Read the article ‘Battling the Grudge’ and answer the following questions. Then share your answers in pairs, small groups or in a classroom discussion.
1. What is a grudge? Do you have any grudges? If you feel comfortable, write a bit about your grudges.
2. Why are grudges not good to have? Why are they bad for us?
3. Whom are some of your heroes? Do any of them have a grudge? How do they deal with grudges? Have they been able to overcome their grudge?
4. Why would it take courage to talk to the person you have a grudge against? Why would this be an important step in overcoming your grudge?
5. Why would forgiveness be the ‘most revered weapon' against a grudge? Why do we need the other steps before we can arrive at forgiveness? Why can it be better to talk things out rather than just ignore our grudges?
6. How do grudges block us from mercy?
1. Your hero's grudge: Write a comic strip about your favourite hero (real or fictional) overcoming a grudge using the steps outlined in ‘Battling the Grudge'. What is your hero's grudge? What makes your hero acknowledge it? How does your hero face it with courage and understanding? How does your hero forgive the grudge? What does this mean to your hero's story? Does it change her or him?
2. Batting your own Grudge: Take a grudge you are currently struggling with and follow the step Isobel Kuo has laid out. You can pick a small grudge to start with. What grudge is bothering you? Whom do you need to speak to about it? How can you see the situation from the other person's point of view? How can you come to a greater understanding and forgive the person you hold a grudge against?
After you've gone through the questions in activity two, write a one-page reflection about your experience.
For younger students
Teachers can read the story to the class or summarise it for them. Then, explain what a grudge is and how it blocks forgiveness and mercy. Teachers can lead a class discussion on why grudges block our ability to be like Jesus: merciful and forgiving.
After the class discussion, teachers can pass out a piece of drawing paper and instruct students to draw a flower with four big petals. In each petal, write the steps to forgiveness: 1) face the grudge, 2) talk it out, 3) see another side, and 4) forgive. Then decorate your flower any way you like!
Teachers can hang up students' flowers around the classroom or in the hallway to remind others of what we need to do to stand up to ‘The Grudge'.
For further learning
1. What do you think about Isobel Kuo's tips on forgiving others and overcoming a grudge in ‘Battling the Grudge'?
2. How is it similar to what you learn about forgiveness from your family and your Catholic education? How is it different?
3. Some people may think it's important to hold on to a grudge. They may even say ‘Forgive, but never forget'. Why do you think they would feel this way?
4. What is it like to be forgiven when you've done something wrong? Have you ever not been forgiven? What does that feel like?
5. Write a reflection on why it's important to forgive and not hold a grudge. How do you think you can do this, without allowing yourself to be a victim to someone who bullies, is hurtful or not a good friend?