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Holding Grudges

(The following is the October 24 devotional from my Next Step Devotions book. Before reading it, I suggest you read Hebrews 8 and pay close attention to verses 7-13.)

Are you guilty of holding someone’s previous actions against them indefinitely? If someone treats us unjustly or intentionally hurts us, it’s consistent with sinful human nature to remember that experience and hold a grudge. Similarly, when trust is broken between two parties, the one harmed will understandably be cautious about trusting the person again. Broken trust takes time to heal, not necessarily because one holds an unhealthy grudge but because of the complexity of relationships in a fallen world. If you think about those who have hurt you, how often has the same person hurt you? Was it once? Several times? More often than you can count?

Now consider how many times you’ve sinned against God. How often have you broken God’s moral law in thought, word, or deed? How often do you think unkind and unholy thoughts in a single hour? In a day? How often do you do what God’s Word says not to do or fail to do what it commands? Now multiply those numbers by 365 days and how many years you’ve lived, and you’ll start to get an idea of how often you’ve sinned against God. (And that will probably be a very low estimate with our imperfect, selective memory.)

If anyone deserves to hold a grudge, it’s God. No one has been wronged more than him. Yet he is so loving, forgiving, and merciful that he says, “I will forgive their wrongdoing, and I will never again remember their sins” (v. 12). How remarkable is that? Who does that except our gracious and merciful God, who calls us to himself in repentance and faith and remembers our sin no more once we are his?

Oh, to be more like our heavenly Father, reflecting him as the image of God he created us to be.

Next Step:

If you hold grudges against others, pray that God changes your heart to be more like his. Work to restore the relationships where possible.

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