Ephesians 4:26-27 Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil.
Can you think of anyone who you really don’t want to be around? Is there someone who you used to be close to, but really don’t like anymore? Is there someone who has offended you, and you’re having a hard time forgiving them and letting go?
Have you ever messed up, repented of it, changed your ways, or learned from your mistake; only to have someone bring it up over and over again?
Does someone you know, possibly even you, throw up something from the past every time certain expectations aren’t met? Are you defensive around someone expecting the worse of intentions from them, or is someone treating you that way?
These are all symptoms of holding a grudge, which is a feeling of resentment or ill will toward someone.
I’ve been guilty of holding grudges, as well as, suffering the bad feeling of having someone hold a grudge against me. They both feel equally bad, and are contrary to God’s will in our lives.
What is it about us that makes us feel that our continued bad feelings toward someone are justified? It’s natural to get angry and frustrated with others, especially those we’re close to. Those feelings may even be justified in the beginning. But holding on to anger and animosity toward someone is wrong.
Now I’m not speaking about horrid crimes against you, or someone who continually treats you badly. I’m talking about the situation where you get into a fight or strong disagreement with someone, and refuse to let it go. You go from being close, or even the best of friends, to being totally defensive and mistrusting of each other.
If you look at the scripture Ephesians 4:26-27 which I started out with you will plainly see how God feels about holding on to anger, which is holding a grudge.
Aren’t you glad that God does not hold grudges against us? I know I am!
God says when we repent, He actually forgets our sins. Unfortunately we don’t have the ability to totally put something out of our minds, but we sure can learn to let it go. Sometimes it might take some work and maybe even prayer.
Anger is a perfectly justified emotion that even God feels. You can read many examples of God’s anger toward Israel when she sinned, as well as, the anger and wrath that He will have when He returns to this earth.
The difference is, when God becomes angry He does so for a very good reason, and usually after overlooking an offence many times. Also, after He has dealt with a situation, He forgives and forgets about it.
Psalm 145:8 The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy.
Can we say the same? Are we slow to anger? Are we great in mercy, “which means forgiving, and not holding grudges”?
Proverbs 19:11 The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, And his glory is to overlook a transgression.
It is our glory to overlook a transgression. Do you freely overlook transgression that are committed against you?
Ecclesiastes 7:9 Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, For anger rests in the bosom of fools.
Anger resting in our bosom would be akin to holding a grudge. Do you hear what someone who holds onto anger is? That’s right, a fool, and I’ve been a fool for this reason more than once I’m sorry to admit.
Now we may have a good reason to become angry at someone, but we should never stay angry with them. Even if someone has done you wrong, and does not seem repentant of the wrong; staying angry at them hurts you much more than them. Anger can become like a cancer that eats away at your joy, and interferes with your relationship with God.
I’m very grateful that God is so merciful and forgiving with me. I am also grateful that as I get older, God has helped my ego shrink a bit. After all, isn’t it our ego that causes us to hold on to grudges?
How about you? Is there anyone who you are holding a grudge against? If you are, I would strongly suggest meditating on the scripture below.
Matthew 7:2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
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