Over the weekend, I was faced with a couple of different instances where I could have chosen to stay mad and hold a grudge. In some situations, I did a good job of deciding to choose joy over resentment or anger. However, in another instance, I failed.
I am preaching to the choir right now because I am currently harboring hard feelings about someone… someone with four legs that barks.
I’m talking about my dog. Over the weekend she ate some food we had planned to eat for dinner off of the counter, and I’m still mad about it. This happened on Saturday, and I continued to be mad on Sunday, even until about noon today, the following Monday.
It was no coincidence that the speaker who visited our church talked about forgiveness. He told the story of a man, well into his 80s, who was still harboring resentment toward his father because of something that happened in his childhood.
I was thinking yesterday, as I let what my dog did ruin yet another day, what good does it do when I continue to be angry? It doesn’t make me feel better. My dog hasn’t thought about it since the incident. Why am I still angry?
There have been times in my life, and I’m sure even yours, that you chose to be mad at someone, and maybe you gave them the silent treatment rather than talking to them about what is on your heart.
Maybe you took other actions, of which you aren’t proud, to prove a point, or to make them hurt too. Have you felt good about these decisions and actions? I know when I have done things out of spite I never come away feeling good about what I’ve done.
What if your action caused your brother or sister in Christ to stumble further, and leaves an even bigger ripple effect of angry, spiteful actions from people? Is that something for which you want to be responsible?
In Matthew, we’ve all heard the verse in which the Lord tells Peter how many times he’s supposed to forgive someone. Matthew 18:21-22 says,
“Then Peter came up and said to him, ‘Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.’”
Do yourself a big favor and bring your anger and burdens to the cross and lay them at Jesus’ feet.
Our anger and bitterness are just two things that were included in the payment of our sins when Jesus died on the cross on Calvary’s hill. Give these things to Jesus and feel the overpowering feeling of redemption and freedom that His blood offers.