QUESTION:

IS IT WRONG TO CARRY A GRUDGE

ANSWER:

Garden City church of Christ

Garden City, Michigan

 

“Grudge” is commonly defined as “A feeling of ill will or resentment.”  A held grudge often involves hate and the desire to do harm to the one against whom the grudge is held.

Jesus taught love of enemies.  Love your enemies,” said Jesus (Matthew 5:44). Jesus continued, “Bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despite fully use you, and persecute you.” Jesus himself practiced what he taught. Hear him on the cross as he prayed for his murderers—”Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Moreover, Jesus taught: “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14, 15).

Actual forgiveness is conditional.    A biblical truth unknown to many is that actual forgiveness is conditional.    Regarding a brother who has sinned against another, Jesus instructs the sinned against thus, “Take heed to yourselves: if thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him” (Luke 17:3).  The conditional particle “if” indicates forgiveness cannot be offered unless there is repentance. “Jesus unconditionally forgave,” we hear.  These same murderers for whom Jesus prayed his Father to forgive, were later charged with the sin of Jesus’ murder and told to repent (Acts 2:22, 23, 37, 38).  It was not until they complied with the terms of forgiveness that they were, in fact, forgiven (Acts 2:38-47).  This does not mean, however, that one is to carry a grudge or harbor hate toward another.  There must at all times be a forgiving spirit (cp. Ephesians 4:32).

Grudges are self-destructive.  Hate eats away at the very fiber of the grudge carrier until he is miserable and obsessed.  The inspired apostle Paul wrote, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath” (Ephesians 4:26).