They say that cats do not hold grudges. There is supposed to be some other reasonable explanation for their behavior. However, when returning from a trip, it would always take our Tiger a bit of time to warm back up to us. He would hold himself aloof and look at us sideways as if to say, “Where have you been and how dare you leave me?” After a few rebuffed overtures he would eventually be his loving self again.
Today’s verse can be convicting. It is repeated throughout Scripture that we are not to take revenge (Romans 12:19). That job is done much better by the Lord who sees hearts and is righteous. However, holding a grudge is something that we feel entitled to do, reminding ourselves that it is not OK what was done to us. Holding a grudge keeps the memory alive and keeps the offender at arm’s length. But love is impossible without true forgiveness.
So often, the guilty one is unaware of that unforgiving spirit I harbor. It certainly does nothing to him. The pain I continue to feel becomes self-inflicted and can become more important than the original offense. Still, it is hard to let it go. To forgive and forget seems as if I am letting that person get away with something. The closer the offender is to me the deeper the wound. It is impossible to forgive and let go without the Lord. Because He forgives me and does not hold a grudge, He empowers me to do the same. It can only happen as I continually give it to Him.
Lord, help me to forgive like You do.
(Look familiar? This is a re-post due to summer ministry schedule.)