Holding grudges comes way too naturally. I think I’m above that kind of petty nonsense until I’m faced with someone who has caused me or someone I love deep hurts. Then I realize how angry I still am.
Holding grudges is our feeble attempt to balance the scales, hold them accountable, but I’ve found, the only person paying for this anger is the one holding onto it.
When I think about holding grudges, I think about a woman who has destructively sought to ruin my reputation as a Godly woman. She decided to do her best to hurt me and any witness I might have without any obvious reason.
I have prayed for her for years. I have prayed that my actions regarding her be absolutely the best witness I can demonstrate, that I never stoop to gossiping about her to make myself look better, but it is hard.
The completely unwarranted lies she has told about me (using words so dirty they hurt my heart) has cost me friends, made me cry, and literally made me sick to my stomach to walk out my front door. I still have several damaged relationships three years later.
I could tell the truth about her and discredit her, but I don’t.
Titus 2:7-8 ESV “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.”
I have tried to live this, and it made a difference. She quit her slander campaign, for the most part, and most people can clearly see my growing heart for Christ.
Yet, it’s hard to truly let it go. I know that she must be hurting inside and need Jesus if this is the way she behaves toward someone trying to be a Godly friend to her. But it still hurts. I still feel anxious when I see her, out of discomfort and fear of confrontation.
And it would be really easy for me to stand all self-righteous on my side of the street, but I am not without my own sins.
John 8:7 “. . He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Jesus convicted the Pharisees and people who were just waiting to stone an adulteress, the typical punishment of the day, of their hypocrisy telling them if they were sinless, they could cast a stone.
I’m still not sinless today, and if you had met me before I came back to Christ, you wouldn’t have seen Him in me.
Thank God, I’ve been forgiven and redeemed.
Matthew 6:14 “if you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.”
That is easier said than done. Every time I see or hear about her, I still feel hurt and angry. I hear God telling me to forgive her, not because she deserves it, but because she doesn’t have Jesus and is drowning in sin, and because He doesn’t want me living captive to it anymore.
Inside I feel like crying, “But God, you don’t know what she did, ” in my whiniest voice. “She was so mean!”
God convicts me to remember who the real enemy is.Forgive by focusing on the real enemy between us. We are on the same side against him. Click To Tweet
Then today, I listen to Paul speaking to Timothy from prison.
2 Timothy 4:16 Paul says no one stood with him at his first trial, everyone deserted him, but “. . . May it not be charged against them!”
Other believers left him alone on trial for his life, for his life! And he prayed that it not be held against them!?!?
He prayed for their forgiveness in the midst of suffering.
I still don’t have complete peace about it, but God has been bringing me through this for years. He will continue to use even this for my good (Rom. 8:28): to teach me humility, forgiveness, how to live a Godly example, and to share with others walking this painful journey.
If Paul can forgive his friends deserting him in the fight for his life, why am I holding grudges?
I know I need a savior. I know how I lived without one. I can’t have any pride in my own salvation.
She is just as worthy as saving as I am.
Hard to stay angry if I let myself be truly humbled by this truth. If I didn’t have to deserve or earn it, neither does she.She is as worthy of God's grace & forgiveness as I am. Letting go of grudges starts with humility. Click To Tweet
I’ve got many hurts stored up in my heart that I need to learn to let go, because it’s about grace, not holding grudges.
And holding grudges prevents me from healing from my past, from being an encouragement and blessing to those around me, and from giving all the glory to God for who I am today.