I’ve done it. You have too. You know, that thing we do. I’m talking about holding a grudge. Actually, it isn’t true to say we hold a grudge. Grudges are not “things,” but states of mind… attitudes of heart.
Grudges can’t be held, but they can be nursed and nurtured; remembered and rehearsed. You know, that slight they gave you. That item that was borrowed but never returned. That word of gossip that slipped out about you. The promotion that was given to an under qualified bosses pet.
These people took something from you. Your money. Your dignity. Your tool. The injury hurt. The slight stung. The spark of gossip grew into a firestorm of falsehood. Maybe your injury is more longstanding. The person that took your childhood. The man who promised he’d marry you but didn’t.
They let you down. They disappointed you. They bruised you with their words or their oversight. They never said thanks for the kind deed you did. They deserve your wrath… your ire… your displeasure. They OWE you and you won’t rest until the last ounce is repaid.
And so you take up the mantle of a record-keeper. Your job, nay your FOCUS OF LIFE Is to balance the books; to right the scales of justice. A pound of flesh was taken-a pound will be repaid. After all, doesn’t the Bible say, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth?” It’s right there in… well, one of those old dusty books.
Yes, it’s very human to “hold a grudge.” To seek to even the score, to make them pay. But as Christians, another mandate looms larger. We are to forgive.
We forgive because we must. If we do not, unforgiveness will destroy us. It is like drinking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die.
But even more, if we do not the Gospel is not released in all its power and glory in our circumstance. The power of the cross exists for just such occasions. To cover over sin… to help us release not only our own sins, but the sins of others committed against us.
In reality, you can’t hold a grudge. But it can hold you. It can blind you to grace, and obscure the vision of the crucified Savior to you. It can hamper your steps moving forward into the future, and distort the image of Christ in you that others see.
So today, walk away from the grudge. Allow the love and grace of Jesus to embrace you instead. I promise you, you’ll like yourself better in the morning when you don’t wake up next to the grudge!
“Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34
Father, once again we come to you and as we come we confess to you our imperfections, and flaws, and we acknowledge that at one time we owed You far more than any person could ever owe us. Our sins were over our heads, and we were drowning in guilt and shame. But through Jesus, You released us. You chose not to hold sin against us any more, or ever again. May we prove our knowledge of that each time we refuse to live in the grip of a grudge. As Easter draws near, we praise the Name of the One Who paid sin’s penalty for us… Jesus. Amen.