not easy but our reaction to those that wrong us normally says more about us than it says about them.
Will we choose to be better or bitter?