Is It Okay If I Hold a “Little” Grudge?

January 16, 2018 at 8:31 AM 2 comments

The short answer to the title of this blog is no.

Every Christian has had things happen in their life that they believe they did not deserve. Someone treats them unfairly. Another person falsely accuses them. Yet another spreads lies about them attempting to ruin their reputation. Even some are on the receiving end of misplaced “righteous” indignation over what turns out to be absolutely nothing, though looms large in the mind of the accuser.

This happens to every Christian. In fact, it is fascinating that I can recall events or situations in which I was falsely accused of something or people deliberately lied about me. Some of those things occurred years ago, but they are replayed in my mind with annoying repetition at times. It is one thing to expect this of the world – people who are lost because they do not have salvation. It is quite another thing to be on the receiving end of these things from people who claim to be Christians; brothers and sisters in Christ.

Let’s be absolutely clear here. I am not referring to actual sins that a Christian commits. Certainly the fallout from those situations can be expected and deserved. Teaching Pastor Andy Savage of Highpoint mega church in Memphis, TN that we’ve discussed recently with respect to his involvement in a sexual situation while he was a youth director at a church some twenty years ago is a case in point. That is something that he did, something that he does not deny. However, recently, he is seen clearly trying to blame share with the victim in the incident instead of taking full responsibility for his failure to set the tone and boundaries, in spite of the fact that he says he has taken full responsibility.

We are not referring to these situations which might involve Christians.

The Bible, as we know, is filled with examples of the failures of sinful people, even those who clearly endeavored to follow God. Their failures through sin remind us that no one is above failure. Because of that, we dare not glory in another Christian’s revealed sins. The inclusions of these examples in Scripture is also another proof of the integrity of God’s Word.

Had the Bible been written solely by men with no inspiration from God the Holy Spirit, it can be assumed that these major failures would not be part of the written Word. But God is not interested in covering over humanity’s sin. He is interested in revealing it so that we are aware of the problem and His remedy.

But again, we are not talking about when a Christian actually sins and suffers the consequences of that sin, though certainly God can and will forgive the penitent person. We are talking about Christians who are unjustly persecuted by the lost of this world or by other Christians and have done nothing to reap that suffering, except to follow Jesus. The apostle Peter makes this very clear, as just one example.

16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit… (1 Peter 3:16-18 ESV)

And again, this same apostle fleshes out the reality of suffering that will come (not “may” come), to the Christian later in the same epistle.

1 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. (1 Peter 4:1–2 ESV)

Anytime an authentic Christian deliberately chooses to follow Christ in each decision of his/her life, there is a great chance that some form of persecution will come. If you are a Christian who has never suffered any form of persecution (shunned by co-workers, hated or ridiculed by others, kept from promotion at work, etc.), it may well be that you are doing something wrong. You may have one foot in God’s Kingdom and the other foot in the world. Paul would say, “brothers/sisters, this ought not to be.”

I am almost 61 years-old. The truth is that I am feeling older and I notice my outlook is changing. I’m feeling far more settled in life and while I still want to do things, I’m finding that my one growing desire in life is to become more like my Savior. I want – more than anything – to see His character reflected in and through me with a growing constancy. Other things are simply falling by the wayside.

But I also find that things that have “been done” to me by non-Christians and Christians alike often loom large in my mind. I can recall (even if I don’t want to or am not necessarily actively thinking about it), events that have occurred years ago as if they happened just yesterday. What a tragedy that as these things are replayed in my mind, I am torn between the desire to think on them and the desire to reject them completely. Does the Bible have the answer? You bet.

As you know, if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, I have been dutifully reading through my Bible every day so that in a year’s time, I finished the entire Bible in 2017. January 1, 2018 I started over and I’m excited to share that I am seeing more detail this time. In fact, while I cannot yet say that I “delight” in reading God’s Word, I am certainly getting there. His Word is starting to jump off the page to resonate with my heart and mind. I am thinking about what I read throughout the day more often.

One of these things I noticed the other day involved Joseph, one of the patriarchs of the nation of Israel. I’m sure you’re familiar with Joseph, how he was cruelly mistreated by his brothers, who originally considered killing him. They were all terribly jealous of him because their father loved Joseph more than the others. That never should have happened. Joseph’s brothers became jealous because of it. While it was not Joseph’s fault, he wound up inadvertently playing into their jealousies because of God’s hand on his life. His prophetic dreams – given to him by God – came to pass. Prior to that, fueled their jealousy big time, there was a strong desire to kill him.

Ultimately, thanks to Reuben (and ultimately God), Joseph’s life was spared, but he was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. Thus began a downward spiral where Joseph couldn’t seem to catch a break. Of course, God was with Joseph and blessed him in spite of his circumstances, but Joseph was likely not fully aware of God’s leading until he finally came to be appointed second in command over all of Egypt. In spite of his partial knowledge prior to this, it seems very clear from Scripture that Joseph trusted God a great deal. God honored that trust.

