Holding a grudge
In the world in which we live, it is very common for people to hold a grudge against another person — sometimes for years.
I would like to try to convince you that there is an alternative — forgiveness.
Let me give you two examples to see how forgiveness always has a better outcome than remaining angry. In the Bible, we read about two men: Joseph and Ahithophel.
Joseph was hated by his brothers to the point they were going to kill him but sold him as a slave instead. Sibling rivalry is always cause for grudges.
Things were a little better in Potiphar’s house, but then he was lied about and went to jail. Joseph chose to maintain his integrity and ended up as second in command of the entire nation of Egypt. He chose to respond to his circumstances with grace. His biggest test came when his brothers arrived in need of help themselves.
19: And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?
20: But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
He could have taken revenge on them at this time but chose rather to forgive them believing that God had a bigger and better plan in mind for his life. He decided to just be Joseph and to let God be God:
…Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Most people know the story of David and Bathsheba but do not know one of the very important people behind the sense in the story.
Ahithophel was the chief counselor to King David (I Chronicles 27:33) and also counseled David’s son Absalom. This man had such a close relationship with God that God would give him answers to the most complex and difficult questions. David relied on the counsel of Ahithophel to help guide his decisions as he led the nation of Israel. Oh that we had a few Ahithophel’s in Washington, D.C., today.
II Samuel 16:23:
And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counseled in those days, was as if a man had inquired at the oracle of God: so was all the counsel of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom.
However, in his later years, he left David and became counselor to Absalom, David’s son, and now his enemy as he was steeling the kingdom away from David.
What made him change?
In II Samuel 11:3 and 23:34, we find that Ahithophel was the father of Eliam, who was the father of Bathsheba. Ahithophel was Bathsheba’s grandfather.
Being a grandfather myself, I can understand the pain David caused this family. If what he did to Bathsheba was not bad enough, he then used his power and position to murder her husband to cover up his sin.
After all these years, hatred and unforgiveness gave way to bitterness. He left King David and joined rebellious Absalom. Ahithophel’s reaction of bitterness destroyed him. He lost his relationship with God and his ability to counsel wisely and in the end he took his own life.
II Samuel 17:23:
And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his ass, and arose, and went home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died and was buried in the sepulcher of his father.
You may feel you have just cause to be angry with a person or some circumstance in your life, but if you can’t learn to forgive, bitterness will overtake you and in the end you will be worse off than you are now. Learn to forgive and let God set everything straight.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Dr. Tim Page is a pastor at Bible Baptist Church of Chugiak. Reach him at 688-9477 or visit www.biblebaptistchugiak.org.