Scorekeeping Is Bad
When was the last time your wife frustrated you? When was the last time your husband said something rude to you? When was the last time your brother got on your nerves?
Do you keep a running tally? Have you ever said or thought something like, “You always … “ or “You never … “?
The thing is, the Bible doesn’t have anything good to say at all regarding holding grudges or being angry. The best thing it does is tell us that there is a distinction between righteous and unrighteous anger.
I don’t know about you readers, but this is a hard thing for me to do personally. I was raised in a sort of scorekeeping lifestyle. I did this, so now it’s your turn. You did this to me, so now I should be allowed to do this to you? I did this for you, so now you should feel obligated to do that for me. This sort of scorekeeping, trade sort of mindset isn’t Biblical.
When you hold on to anger in your heart, you’re feeding your spirit with the wrong sort of nourishment. There are several verses that warn about this.
“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses,” (Proverbs 10:12). “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense, “(Proverbs 19:11). A
As usual, those who try to split the word of God tend to scoff at Old Testament scripture. (I’ve said they are part of a whole numerous times, but I am fully aware that those young in the faith or questioning of it try to create conflicts where there are none.) So, with that in mind, here are some New Testament verses. “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
And here we come to the crux of this chapter. The formula of Salvation is simple.
Christ’s death on the cross = sufficient for all sin. One death for all (Romans 6:10).
In that one, loving sacrifice, Christ redeemed all of our sins. Not just mine, not just yours, all the sins of the redeemed. Repentance for sin is the acceptance of that sacrifice and key for our Salvation. Those who don’t accept that salvation and repent of their sins aren’t covered.
But our human minds want that trade off. Our human minds want reciprocation. When we are hurt, we want those who hurt us to be punished. When we do something nice, we want something nice done for us.
Christians, Christ died on the cross for you? If your own human logic desires such reciprocation, why hesitate to die for him? This could be literal (as in being martyred), but in this case I mean in a metaphorical manner. Salvation is demonstrated by letting the old self die and taking up the life Christ gave for you (Romans 6:11)?
However, even then our salvation is a gift. Therefore, the forgiveness of our sins is also a gift, one given despite the number and severity of our sin.
Why then, do we harbor grudges? I understand my own shortcomings in this. I count everything. Not just what people do for or against me, but my own sins. I covet my sins and my transgressions, seeking to make up for the things for which I’ve already been forgiven. I haven’t yet learned to let go, and it affects my relationships.
Does it affect yours? The Bible is clear that I need a heart of forgiveness, but my sinful flesh, bred and nurtured on the concept of human payment, seeks more.
The only solution I can can consider is to hold fast to the word of God, and at my point in my development, this is a big cause. I have to hold fast to the fact that vengeance belongs to God (Romans 12:19). I have to hold fast that the price for sin has been paid through Christ’s death (gospels).
If you are like me in this, repent with me. Address your grievance or as forgiveness (Matthew 5:24) or overlook the offense (Proverbs 19:11).
For our panel: What are some ways for one who’s used to holding on to his anger to let go? Why do people hold onto anger in that way? What are the dangers for people who can’t let go of the guilt of offenses they’ve already repented for? What verses can one memorize to help with this problem?