I read a social media post this week that said, in part, “Holding onto a grudge is kind of like holding onto a cactus… It keeps others away from you and it keeps pain inside of you. It doesn’t matter if someone else handed you the cactus. It’s your responsibility to put it down.”
Once we get an idea into our heads, it’s hard to shake ourselves out of it. Even when evidence is presented that we might be wrong, we still hang onto the pain, creating justification for it. And if we know we are right? Forget about it! We’re going to nurse that grudge for dear life. Long after someone else has moved on, we still carry bitterness from whatever situation occurred.
At what point does it become our responsibility to own the pain and damage? I’ve heard people say “I’m trying to forgive. I pray that God will give me a heart to forgive this or that.” But God can only take from us what we are willing to hand over. Well, hand over and let go of. And that’s the tough part.
In Ephesians 4, Paul speaks to the Church about living a healthy, productive, God-honoring life. In verse 26 and 27 he warns “if you are angry, don’t sin by nursing your grudge. Don’t let the sun go down with you still angry—get over it quickly; for when you are angry, you give a mighty foothold to the devil.”
We have embellished this rebuke by telling ourselves we must confront someone with our hurt feelings in order to get over them. But he never says we must go to whomever harmed us and lay the grudge at their feet. Sometimes this is the right thing to do (if done with the right heart); but what he says is get over it quickly. That’s a job for us, not a responsibility for someone else.
If we fill our hearts and heads with anger and bitter thoughts, replaying the situation or conversation over and over, we leave no room for forgiveness and healing. And worse, we can take a small piece of cud and chew it into a huge mass of ugliness that we can never swallow or spit out.
Satan already has enough of a foothold in our lives, just by virtue of our human nature. When it’s in our power to steal some of his thunder, why wouldn’t we? There is absolutely no payoff for holding onto harsh and unforgiving feelings. It certainly doesn’t make the situation better, and it surely doesn’t resolve it.
Sometimes we may just need to walk away and let God clean up the mess. It’s no surprise that Paul also said that we are required to “work out our own salvation.” In other words, we’re can’t be responsible for someone else’s relationship with God any more than they can be responsible for ours.
It can take a gargantuan effort to let go of the pain of someone hurting us. The cut is even deeper when it’s created by someone we love. But God heals every wound. No one better understands the need for complete and total forgiveness. He is the master of second chances.
Mark Twain said, “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” Let me add a more contemporary quote [author unknown]. Let go and let God. He understands more than anyone the power of forgiveness and grace – evidenced by the Cross.
Be blessed my Grace family. God is on the throne!
The week at Grace:
TUESDAY’S, 6:00 pm: Men’s and Lady’s Bible Study. Everyone is welcome. Come and fellowship and learn.
THURSDAY’S, 5:30 pm: Worship Team practice. If you are interested in participating on the Worship team, please talk to Bobbie.
THURSDAY’S, 6:30 – 8 pm, Mid-week Prayer & Praise and Youth of the Nation weekly worship service and bible study
FIRST SUNDAY OF THE MONTH: COMMUNION– The meal that heals!
LAST SUNDAY OF THE MONTH: RECYCLE SUNDAY (Please bring in your cans and bottles in support of Youth of the Nation.)
- Thank you to everyone who helped with our Rescue Mission Graduation Celebration this past Tuesday. We appreciate you so much
- Our Christmas Production, “Dead Man Walking,” is in full swing. Please invite your friends, family & coworkers to attend these special performances on Saturday, December 21, 7 pm, and Sunday, December 22, 10 am. Tickets are available for you to hand out as invitations. See Bobbie if you have any questions.
- New Members: Have you filled out your forms? Be sure and return them to Bobbie. They are on the table in the Café area.
- Look for the Time-Talent-Treasure cards on the back table: What is your special gifting? Will you share it with your Grace family? We need your help to keep our house running smooth. Please grab a card and let us know where you might feel God’s prompting to step into a church ministry.
- We are still fund-raising for our Church Van. Can you help? Please consider a monthly pledge, or a one-time donation. Mark your offering envelope “Church Van” so we know to designate the funds appropriately.
- We are looking for additional Children’s Church teachers. Please see Misty or Anthony if you feel God leading you in this direction. Our youth are our most valuable resource. When planning an event, please contact Bobbie with the date so she can make sure there isn’t any conflict with other church activities.
Sr. Pastor Eric Domen has been in ministry for more than 15 years, having worked as an assisting Pastor and Youth Pastor at Victory Life Center in Merced prior to coming to Grace. He was recently honored with Ordination through the ICFG, and has made a smooth transition into his position as Senior Pastor. He holds a degree in Counseling, and has a heart for the people of our community. Pastor E resides in Merced with his wife and children.
Pastor Bobbie Frye is our Administrative Pastor. She has been in ministry for more than 20 years, and is a 3rd generation Foursquare Pastor. She is a writer and musician, and takes care of Womens Ministries and Worship Arts. She has a background in Procurement and Marketing, in addition to her pastoral experience. Pastor Bobbie resides in Merced.