Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:18
During a promotional event in 2011, two seventy-three-year-old former Canadian Football League players got into a fistfight on stage. They had a “beef” (a grudge or feud) dating back to a controversial championship football game in 1963. After one man knocked the other off the stage, the crowd called out to him to “let it go!” They were telling him to “squash the beef.”
The Bible contains many examples of people “beefing.” Cain held a grudge against his brother Abel because God accepted Abel’s offering over his (Genesis 4:4–5). This grudge was so severe that it eventually led to murder as “Cain attacked his brother . . . and killed him” (v. 8). “Esau held a grudge against Jacob” because Jacob stole the birthright that was rightfully his (27:41). This grudge was so intense that it caused Jacob to run for his life in fear.
Not only does the Bible give us several examples of people who held grudges, but it also instructs us on how to “squash the beef”—how to seek forgiveness and reconciliation. God calls us to love others (Leviticus 19:18), pray for and forgive those who insult and injure us (Matthew 5:43–47), live peaceably with all people, leave revenge to God, and overcome evil with good (Romans 12:18–21). By His power, may we “squash the beef” today.
Why is it vital for us to not hold grudges? How will you work to restore a broken or damaged relationship this week?
Jesus, thank You that I can forgive others because You’ve forgiven me.
In Romans 12, the apostle Paul encouraged believers in Jesus to act in ways contrary to our sinful nature. In verse 14, he wrote, “Bless those who persecute you” and added “bless and do not curse.” Not even the smallest bit of desire for divine vengeance was to interfere with our prayer that God bless our enemies. John Calvin wrote on this verse: “I have said that this is more difficult than to let go of revenge when anyone is injured; for though some restrain their hands and are not led away by the passion of doing harm, they yet wish that some calamity or loss would in some way happen to their enemies . . . . But God by his word not only restrains our hands from doing evil, but also subdues the bitter feelings within.”