Don’t fuel the fire of anger and resentment
They realized that the anger they felt was only damning their own progress. Regardless how heinous the offense, they had to let it go in order to live a progressive and productive life..Those who continue to hold a grudge are fueling a fire that only consumes themselves. The fires of anger, hate, disgust, resentment and revenge backfire and slowly destroy them spiritually, emotionally, mentally and maybe even physically.I am guessing that most of us have seen this consumption in a family member or a friend, or even in ourselves. It is an ugly sight. I have seen it, and my heart breaks to watch someone consumed by their own fire. The offense of the other is not what consumes them; it is their own fire of hatred and anger. In order to keep the fire going, they need to keep adding firewood or kindling, which means they need to continue to talk about it, try to get others to agree with them, watch continuously for proof or evidence to justify their feelings.It becomes all-consuming as they keep that fire going.To let the fire go out may leave them feeling vulnerable, or humbled, or with worries that the person had not paid the price for the offense. All the while, the fire is only burning them.Living the unexpected life, we meet all kinds of circumstances, which often include all kinds of anger and hurt. I have met those who are melting in the fire of anger towards their ex-spouse. I have seen those who are burned because they have spent their life mad at God for their misfortunes. I know of those who are charred and angry at their parents for not enough of this or too much of that. Many are roasting because they are mad at their children or their employer for one reason or another. The reasons they are upset are as varied as each individual.However, one thing they all share in common is that in each case their spiritual progress has been hindered, or delayed. In each case, they continue to fuel a fire that is consuming themselves. Elder James E. Faust put it another way when he said, “Forgiveness is freeing up and putting to better use the energy once consumed by holding grudges, harboring resentments and nursing unhealed wounds. It is rediscovering the strengths we always had and relocating our limitless capacity to understand and accept other people and ourselves”.It is very tempting to keep the fire burning until we realize who is getting burned. We all need to stop fueling the fire. The only answer, regardless of our faith or our circumstances, is to forgive.As Elder Faust said, we need to free up that energy we are using to hold grudges, harbor resentments and nurse wounds — or, in other words, our fueling of the fire — and rediscover our strengths and capacity to understand and accept others. Next week I would like to continue this thought and how it affects our children when we keep the fire burning. In the meantime, get the fuel out of the house. Do what is necessary to put out the fire.After all, it is only consuming you.