Devotions By Jan

Holding a Grudge


La Dent de CrollesScripture for Today:  Proverbs 19:11  “Good sense makes a man restrain his anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression or an offense.”

When living near Grenoble we were at the base of the French Alps.  In fact we were surrounded by several different mountain chains.  Pictured here is La Dent de Crolles.  One can see why they named it a tooth.  It looks just like a molar.

There is a saying in French that makes me smile.  The idea of holding a grudge is expressed as “avoir une dent” or  “to have a tooth” against someone.  It is a very old expression but still currently in use.  The teeth are thought to be a symbol of aggression and biting.  We have the same idea in English when we “fight tooth and nail” or an animal “bares his teeth.”

Our verse for today teaches that it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.  Doing so is the exact opposite of holding a grudge.  It is not a natural behavior for me though.  More often, I remember an offense, even those that have happened years ago.  I am not proud of that fact.  If I continue to remember an offense, I am surely not overlooking it.  And if I am remembering it, then I am likely to hold a grudge.  There is certainly no glory in that.

Overlooking an offense is a very gracious behavior.  There are times I offend others and I am grateful when that person lets it go.  When I understand that grace has been extended to me, then I can more easily extend grace to others.  Even so, I need the power of the Spirit to overlook and forgive.

I am forever grateful that Jesus does not hold a grudge, or where would I be?

2 thoughts on “Holding a Grudge

  1. Years ago, when I had my life turned upside down by divorce, I had to work on forgiveness because if God forgave me, then I had to forgive others. In terms loving myself and seeking Christ’s peace, forgiveness was one of the best things I could do for myself, and others. But forgiveness is a decision and not an act, a process that has to be the prayer of my heart. I live near a beautiful bridge that connects two islands, over a beautiful channel. One way I could figuratively deal with letting go, was to “roll up” whatever was bothering me, and then throw that issue down from that bridge. Another, newer, concept was to place that issue between my fingers and “squish” that issue into a smaller and smaller problem, let it fall onto my lap like a piece of lint, then brush it away, letting go, because it was NOT WORTH worrying about, and letting God take care of it.


  2. Hey Jan,
    I loved this illustration. One of my favorite things about learning another language is the added dimension it brings to idioms, sayings, and things we deal with on a regular basis in life. I needed this reminder today!! One of my favorite sayings in Hebrew that is similar to this is to be “long nosed” (patient), as opposed to “short nosed” (quick tempered). It is a picture of what your face actually looks like when you are angry…reminds me to be aware if I am clenching my jaws (as you said), or flaring my nostrils about something, as “human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. (James 1:20 NET)”
    Love, Aubrey Laughlin


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