I’ll admit it. It bothers me.
It bothers me to think that there may be people out there who hold grudges against me.
Who could they be?
*Maybe that couple I did a baptism for and almost dropped their baby.
*Or the high school girlfriend I abruptly broke up with.
*Maybe that person whom I made a really awesome joke about, but at their expense.
*Come to think of it, as someone who preaches without notes on a Sunday morning, there could be countless people who may have been offended by something I said or did.
Just think about it. Out there in the world, there may be dozens of people who hold a grudge against you. Some you may know about, but some are a mystery.
Doesn’t it just make your skin crawl?
It’s not just the idea that people may think this way about you. It’s the idea that you have caused pain to someone else, perhaps even unintentionally.
It can weigh on you.
Almost as much as it does to hold a grudge against someone else.
Can you make a list of the people you hold grudges against? An old teacher, a college roommate who let you down, a coworker who stepped over you on the ladder to success?
I’ll bet there are a few there, on your list.
Funny things, grudges. It’s no fun to be on either side of one.
In Leviticus 19, God says,
“‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.
God knew, way back then, of the pain and damage grudges could cause.
And indeed, we see it play out time and again, amongst brothers, between parents and children, and would-be-kings.
Everything from bruised egos, to betrayal, to hurt feelings, to malicious intent.
One of the most famous grudges of all is the one that Esau bore against Jacob. The grudge was well deserved, as Jacob had stolen Esau’s birthright.
Something miraculous occurs, though.
As Esau’s troops advance upon Jacob’s position, and Jacob is certain his brother will strike him down, Esau offers a surprising response of grace and reconciliation to Jacob. The brothers are reunited, and peace is restored.
It’s a remarkable scene of love and forgiveness in the midst of a world that didn’t always function that way.
You, like Esau, have the power to dismantle the knot of pain and betrayal that led to the grudges you hold. Forgive.
You also have the power to apologize to those you know you’ve hurt.
As for the faceless people out there who may bear you ill for something you aren’t aware of, all you can do is follow God’s advice, and love your neighbors.
The Grace you help bring into the world can be much more powerful…
than any disgrace you may have caused.
Have a great week,