Why the Rolodex in My Brain Hurts Me So Much


Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget. Proverbs 19:11 MSG

I guess I’m not a smart person. All too often, I claim to have forgiven, but I hang on to those memories of how someone wronged me. There’s a little Rolodex in my brain where I keep a list of offenses against me.

Like the time my mother-in-law ‘trimmed’ our daughter’s hair (resulting in an awful bowl-cut). Or the times the principal I worked for would ‘discipline’ the unruly students by giving them a candy bar or soda when they got sent to his office. Or when a co-worker used the f-word in anger during a conversation with me.

I remember all too well how irritated my sister-in-law made me when she wouldn’t let me talk to my husband because he was eating supper all those time I called to chat whilst he was recovering at their house, or that she opened his mail.

The list of people I really don’t want to spend any time around isn’t that long, but their offenses take up more than one card. Each card serves as ammunition to put that person down—sometimes just in my head, sometimes in conversation with other people, and sometimes as fuel to prove to other people how I’ve been wronged.

Therein lies the problem. My unwillingness to toss the card and forget the offense keeps it alive and well and tempting to my tongue so that in moments of stress or anger things slip out that should remain unsaid.

Clinging to the cards of offenses ties them to my tongue and allows me to treat others with… Click To Tweet

I finally get it. The more I cling to and examine my unkind feelings over times I’ve been wronged, the more likely my tongue will blurt out hurtful things. My attitude towards a person will sour and fester and feed off my Rolodex cards and spill out in simple things like my tone of voice and the way I roll my eyes when my mother-in-law speaks.

I didn’t start out tonight wanting to confess that I’ve acted like a jerk (a mostly polite, but very distant jerk) towards my mother-in-law for 27 years, but writing often helps me clarify my thoughts and the Holy Spirit constrains me (compels me) to acknowledge my sins.

It’s time to light a fire with my Rolodex and just forget. Maybe I need to replace it with a list of ways people bless me (yes, even my mother-in-law—she raised a wonderful son, and I appreciate him every day).

Pray for me, would you?

What about you? Do you struggle to forget and end up sinning because of it?

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a ‘recovering cancer caregiver’ who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • Oh, my, yes! I’m only just beginning to learn that what I give mental real estate to is what comes out of my mouth in unguarded moments – so if I’m holding onto All The Reason I Dislike A Person, it’s really hard to think of anything I *do* like about them when they’re there. Timely words!

    visiting from fmf — Sarah Jo

  • Yes let’s toss those wrongs and instead list our blessings. Great post.
    Tara recently posted…Don’t Ever Forget!My Profile

  • Ahhh, Anita. As I read your post, a couple Rolodex cards came to the front of my mind too. Why IS it so hard to let those cards go the way of the dinosaur? Forgiveness is a process, but it begins with a willingness to let go of the offenses. I’m going to pray for you, and you can pray for me in this. Thanks for your transparency, friend.
    Jeanne Takenaka recently posted…Forget: God Always RemembersMy Profile

  • Anita,
    sometimes it is our own ugly posts that are the most beautiful and resonant with humility. 🙂 Thank you. Jeanne reminded me of card catalogs at the library that no longer exist. Just like Rolodex in your post. I know there are a couple with my own name that God wants me to toss out. Parenting fails. Times where I’m not extending His grace to my own shortcomings. And definitely some others that I need to mature and surrender to His blood blotting out. He paid for ALL sins, not just my own. Love this honest post! 🙂 Holy Spirit holding up a mirror. Great job!
    (I’m hanging on at number 3 tonight)

  • I guess having a lax memory can be a good thing as I don’t have the recall you do do for the wrongs done. But I fear they are still embedded in my heart, more silently yet still resulting in ugly behavior, like a sharp tongue, at times. I’m so thankful for your openness Anita, because it always reflects on something deep in me too.
    Debby recently posted…Five-Minute Friday (Forget)My Profile

  • Yes, we need to forget the Roladex and let our hearts and minds be free from holding on to hurt. I love that forgiveness means “to release” . We let those things go so that we are no longer bound by them. Holding on hurts us more than them. It’s good to forget!
    Thanks for this reminder! (stopping by from FMF #28) Happy Friday to you!
    Rachel recently posted…We Forget How Much We’re LovedMy Profile

  • Oh my friend… where these Five Minute Fridays take us? Thanks for being brave and just letting it flow! And this: a mostly polite, but very distant jerk… yeah… I’ve been that girl, too!
    ~Karrilee~ recently posted…Forget – A Five Minute Friday postMy Profile

  • Oh Anita! This is one of those posts that really resonates with me. I too have a Rolodex. God has been softening me, but I’m still trying to reconcile how to have a relationship without putting myself in a vulnerable spot again. It’s been a downhill slide for about 18 of our 22 years. I will pray for you! Let’s see if we God can figure out how we can have a good relationship with our in laws.
    Christy recently posted…I Did Not ForgetMy Profile

  • Oh Anita, I loved your post and I have been there. Since Valentine’s week I have been confronted with forgiveness. I am #85. in FMF. Thanks for your thoughts, You are awesome my friend. Blessings Diana

  • I definitely can use this advice, Anita! We are so very quick as humans to hold onto grudges and hurt feelings, but we would be so much better off if we didn’t.

    Lynete recently posted…(FMF Friday) ForgetMy Profile