[Jesus said] “I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.”
Emory University conducted a study on the effects of holding a grudge. When you hold a grudge, that grudge can impact your physiology. For instance, a grudge can create problems for your immune system and metabolism. It can skew organ function. A grudge can elevate your blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease and stroke. It can be a breeding ground for anxiety and depression. A separate study has even suggested that holding a grudge can contribute to Type 2 diabetes.
In short, holding a grudge is no good. As an article in Psychology Today says, “Holding a grudge is lighting ourselves on fire and expecting the other person to die of smoke inhalation.”
It’s one thing to tell ourselves not to hold a grudge. It’s quite another thing never to do it. The sad fact is that it doesn’t take much to hold a grudge. It doesn’t need to be like Captain Ahab screaming at Moby Dick. A grudge can be very quiet. It can hide behind a gracious smile. It can be a polite but stubborn resentment that just refuses to leave.
And this is when my soul can drift into a dark place. When I allow this polite but stubborn guest to remain in my heart, over time it can begin to poison me. It can begin to infect my view of others and pollute my outlook on life. Worst of all, it can begin to contaminate my appreciation for what Jesus Christ has done to forgive the likes of me.
That’s why the Lord Jesus speaks to our grudges with such urgency. They threaten our relationships with others, yes. But they also threaten our relationship with him.
Listen to Jesus. He’s calling us to repentance. Be washed clean of the grudges. Be cleansed in the blood from Jesus’ cross. Be filled with his Spirit. And be at peace.
My little resentments, Lord Jesus, are not so little. Forgive me. Refresh my love for others with your love for me. Amen.