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May 12, 2012

Don’t let a grudge rob you of living in peace with others

TERRE HAUTE — In 1870, Julia Ward Howe asked for “all women in all places to all rise up and oppose all wars.” She called it A Mother’s Day for Peace. The idea never caught on.

In 1880, Ann Jarvis of Grafton, W. Va., tried to establish what she called Mother’s Work Days to improve sanitation and living conditions and to reconcile Union and Confederate neighbors. The idea never caught on.

In 1905, Anna Jarvis, the ninth child of Ann Jarvis, stood at her mother’s grave. She and her mother had argued, and her mother died before they could reconcile. With determination, she vowed, “By the grace of God, you shall have that Mother’s Day.” Maybe this time the idea would catch on.

Whether or not her determination was fueled by guilt or regret, for the next seven years, Anna worked to establish an organized Mother’s Day dedicated to “make new resolutions for a more active thought to our dear mothers.” Finally, in 1914, Congress passed a resolution declaring the second Sunday in May to be Mother’s Day.

But by 1916, Anna was unhappy about the way people celebrated Mother’s Day. She said, “I wanted it to be a day of sentiment, not profit.” She was vehemently opposed to the selling of flowers and greeting cards, which she considered “a poor excuse for the letter you are too lazy to write.”

It’s true that Mother’s Day is good for business. But does that mean we “do” it wrong? Should we not call mom on Mother’s Day? Do we love her less if we buy flowers? Are we lazy in our love if we send her a card? Are we less appreciative of her if we take her out to eat on that day? (If my children are reading, let me just say that none of those things would offend me at all!)

Instead of being grateful that mothers were finally receiving the recognition Anna Jarvis fought so hard for, she developed a grudge against those who did not do things her way. She died at age 84 — blind, penniless, bitter and angry with those who didn’t do things her way,

Hebrews 12:14,15 says, “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”

Are you holding a grudge against someone? If so, for your sake, please let it go. Don’t let that grudge give way to bitterness. Don’t let that grudge rob you of living in peace with others.

After all, it’s Mother’s Day, isn’t it? It’s a day of peace, just like Julia Ward Howe, Ann Jarvis and Anna Jarvis planned.

Don’t let a grudge mess it up!

Verna Davis, speaker and writer, maybe reached at

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    March 12, 2010