Holding Grudges

For several days, I had been watching my oldest son and daughter interact. Like a pending thunderstorm, something was definitely brewing between them. The conflict began when my exuberant son ruined his sister’s art project by running excitedly through the room. Although the damage was unintentional, my son’s less-than-sincere apology awakened a vengeful spirit in my daughter’s heart. The conflict culminated the following day when my son again raced through the room and ruined another project of my daughter’s. Exasperated, my daughter responded by intentionally destroying her brother’s history project.

Forgiving others can be difficult for many people, especially when a close friend or family member has wronged you. Are you the type of person who silently waits for an opportunity to get even or relishes the idea of paybacks? “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:17-19).

God sees the wrongs you experience in life. Jesus suffered the greatest injustices when He was on Earth and showed us how to respond to them. “Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1 Peter 2:23). Can you commit the injustice you are now facing to the Lord? Will you let go of the grudge you are holding and forgive? “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:14).

Lord, I know I should forgive the wrong done to me, but something within me wants to hold on to this pain. I realize that keeping this hurt only makes this situation worse. Help me to follow Your example and release this pain by forgiving. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Comments(20 comments)

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Diana H 09/08/2010 17:44:42

Looks to me like your using the wrong tactic to help your daughter understand forgiveness. Telling her that punishment and vengence belongs to God is not the route. Try WWJD "What would Jesus do?" How would he turn this event, the destroyed art, to His benefit? Sometimes asking a child this simple question gets resolve much faster than preaching old school, especially when they are very young. Children learn vengence easier then forgiveness, but is the self guilt of committing a sin on purpose when the initial act was was an accident worth causing someone else pain or heart ache? "Do unto others as you would have done unto you".(I know verses but do not know the place to find them) Knowing your daughter purposefully destroyed your sons art, would warrent mom's punishment, (I told my girls, God may punish you later if I don't punish you now, and my ruling will be a much lighter sentence.) and a long talking to about WWJD. Being sincere is another learned feeling, having had his History project ruined by his sister may bring about the opportunity of teaching how to be sincere with an apology. I am a Sunday school teacher and mom of 2 teenage girls. Blessings, Diana

AUDREY A 09/08/2010 17:45:42

Such a humbling reminder yet so practical in real life...little children show their anger and displeasure openly yet we as adults are often good at masking these...but it is so important to rid our hearts of these and be pure as God. Thanks for the devotional!

NANCY S 09/08/2011 05:05:35

have 2 teenagers also and know about sibling spats. LOL LOL. they try to outdo each other but, not to the point of destroying each others belongings or projects. they were taught better than that and yes, WWJD is used a lot . wishing you God's best for you and your family.

RACHAEL C 09/08/2011 05:12:27

Diana, there is definitely wisdom in what you have shared, but I think the way you went about it wasn't very tactful which is why you have received a rating of -1. My assumption is that you wrote your post with good intentions and a good heart, but it came off a bit confrontational. There were a lot of assumptions you made in thinking the mother did nothing but stand by and watch events transpire between her son and daughter. That may be what she did, but It may not. I don't think you can assume that. It is a short devotional so I'm sure she can't give all the details since that wasn't the purpose of the devotional. The author (sorry I don't know her name) is giving sound advice by reminding us that vengeance belongs to the God. It is Biblical, and a lesson that needs to be taught. It is not "old school" as everything Biblical is relevant. And she did refer to WWJD by giving an example of how Jesus responded to his own accusers etc... The Bible doesn't say WWJD, that is a modern term used. She did indicate that we need to use Jesus' response as a guide for our own which is the same as saying "WWJD." I hope this devotional wasn't a stumbling block for you. We all need to be reminded about forgiveness.

STEPHANIE S 09/08/2011 05:12:38

Definitely something I need to constantly remind myself of. We cannot impart to our children that which we ourselves do not possess and possessing a forgiving spirit is essential when we are dealing with our children's spiritual development.....note to first post: The author never revealed how she dealt with the situation with her children, she actually used the incident to segue the situation to ourselves. While I can appreciate what you are saying, understand that all children are different in how they receive spiritual instruction, even within the same household. And while being a Sunday school teacher may have afforded you small successful experiences in a totally different setting than the home environment it by no means indicates that the same method would work in their home. I have been homeschooling for 13 years and have 4 children. One who has left the nest, another a senior in high school, a 13 year old and a 2 year old and I can tell you that the WWJD concept would have been completely ineffective with my 22 year old and 13 year old when they were younger. While I am sure you meant well, I just want to encourage you to refrain from criticizing the parenting methods of others. That is sacred ground and I try to make it a habit not to give unsolicited advice in that area.

