This is a post I have never really thought much of writing about, but, sadly enough, it’s something we’re all gonna have to deal with in some way or other, so I’m just gonna say a few hard truths today about grudges.
Sometime in our lives, we will either have someone hold a grudge against us or our family, or we may be the one holding a grudge on others.
I know we’re all human, and things get us pretty riled up sometimes, but is staying mad and avoiding someone (and the problem) really the right answer?
Jesus got angry at some people. But did that keep Him from talking to them? Did He come to earth, see how the world treated Him, and then throw a big hissy-fit instead of facing them or the problems? Uh, I’d say quite the contrary! Even though the world mocked Him, ignored Him, and hated Him, He did the ultimate shocker for all: He died for those (and us) horrid people. Why? Because He loved them. He still cared for them, no matter how wrongly they had treated Him.
So if we ever have the gall to get haughty and begin to think we’re better than someone because they wronged us– think again! Jesus was the Son of the Most High God, and He died on that cruel cross because He was thinking of others (even the mean ones) more highly than Himself. That is true friendship. (John 15:13)
Back to grudges. Still feel like you have a right to not forgive someone because they aren’t forgiving you (or maybe just aren’t living the exact way you think they should)? Here’s what Jesus said about that in the greatest sermon ever preached:
1) “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)
2) “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your heavenly Father will not forgive your transgressions.” (Matthew 6:14-15)
Just before this, Jesus is teaching how we ought to pray. (In 6:12) He says, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” So, yeah, He’s basically saying, “Lord, as long and as much as we forgive people, forgive me the same.” If we’re holding back forgiveness from someone right now, this should terrify us!
If we treat others the way we want them to treat us (not hold grudges, be friendly, etc.), then we are practicing the Law (“for this is the Law and the Prophets,” 7:12). But if not, we practice lawlessness.
On judgment day, wouldn’t it be the most terrible, horrible thing to hear the Lord tell you that because you didn’t forgive so-and-so, He wasn’t going to forgive you? We could be oh-so close to the gates of Heaven after doing so much of what He commanded, but if we miss this one, we miss it all.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'” (Matthew 7:21-23)
“Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rains fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell– and great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:26-27)
One more thing. If humility and forgiveness weren’t hard enough already, God also requires us to dwell in unity with our brethren. We might say, “Well, I forgave that person, but that doesn’t mean I ever have to speak to or be around them again.” Honey, that’s holding a grudge. A true follower of Christ will forgive and forget– and move on with it. It doesn’t look good to the ungodly if God’s own children can’t even get along. No, siree! We need to have some more of that humility and quit getting so riled up, flustered, and offended all the time.
Paul said, “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other who has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” (Colossians 3:12-14)
Let’s act like God’s children are supposed to be acting. Let’s not avoid problems– let’s face them. Let’s not hold grudges– let’s forgive. Let’s not cut fellow brethren in Christ out of your life– let’s live in unity. And above all, let’s love.
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)
In Christian love,
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)