Daily Devotion

Love and Grudges Don't Mix
 
"It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]." 1 Corinthians 13:5 AMP
 
I've been thinking a lot lately, well truly, God's been weighing some things heavily on my mind and heart.  The distinguishing factor between Christianity and other religions is supposed to be that we forgive.  Matthew 6:14 says 'For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.'  There are many other scriptures throughout the Gospels and the New Testament that drive home this point of radical forgiveness.
 
What I realized the other day is that holding a grudge is very much having unforgiveness.  I have to say thank You God because I used to be the queen of grudges.  If you hurt my feelings, I would never forget it and mull over it everytime I saw that person, resulting in a scowl or stank eye being thrown the way of the offender.  But God calls us to live a life of love, much like Jesus–in fact, He calls us to live exactly like Jesus.  To do this, we must first accept Him into our hearts and minds, and allow the presence of His Spirit to transform us.  But this love lesson is a hard lesson because it involves so many challenges.  Forgiving and turning the other cheek to every injustice, pain, and undeniable wrong that is inflicted upon you at the hands of another, that total complete letting go of ill feelings in order to bring healing.  It is hard! And if you are a grudge-holder like I used to be, it feels virtually impossible to give away that pain.  Its like taking a pr"ized possession that you have had for some time and giving it to Goodwill–all of the emotions associated with it begin to resurface and cause your heart to wrench.
 
But we have to live this way, in order to show the world that Christians are who they say they are.  How can we call for the death of someone who violated or injured us–as a true Christian?  How can we dig up the past and relive the injustice–as a true Christian?  We are called to love all unconditionally, even those we personally feel are un-lovable.  We have to have compassionate hearts, which can only be created by the molding of God, and let everything go. 
 
This has been an especially difficult lesson for me.  But when we decide to allow God to have control of the situation, we must be willing to go forward at all costs, even if we lose those grudges and bitter feelings we take comfort in.
 
"Be tolerant of one another and forgive each other if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, you also should forgive."  Colossians 3:13 ISV
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