Friday, 6 November 2015

Grudge Match

Proverbs 20:22 Do not say, "I'll pay you back for this wrong!" Wait for the LORD, and he will avenge you.   

      Bob Marley said, "Before you start pointing fingers, make sure your hands are clean."
      Do you nurture your grudges like your children? Do you keep them clean and fresh ready to display as prize possessions at the moment of a woe-is-me opportunity? Why is it so difficult to see the effects grudges have in our own lives and yet so easy to see the effects of grudges in others? This is a common occurrence I run across while in a counseling session with people who just cannot get victory in their Christian lives. 

      It is interesting listening to some of these people express their desire for the judgment of God to take place to someone because of a slight or wrong that has happened to them and at the same time claim the mercy and forgiveness of God for their own lives. Mark 11:25 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. 26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. I know it seems obvious when reading it here on this page but just not obvious enough when it is happening in one's soul. 
      Grudges have a way of wearing down the joy of the Lord in a person's heart the same way sandpaper wears down balsa wood. Unforgiven grudges can show up unexpectedly within a soul out of nowhere. It can be an old photograph peaked at or fragrance on a light breeze that sparks an old angry memory. 
      It can come and sneak up on you like a mugger through a sudden loud sound or a bad taste when biting into something. Before you know it all hell breaks loose and all because of an old nurtured hurt that has turned into a festering grudge against someone who did you wrong. Gen. 4:23 Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, listen to me; wives of Lamech, hear my words. I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me. 24 If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven time. 
      How far can a person's heart get distorted because of a grudge? In this case, the grudge resulted in murder and arrogantly bragging about it. It does not take much for a grudge to happen, but it takes courage to stop it in its tracks. When someone takes up a grudge and lets it build into something that eventually will control them, it can have long-lasting irreversible effects. 
      We read the story of King Saul putting David in charge of the men of war. 1 Sam. 18:5 And David went out whither soever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul's servants. Life is going well then by chance something happens that causes a grudge to mount up in Saul's heart against David. 
      1 Sam. 18:6 When the victorious Israelite army was returning home after David had killed the Philistine, women from all the towns of Israel came out to meet King Saul. They sang and danced for joy with tambourines and cymbals. 7 This was their song:  “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands!” 8 This made Saul very angry. “What’s this?” he said. “They credit David with ten thousands and me with only thousands. Next they’ll be making him their king!” 9 So from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David. Wow, talk about being insecure. 
      It was the words of a song that caused a grudge that would last for years and drive King Saul to make numerous insane decisions concerning the kingdom of Israel. Saul ended up losing everything, including the dedication of his own son Jonathan. Was the grudge worth all the misery brought into a nation and individual families over the rhymes and musical notes of a few dancing girls?
      We might laugh at Saul's immaturity but what grudges are you nurturing that can bring catastrophic effects to your life? There are family members today who will not talk to another member of the family because of something that happened way back in kindergarten. There are people whose grudges have become part of their persona. They make all their decisions based on the hurts they experienced when they were in high school. When is enough, enough? 
      What grudges in your life are worth keeping and disobeying God? Will you be able to bring those well-nurtured grudges into heaven with you? I think not. 1 Cor. 13:4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 
      It is worth noticing that on deathbed confessions, people always want to get rid of the grudge in their lives before they meet their Lord. Why wait so long? Do it now and have an abundant life so that the joy of the Lord is with us now and forevermore. No grudge match is worth winning and definitely not at the cost of our life long peace. Amen! 

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