Do you have a Grudge Book in your possession?
Actually, we all have these books, because all human beings are inclined to remember offenses.
I know people who keep records of things that have been done to them in embossed, laminated albums!
Their holiday scrapbooks aren’t filled with happy photos of the family; they’re filled with images of all the ways things did not go as planned or people who did not act the way they hoped they would.
But we need to be reminded that keeping a Grudge Book is in direct disobedience to God.
First Corinthians 13:5 tells us that “love keeps no record of wrongs.”
(Gulp!) That is easier said than done.
Do you know who reads your Grudge Book? Your mate and children and friends – they all know who has hurt you and whom you are holding a grudge against.
When I was a little girl, my mother would tell me stories about how her mother-in-law (my grandmother) hurt her.
I never liked this particular grandmother because of those terrible stories. I took up my mother’s offense by effectively memorizing the text of the Grudge Book she penned on her soul and copied on mine.
My own children never knew the details of the deep hurt that my mother-in-law caused me. From time to time, they may have caught a brief glimpse of the journaling in my Grudge Book, but they never had free access to read and reread the pages of that book, because I learned to forgive my mother-in-law. The mental journaling in a Grudge Book ceased!
In the third book of the Bible, we are warned: “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:18).
To bear a grudge is to take care of your pain and hurt as though it were valuable.
In Hebrew the word “bear” translates to means “guard, reserve and cherish.”
Isn’t it scary that we can cherish our grudges like fond memories of yesterday?
When we read the whole of Leviticus 19:18, we grasp the reality that we cannot possibly love someone as we love ourselves if we hold a grudge against him or her.
When we hold on to cherished grudges, they can actually become family heirlooms that are passed down to future generations.
I have a dear friend whose siblings refused to forgive their father. The anger they harbored against him soon possessed the hearts of his grandchildren. Not only do they possess the anger, it possesses them. Ironically though, the grandchildren don’t hate their grandfather, the object of their parents’ hate – they hate their parents. The sons hated their father and never forgave him, and now their sons hate their fathers!
Let’s be sure not to let the contents of our Grudge Books spill over into the lives of our children, loved ones and spouses.
Instead, we should ask God to help erase our grudges from memory so that He will “forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us,” as Jesus instructed us to pray in Matthew 6:12.
I’m sure He can help us give up even the most unpleasant of grudges – no matter what we believe our mother-in-laws, parents, spouses or siblings have done to hurt us.
Jackie Kendall is a Christian writer and speaker from Palm Beach, Fla. The above material is adapted from her book, “Free Yourself to Love.” For more information, visit JackieKendall.com.