Everybody knows what it is like to hold a grudge against someone. This is not something we know little about. In fact, we see it portrayed as acceptable in the entertainment world, and justified by real world examples. Millions of dollars are spent each year in the health care arena treating people who just need to forgive and let go of their grudges! God has a lot to say about this subject!
(Romans 12:17-21) Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (KJV)
(Ephesians 4:30-32) And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (KJV)
The truth is that grudges are an absolute drudgery. There is nothing about grudges that bring long term satisfaction. It will blossom into other sins like bitterness and make us age before our time. Folks hold grudges for many reasons. Some are even understandable, but none are honored by God. Consider the following reasons individuals hold grudges in our spheres of influence:
- Unmet expectations
- Perceived wrongs from others or upon other people whom we love and respect
- Past issues clouding the present
- Taking up offenses
These are just a few of the common reasons grudges are attractive to many. When folks let their feelings/emotions rule the day, grudges find a foothold.
In August and December of 2014, our nation was astonished by the tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri. The riots left a blight upon the moral fabric of an entire city. These events were simply an example of how grudges can be justified and lead to other sins. The total expense incurred from “Grudge Gone Wild” tallied to more than 26 million from both local and state entities. We are told that between 40 and 60 percent of small businesses never reopened after the riots ended. If only people would learn to forgive!
If someone is holding a grudge, then they are not forgiving. If an individual is holding some sort of vendetta, then they are in sin and out of God’s will! Make no mistake about it… Holding grudges is not acceptable behavior in God’s eyes.
Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for happiness, health and peace. Forgiveness can lead to:
• Healthier relationships
• Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
• Less anxiety, stress and hostility
• Lower blood pressure
• Fewer symptoms of depression
• Stronger immune system
• Improved heart health
• Higher self-esteem
“An hour spent in hate is an eternity withdrawn from love.” –Ludwig Boerne
“Hating people is like burning down your house to get rid of a rat.” –Harry Emerson Fosdick
“We may fight against what is wrong, but if we allow ourselves to hate, that is to insure our spiritual defeat and our likeness to what we hate.” –George William Russell
“In no one else in all history do you find an abiding hatred, an immortal hatred except against our Lord… The hatred against Christ has never weakened even after twenty-centuries… because he is still an obstacle-an obstacle to sin, to selfishness, to godlessness, and to the spirit of the world.” –Fulton J. Sheen
I. Grudges Are Forbidden!
(Leviticus 19:18) “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.” (KJV)
- Love instead of hate
II. Grudges Don’t Produce Better Circumstances!
(Proverbs 20:22) “Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee.” (KJV)
- Wait… God will save or deliver thee
III. Grudges Should Never Be An Option!
(Proverbs 24:28-29) “Be not a witness against thy neighbour without cause; and deceive not with thy lips. Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.” (KJV)
- Don’t even say it… or think it
IV. Grudges Rob You Of Golden Opportunities!
(Matthew 5:38-40) “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.” (KJV)
(Matthew 5:46-47) “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?” (KJV)
- Allow the injustice to occur
(1 Thessalonians 5:15) “See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.” (KJV)
V. Grudges Keep Us From Giving!
(1 Peter 3:8-11) “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.” (KJV)
- Bless when you are cursed