Give Up the Grudge
It’s between us and God.
Published: March 31, 2013
A reason to always be kind.
Mother Teresa said many beautiful many things during her lifetime and inspired millions of people, including me. Her words continue to echo in my heart and feed my soul each and every day. Please allow me, dear friends, to share with you one of Mother Teresa's poems that is especially dear to me—a poem that had a profound impact on me as a young woman and that continues to inspire me through each passing year.
"People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway."
If you are anything like me, I know these words have touched you in many different ways and on many levels. But what has really moved me to share this with you today is the power and truth of the last line! "In the final analysis (on the day of Judgment!), it will be between you and God, not between you and them."
This one line truly changed the way I live my life. For example, if I am ever tempted to show less love or kindness toward someone in a certain situation—maybe because of a hurt I have suffered—the words of that last line force me to remember that the only thing that matters is how God will view my actions. In the final analysis, God is our only judge! Our actions should be based on how they reflect God's will. What other people do to us or think about us is irrelevant—what we do and how we behave in this life is between us and God.
We have all felt the bitter sting of disappointment, betrayal or hurt feelings when we've depended on others to applaud or thank us for our actions. Who hasn't done a good turn for someone only to have our efforts be rewarded by scorn, our good intentions misunderstood, or our kindness completely overlooked? It is enough to make us not want to do anything good again. We can feel so wounded and lost when this happens to us! But that is precisely what happens again and again when we rely on solely on man's judgment—people are imperfect and make mistakes when they judge us, but God never makes a mistake in judging us.
So it is much wiser for me to make sure all my actions and everything I do in my life is done in an effort not to please myself or someone else, but to please God. In the end, He's the only one I must answer to.
So, allow me to take this opportunity to encourage you all to take time to reflect on what motivates your actions. If it is not love, then resist it at all cost. Give up the grudge, forgive, don't hold onto anger towards others, and resist any action you want to take that wouldn't make you proud when you stand in front of God when this life is over. Make God proud of you in all your deeds and actions, no matter who did what to you here on Earth!
In the end, we are judged by our actions, not by who provoked us.
Immaculée Ilibagiza was born in Rwanda and studied electronic and mechanical engineering at the National University. Immaculée holds honorary doctoral degrees from The University of Notre Dame and Saint John’s University, and was awarded The Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Reconciliation and Peace 2007.