My eleven-year-old is holding a grudge. I know this because he told me so. Yesterday, while we were in the vehicle, he blurted it out.

“I have to confess something, Mom,” he said. “I’m holding a grudge.”

Then he told me who the grudge-recipient was, and I sighed. Because the truth of it is, the person he named is someone I struggle with, too. And in my son’s case, I know the why of it and I believe he was wronged. His heart was hurt in a way that is hard for an eleven-year-old to take. No water off a duck’s back, or shaking it off, or just letting it go this time.

We talked a bit about bitterness and how staying angry is really only hurting him. We talked about how he is always going to face these kinds of things in life and that this experience is good practice. And we talked about Jesus and forgiveness and how doing things Jesus’ way is always the best way.

“But it’s hard.”

Yep. It’s two rough boards nailed together in the shape of a cross hard. It’s blood and sweat and betrayal hard. It’s denying self and following hard.

I know about hard.

The truth is, my boy is still struggling with his hurt. He still feels a little grudge-y. But that’s okay.

Grace allows us the time to work these things through.