Like 4.6 million other viewers, I watched Taylor Swift The Eras Tour on Disney+ the first week it came out. Well, more accurately, I watched the first third of it and haven’t finished it because life has been so crazy.

I’ve been a Taylor Swift fan for well over a decade now. I’ve always enjoyed her music, especially when I was younger and dealing with the dating and heartbreak she describes in a lot of her songs. I can relate to a lot of her music.

I was expecting a relaxing evening of watching the concert. What I got instead was a heavy dose of conviction from God that spurred me into action the next day.

What Convicted Me

“Look What You Made Me Do” has always been a guilty pleasure song for me. I think it’s catchy and there’s something appealing about the idea of becoming tougher after someone wrongs you.

I usually sing along, loud and off-key. Since I was trying to take in the concert experience, though, that night I was just sitting and listening. When I heard the line “But I got smarter, I got harder in the nick of time,” my mind instantly went to the couple who hurt me profoundly about a year ago.

In fact, I practically patted myself on the back for the way I’ve hardened my heart toward them in the last five months. Even though we had taken steps to reconcile and move forward over the summer, I shut down any further healing when unrelated events caused me to re-live the pain they put me through.

I didn’t hear the rest of the song. Because just as fast as I was feeling smug about hardening my heart, I felt some of the most intense conviction I’ve ever felt. This isn’t how Jesus wants me to feel.

Sure, getting smarter is always good. We’re supposed to learn from experiences. But as followers of Jesus, we aren’t supposed to get harder. We’re supposed to be moved by compassion and forgiveness, no matter how deep the hurt.

Where That Led Me

The day after feeling that conviction, I felt God leading me to reach out to the couple who hurt me and extend an olive branch. They’d been extremely respectful of my boundaries the past ten months, so there had only been contact one time that I had not initiated (and that was to send well wishes for Christmas).

These aren’t necessarily people I need in my life. In fact, many friends (even good, Christian friends) have assured me that I don’t need to have contact with them at all. However, harboring bitterness toward them wasn’t doing me any good, either.

I sent an email, knowing it was what I was supposed to do. That would put the ball in their court. Although it has been a couple weeks with no response, God continues to soften my heart for the day that response may come.

Compassion for Those Who Hurt Us

Like many Christians around the world, this Easter I read the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection. One part in particular stuck out to me. As the guards were casting lots for Jesus’ clothing, he prayed for God to forgive them because they didn’t know what they were doing.

We’re called to follow Jesus’ example, picking up our cross and forgiving those who would put us there. After all, Scripture teaches us to turn the other cheek when someone strikes us.

And while we’re all good with those things in the sterile landscape of theory and sermon illustrations, real life is grittier. We want to say we got smarter and harder in the nick of time. We want to belt out every lyric of “Look What You Made Me Do” while thinking of our enemies’ downfall.

But following Jesus means dying to ourselves. It means dying to the urge to get even. Following Jesus means dying to the desire to see the other person get what they deserve (according to us, at least). It means, even if no further contact occurs, dying to the urge to hold onto a grudge.

Let’s all do better. I want to do better. I need to do better.