There are times when people hurt us, and sometimes that leads to Christians carrying grudges. However, the Bible talks a lot about forgiveness, and it reminds us that carrying grudges can harm us and our relationships. Grudges lead to a lot of bad things, and they can even manifest physically. We need to learn to forgive and move on in our lives rather than hold onto anger and resentment.
Holding On Hurts
Grudges are ways to hold onto anger, frustration, and resentment. Sometimes it's hard to let go of those feelings, because we're so afraid of opening ourselves up to hurt all over again. Yet a grudge keeps us in a place of hurt. The stress of all those negative feelings can lead to physical aches and pains. We get headaches, acne, stomach pains from all these bad feelings. We get distracted and sometimes walk away from our faith just by holding onto angry feelings. When we learn to forgive, we learn to free ourselves from these bonds.
Ephesians 4:26-27 - And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. (NLT)
Grudges Can Lead to Revenge
When we hold onto anger toward a person, we can lose sight of good decision making. Sometimes that anger leads to us choosing to take revenge on a person. These actions can put our reputation in jeopardy. They can lead to more dangerous situations. Sometimes vengeful actions backfire. God reminds us that we need to choose forgiveness, and he'll take care of the judgement. We need to reserve that judgement for God.
Leviticus 19:18 - Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. (NLT)
Romans 12:17-19 - Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God." (NLT)
Grudges Can Lead to Bitterness
Holding a grudge can lead to us becoming bitter about more than just how we were wronged. When we hold onto those negative feelings, we allow other negative thoughts and actions to take hold. We can become angry about everything. Bitterness has a way of seeping into our lives and taking a foothold. It's a way that the enemy can wiggle into our lives, an opening. We have to guard our hearts from becoming black and bitter. It's not always easy to let go of the negative feelings, but we have to find a way to not become bitter people.
Hebrews 12:14-15 - Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. (NLT)
Ephesians 4:27 - for anger gives a foothold to the devil. (NLT)
Grudges Harm Relationships
Our relationships are important to us. Holding a grudge can lead to the destruction of those important relationships. When someone we love does something that hurts us, we need to learn to communicate with one another better. Instead of holding it in, we need to learn to forgive. Grudges can also cause division in groups of friends. When one friend refuses to get over their anger at another friend, it pulls people in different directions, causing dissent within the groups. Grudges are forces of destruction. Forgiveness, however, pulls people together. It leads to a sense of peace.
Ephesians 4:32 - Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (NLT)
John 15:12 - This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. (NLT)