DIANNE G 09/08/2011 06:18:45

Diana, If you've read these devotionals for any length of time, you would know that the author's children are adults now, and she has 4 children, I believe. Also, giving someone a "long talking to" about WWJD does not have the promise of God like His Word does. The Bible says that God's word will not return to Him void but will accomplish what He desires. Isaiah 55:11

DANILLE M 09/08/2011 08:06:36

These are all great comments and we could take from each comment and learn from it. What wroks for one may not work for another. I only have one thing to add to Stephanie S: When the author chose to put herself out there is such a format she openly invited criticism and comments. So your "scolding" of Diane H. for her comments is unwarranted.

TIA G 09/08/2011 08:22:38

This devotional was exactly what my son needed to hear today. I agree that all children are unique and need individual methods of parenting...what works for one does not work for another. I am choosing to focus on the teaching in the devotional not to hold grudges. I encourage each of you as you post comments to encourage each other in the Lord letting that be your focus. Any comments that may come across as discouragement publicly are not inappropriate in God's children. He wants us to lift one another up, in doing so, lifting Him who is in us up. I believe that chat forums have become a place to openly condemn and ridicule more than encourage. Let God's light shine in each of you today. To the mother who wrote the devotional - thank you for your humility and transparency. May God give you wisdom as you bring up your children in His ways.

TIFFANY A 09/08/2011 11:40:55

You can't go wrong with God's Word. Proverbs 10:1, 13:24, 14:1, 17:25, 19:18, 20:11, 22:6, 22:15, 23:13, 19:15, 29:17, Hebrews 12:11. The Bible is NEVER "old-school". Read 2 Timothy 3: 1-9, especially note verses 5 and 7. As far as the character lessons that come with life-schooling (anywhere, anytime, not just at home), always use Scripture to teach on character issues. (2 Timothy 3:16) It is not by Mom or Dad's authority, but by God's! Our purpose as Believers is to be conformed to His (Christ's) image. (Romans 8:29)

MARY H 09/08/2011 17:21:08

I love reading this devotion everyday and all of your comments usually. I go away feeling uplifted, encouraged and inspired. Today, I feel a little less encouraged, a little less inspired for having read the comments. I just got done listening to a Bible class. We're in 1 Corinthians speaking of division in the church and the teacher pointed out that pride is the source of every division. This interaction sure felt divisive. I am tempted in my own pride to take a side and make myself more "right" than all of you, at least in my own mind but what does it really accomplish? We are supposed to, as believers in Christ, remain united when ever we can. We will only find the encouragement, love, support, and understanding that we need from each other if we are united. We have some very wonderful things that unite us...first and foremost Christ, also our love for our families, our commitment to educate our children while raising them to be servants of the Most High God! What a calling all by itself and I'm sure that many of you women reading this are serving the King in many other facets of your life as well. Let's not be divided by such a petty thing.

MELANIE J 09/08/2011 18:24:21

Regardless of all the above, NONE of us could claim perfection in this area. Pointing the finger is so easy. In fact, one might forward this blog to others, not stopping to apply it's wisdom to oneself.

LAURA G 09/08/2011 22:17:24

I think one thing I would change is " WWJD" to " What DID Jesus Do". It's so easy to pass on good advice to others and so hard to take it ourselves; like Melanie J. mentioned. I believe we as Christians need to continually bless each other with prayer and not let even one curse come from our lips. Even though I do not know any of you personally, the prayer still has the same love and respect I would give to a family member or friend. I still catch myself thinking or saying things that do not please GOD but GOD is still working on me. Blessings, Blessings,Blessings to all of you.

KIM B 09/09/2011 06:03:06

i don't understand why the issue of correcting/disciplining the child that (even accidently) destroyed the art project in the first place. not the message for the daily focus, i understand, but what about this blog? rambunctious play the first day, acting out for attention (maybe) the second day. where was mom? if i had been the little girl, i would have "felt" revenge toward my brother and my mother. patterns of repeated injustice cause feelings of rejection and injustice. if dealing with the son correctly took place the first day, the second day could have been avoided or a even welcome opportunity to reinforce discipline again. an issue of life - injustice to the innocent - but the authority choosing to ignore or "write off" is even worse. in the church(religion) today we often give a religious answer ignoring the need for practical instruction. we also ignore the cry of the earth and man kind at the injustices on the earth. we cry for jesus' return (silently) to right the wrongs -- but we rarely talk about it. i agree also with the blogger who mentioned the issues of the heart where the holy spirit corrects through conscience also. because our children and their parents will not make the right choices every time, i celebrate God's patience, mercy and grace with me and my family.

