Holding a grudge can hold you back!
by Margaret Silvester
In 2001 the world’s first secular forgiveness course was held at Leeds University. The candidates on the course included victims of burglary, bullying, abuse, abandonment, betrayal and jilted husbands. They were all angry and bitter, wanting revenge. The Daily Telegraph reviewed the conference under the heading, “Holding a grudge can hold you back and even damage your health.”
When Joseph was a youth, his brothers hated him to the extent that they were willing to do anything to get rid of him. Initially they contemplated murder and then decided on selling him into slavery in Egypt. The root of the brothers’ hatred was jealousy. Joseph was the favourite son of his father Jacob.
After their father Jacob had been buried the brothers became anxious and disturbed. They had been re-united now with Joseph and he had dealt kindly with them. Obviously he had truly forgiven them, but now they asked one another a burning question, ‘What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?’ (Genesis 50:15)
Joseph’s brothers misjudged him. Long ago he had forgiven their jealousy, cruelty and murderous thoughts. He had let them off the hook completely. His words to his brothers when they asked for his forgiveness were, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good” (Genesis 50:17-20).
Here are two questions –Firstly, do you hold a grudge against someone? If so, today, choose to truly forgive that person and let them off the hook. Holding a grudge can certainly hold you back in your relationship with God and also with others. It may even damage your health.
Secondly, do others hold a grudge against you? If so seek to be reconciled to them. If they’re unwilling, let them off the hook and cease to fret over them. Allow God, who knows every heart, to develop your character through the experience. Whatever your circumstances today, remember that God intends every experience in your life to be for your good. He works it out that way when your heart attitude is right before Him.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your dealings in my life and for the many times I’ve experienced You working through difficult relationships to develop my character. I choose not to hold a grudge against anyone. Thank You for Your unlimited forgiveness. I desire to live in forgiveness towards others because I’ve been forgiven by You. Amen.
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