Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. –Ephesians 4:31-32
While none of us have ever seen a grudge, we have all seen the relational results that come from people who hold grudges. We’ve seen the unresolved conflict, relational breakdown and family arguments that come from grudges.
Recently, as I was doing some yard work, I was moving some heavy cinderblocks. While I was carrying them, I thought to myself, “If a grudge was something physical, it would look this. It would feel like this!” Grudges are like carrying cinderblocks because they are heavy and weigh one down. Interestingly, we have pretty fascinating language about grudges. We talk about them the way that we talk about babies. For example, you can hold a grudge. You can carry a grudge. You can put it on your shoulders and bear a grudge. Many of us even talk about how you can nurse a grudge.
Think about it this way: when you nurse something, you feed it to keep it alive, which will make it grow. You can do that with a grudge. You can feed a grudge with hostile thoughts, angry feelings, distorted perceptions, harmful intentions and if you do, that grudge will grow. Besides all that, the real tragic thing about grudges is that people will walk around and carry them for weeks, months or even years. Although they weigh us down and are joyless, we still can’t wait to get up in the morning and carry our grudge all through the day.
Now for some truth-telling: grudges don’t add to your life! They strip you of joy. They take away your potential of growing into a more loving, kind, gracious and merciful person. You won’t become the kind of person you want to be when you carry around grudges. God knows that, too! That’s why the Bible is very clear about the type of relational virus that a grudge is. It spreads throughout your entire life. That’s why God says, “Let it go.” It’s time to trade in your grudges and replace them with the life-giving love of Jesus. As you reflect on all the ways God showers you with His love, isn’t it time you lay down your grudges and make it your goal to pass along God’s love instead?
Are you carrying any grudges? What are they doing to your life? What are they doing to your relationships? Are they adding to your growth as a follower of Jesus?