Can Christians carry grudges?

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About grudges, the Bible teaches, “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:18). It is a human weakness to want to “get even” with one who has done us wrong, but the Scriptures teach no such action. The apostle Paul wrote, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath” (Romans 12:19).

And he adds, “‘Be angry, and do not sin’: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27). The apostle here is talking about “righteous anger or indignation.” A safeguard against the abuse of righteous indignation is to not let the sun go down before we can let go of our anger. While there should always remain an indignation against sin, harbored grudges are hurtful for the mind.

A good test of the quality of one’s anger is whether one can honestly pray for the person against whose wrong act the anger is directed. Jesus was not angered by any personal affront, but only by hypocritical attitudes to God and injustices done to others (Mark 3:5).

God forbids having grudges because they build hate, bitterness and eventually destruction. To bear a grudge is quite hopeless. It does no one good, and does the bearer much hurt. It destroys the spirit, and gives a distorted view of life. Paul advises the believers, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled” (Hebrews 12:14-15).

We should not give the devil a chance to enter our hearts.  When we hold onto grudges, they weigh us down and tear us apart. Instead of holding on to grudges and becoming bitter, God has called us to a higher standard—that of forgiveness. We need to forgive those who have wronged us as soon as possible, giving up our right for revenge and to hold a grudge.

Jesus tells us, “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mark 11:25,26). To receive the character of God, we need to forgive others just as He forgive us.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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