“When I observe your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is a human being that you remember him, a son of man that you look after him?” Psalm 8:3-4 (CSB)
A dear friend called me with concern in her voice and hope in her heart. “I’ve been praying over your situation and feel certain God is telling me to tell you this – ‘Let go of the grudge and then your path will be made clear.'”
Grudge? Am I really holding a grudge? Could my heart be harboring hidden resentment?
The dictionary defines grudge as a feeling of ill will or resentment. Resentment is further defined as the feeling of displeasure or indignation at some act, remark, person, etc. regarded as causing injury or insult. Indignation is said to be a strong displeasure at something considered unjust, offensive, insulting, or base; a righteous anger.
Well, when you put it that way…
I suppose I’m guilty.
You see, I’ve observed as loved ones have been treated in less than respectable ways. Offensive remarks. Unjust treatment. One incident after another leaving one hurt after another. Each one etched deeply in the recesses of my mind, in the crevices of my heart. Each one leaving behind a thick residue more accurately described as hidden resentment.
This act of grudging wasn’t something I did intentionally. It was simply a culmination of anger – righteous anger, even – all gathered up, stored up. Rather than allowing myself to feel anger and then release it, I had unintentionally held on to it. Continually processing it. Running it through the filters of my mind and my heart over and over, and then returning it to its holding place until something brought it out into the open once again.
I was having trouble separating the facts tucked inside my head from the feelings held within my heart. And because I couldn’t separate the two, I couldn’t move from my feelings of hurt and disappointment to the freedom of forgiveness. Until my friend mustered the courage to pass God’s message on to me.
What’s funny is that my friend and I both thought this message was intended for another family member – the one more directly impacted in this situation. It wasn’t until later I realized her message was also meant for me.
My husband and I had been seeking God’s guidance for some time. So, this message of “let go and then your path will be made clear” couldn’t have been more fitting. God knew exactly what we needed to hear and used this caring friend of ours to get us there.
I’m grateful for a God who cares about the ins and outs of our lives so much that He pauses to guide and comfort us. Even someone as seemingly insignificant as me. It causes me to stop and ponder, and then smile in wonder … Who am I, God, that You would care about me?
Friend, can you think of a time when you’ve asked this same question of God … Who am I that You would care about me Have you struggled with the issue of hidden resentment? How has God helped you let go? Perhaps you’re currently struggling with this issue. If so, friend, I’d love to pray for you.
Letting go is never an easy thing. But with God, it is possible. May I share with you a passage I’ve found helpful?
“Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.” Ephesians 4:31-32
These verses help me remember that I am also a sinner in need of God’s forgiveness. And if He is willing to forgive me of my offenses, I should be willing to forgive others of theirs. It’s often a long process and I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever get it right. But I keep trying, and God is faithful to walk alongside me, helping me as I do.
He’ll do the same for you, friend. He’ll do the same for you.