LISA M 09/10/2011 08:05:16

Focusing on our children's spiritual needs forces me to look at myself more closely. I've always had a notion that my own spiritual growth has far exceeded that of my "wayward" husband until the subject of forgiveness surfaces. Being a penny-pincher, I have unknowingly held a grudge against one of my husband's relatives for costing us $1500 and never repaying it. Shortly after the deed was done, my husband had completely forgiven the man and put the whole thing behind him, never expecting repayment. After all, that was his best friend. He had heard a message the following Sunday about the lack of forgiveness preventing God from hearing our prayers. I was never more proud of him. Even to this day, the men are the best of friends and just recently his whole family got together for "old times sake" and out of nowhere my brain just clicked "this is the man who cost you $1500." It floored me because I was certain it was dealt with. I wish I could forgive AND forget as Christ does. I instantly went off quietly to ask God why it won't go away. I didn't get a clear, instant answer, but I have been slowly uncovering some ways the Devil uses to put a wedge between people. Holding a grudge is one of the most devastating. Because I have a first hand account of what it feels like to be sorely wronged, it gives me a little more understanding when helping others with forgiveness. Forgiveness is a choice, sometimes a constant choice, and a relection of the heart. In the case of my husband, he went directly to the offender and let him know how much pain the man caused him but it wasn't worth destroying a life-long friendship. He threw his arms around him and cried. The impact on his family was huge because he chose to follow God's direction instead of his own.

KAREN S 09/08/2012 05:11:49

Lord help me to forgive quickly and love like you do. It is so easy to hold a grudge and not forgive and even justify the reason why I should not forgive. Give me clean hands and a pure heart oh Lord my God. Thank you for each person on this blog who is walking out their own journey with you and applying scripture and obedience to themselves and their family. Amen

KATHY S 09/08/2012 06:30:18

I need a little help in this area as well. The day after my heart surgery, the 21 year old exercise instructor from Cardiac Rehab comes in and criticizes something she knows nothing about, further she was rude and interferred with 2 of my doctors. I find out that she'd going to be at each of my sessions while I rehab. EEEEK! So I spoke to management in that department and asked that she not be "around" me while I'm trying toi heal. Further, in kindness I oet the manager know, I did not want this girl reprimanded for her actions, she's young and over zealous. Perhaps if we just stay apart in the not so large area we have to be in, it will work out. As the weeks have gone by, I am losing my anger towards her, and almost feeling sorry for her (even though she was in the wrong). We have each been politley silent towards one another, and I'm feeeling God's conviction to have her manager sit down with her and I so I can formally forgive her. Life's too short and God is too good to me to continue this grudge. I'll let you know the outcome. Say a prayer!

GAIL S 09/08/2012 10:23:19

Why are we focusing on Dianne and not God?

MARY BERLEW 09/09/2013 13:27:16

What we need to remember is the condition of our children's heart. A grudge is actually passing judgment and revenge is deceitful. At this point, as parents it is a God given authority to us as parents to instruct HIS child according to HIS word. He gave us the manual for parenting we need to make sure we are dealing with what is in a child's heart not necessarily the outward symptom of his heart. Don't get me wrong punishment is necessary when needed but if you change his heart according to Gods blueprint we won't need to punish. Nothing ever old school about Gods word. Have a blessed day.

LAURA HERIGON 09/09/2013 13:28:54

I am personally struggling with grudges vs forgiveness right now. Before i read this blog today, the issue surrounding this topic weighs very heavy on my heart, and has been doing so for several weeks now. I think every comment here has relevancy, each in their own way. God has spoken to me through this blog. It is now up to me and God to figure out how i am supposed to apply the message to my particular situation. Even in disagreement, learning and growing can take place. Thank you to everyone who responded! I will think carefully through all that's been said. My heart needs correction, now i just need to figure out what God means for me to "do" to make things better! Gods blessings to all! Thank you for helping me today!

TASHA SWEARINGEN 09/09/2013 17:05:27

My question is: why are you just "watching" instead of *intervening*? Obviously the children in question are young. This means they need guidance and direction. You mentioned that your son's "less-than-sincere apology awakened a vengeful spirit in my daughter’s heart." Two problems right here: 1) Your son's less-than-sincere apology. You should have stopped this DEAD in its tracks and spoken to your son, helping him to have a change in his heart/attitude toward your daughter. Show him Scriptures if needed, or simply share them from memory. Let him know what God's word says about making amends with people. All in all, you should have brought your son to a place of *submission*....BEFORE being allowed to move on with his life. Period. 2) Your daughter's "vengeful spirit." Once again, this is something you needed to get a hold of *now*. Grab the bull by its horns and pull your daughter aside, discussing with her how it is not right to have a vengeful spirit. Share with her what the LORD says about forgiveness, offering up examples from Scripture. Even our Lord Jesus forgave people killing him; how much more so should she forgive her brother. HER world needed to stop until she showed a forgiving attitude and had a happy heart toward her brother. Period. These two things (a sincere apology from your son and forgiveness from your daughter) would have almost certainly prevented this from happening the next day. Rather than mom just sitting idly by "watching" this mess (and "for a few days" no less! -jawdrop-), mom needs to get up and GUIDE her children.

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