Leviticus 19:17-18 You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord (ESV).
Grudge: a persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury.
Just the other day I saw something posted on social media and I mentioned it to a friend. I didn’t say anything negative or bad, but she reacted as if I had a grudge. Apparently I was a bit edgy in how something was said. Initially I denied it. No, no grudges in my heart. For the most part it’s true. But the most part isn’t all. I realized that there was still something there that shouldn’t be. I was holding a bit of a grievance about something. And it’s sin.
How often have we said we forgive someone or had forgiven them long ago and yet there’s still a grudge? Too many times. I’ve heard people tell me how they forgave someone only to bring up the awful things they did and how it hurt minutes later. They say they forgive. They may have sincerely spoken in faith and intent to let it go. But that didn’t happen. The awful thing that took place is still engrained in their minds. The replay is still going on. We as human beings don’t have a “sea of forgetfulness”so to speak like God (see Micah 7:19). We remember. Forgive and forget is a nice phrase, but not totally realistic when serious pain or offense occurs. Replace the grudge with love.
Today, I want to encourage you to have a “grudge exchange” if you’re struggling with bitterness towards someone. Replace the grudge with a decision to love them. Pray for them. Bless them. Do good to them and speak well of them (without being dishonest or misleading). Forgetting 100% may not be possible, but choosing to exchange the grudge for love is. Acknowledge the hurt, then choose love instead of bitterness or vengeance.
Prayer I’ve prayed: Father, I praise Your name. I repent of my bitterness towards (name) and I ask You to give me a heart of love and mercy towards them. I release their debt to me when they did/said (offense). Bless them Abba (pray Numbers 6:24-26).
Don’t hold onto a grudge. Do the grudge exchange for His love instead. Feelings will follow in time. But you have to take the first step.
1 Corinthians 13:1-7 ESV If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Peter 4:8 ESV Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
1 John 2:9-10 ESV Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.