As I was reading through the text of Genesis 45, I was tremendously moved. Here was a man who had done nothing to deserve the treatment he received from his brothers (or from Potiphar’s wife later). In this way, Joseph is a type of Christ because Jesus also did nothing to receive the terrible treatment he received from his own “brothers” of the nation Israel.

But many years later, as Joseph stands before his brothers as they failed to recognize him, Joseph’s heart literally broke with love for them. How does that happen? How can someone who is so incredibly misused by his own relatives (or by other Christians), come to a place where he has nothing but love for his persecutors? How?

It comes not because of anything we can muster up from within us. It comes only by the mighty blessing of God’s hand, period. As I read these words in Genesis 45 where Joseph reveals that he is Joseph, all I could think of was what tremendous love he had for his brothers; brothers who first wanted to actually kill him, but relented and sold him into slavery for a few coins. Jesus was also betrayed by one among Him for a few coins.

1 Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him. He cried, “Make everyone go out from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. 2 And he wept aloud, so that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. 3 And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. (Genesis 45:1-3 ESV)

Can you imagine the tremendous emotion Joseph felt? The text says he “could not control himself,” so he ushered everyone out except his brothers. Then he tells them who he is and weeps! His brothers were stunned. They were beside themselves with fear. What would Joseph do to them? They feared imprisonment or death. They did not understand and it took them until even after their father had died to realize that Joseph meant them no harm (Genesis 50:15-21).

How does a Christian love like that? How does a Christian set aside the “right” to demand an accounting? How does a Christian let it go and harbor no ill will or resentment and in fact, do the opposite by loving in spite of being wronged?

It can only be done through the indwelling Presence of God the Holy Spirit and even then, it can only be done when the Christian is willing to let go and let God. It is accomplished when we begin to see life through God’s eyes with His purposes before us. This type of love can never happen as long as we continue to think of SELF.

And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God. (Genesis 45:7 ESV)

Oh how I hope and pray that God will give me that heart so that the infinitesimally small things that “happen” to me are seen for what they are – nothing at all. In the grand scheme of things, God is in charge. He is sovereign. The sooner I realize this to a growing degree, the sooner I will learn that as a bondservant of Jesus, He allows things into my life for my growth and betterment, not for my harm. It’s all an effort to get me to deny SELF and embrace more of Jesus.

Joseph was so hated by his brothers that they wanted him dead. He was in agony while his brothers sold him into slavery. Joseph’s abject fear and dread was palpable (Genesis 42:21). Yet, Joseph came to a point where he saw God’s hand in it, not his brothers who sent him to Egypt. Since it was God, how could he hold a grudge against his brothers? In doing so, he would have been holding a grudge against God Himself.

Ah…that we Christians would learn that God is enough. That the things that come to us in this life are so for God’s purposes. The sooner we learn that, the better off we will be.

I used to think that I needed to be involved in “ministry” so that it would count for doing “something” for God. If I wasn’t in ministry, I was failing God. While obviously, for some, being in specific, called ministry is God’s calling for them, there is something infinitely more important than that. It is found in John 14:21 as well as many other places throughout Scripture.

Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him. (ESV)

If I say I love God, then I should desire more than anything to obey Him and the commands He has given me. What are His commands? In a nutshell, they are to love God with all your heart, mind, and soul and to love your neighbor as yourself. The bulk of the New Testament explains this and breaks it down for us so that we can see where the rubber meets the road. It is not as easy as we might think. In fact, it only happens when we finally begin to break free from the hold that Self has over us.

Christian, there is nothing greater you can do in this life than to love God with all your heart, mind and soul and love your neighbor as yourself. But there are many spokes to that wheel. Read the New Testament. Read especially the epistles written by Paul, Peter, James, John, and the others.

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Cultural Marxism, Demonic, devil worship, Eastern Mysticism, emergent church, Emotional virtue, eternity, Global Elite, Life in America, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, second coming. Tags: , .

So Let Me Get This Straight… Politics as Usual or Are Things Changing?

2 Comments

  • 1. rutnerh  |  January 16, 2018 at 1:25 PM

    Great teaching on the meaning of forgiveness and loving your neighbor or even enemy as yourself as seen in the life of Joseph. And loving someone as yourself goes beyond worldly charity but a desire to see a lukewarm Christian or unbeliever or enemy born again before death to avoid the unimaginable eternal suffering in a real hell or hades. Hell is vividly described by the ever truthful Jesus in the true story of the Rich Man in Luke 16;19-31; now in hell for at least 2000 years with eons to go! Salvation is truly the most precious gift from the Lord to those who sincerely seek Him as Lord and Savior.

    • 2. modres  |  January 16, 2018 at 2:07 PM

      Thank you and yes, I agree.


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