How long do grudges last?
In this touching story from the Bible, the estranged brothers, Esau and Jacob, meet for the first time in many years. When they last saw each other Esau swore that he would kill Jacob for tricking him out of receiving the first son’s blessing, bestowed by their father Isaac. With great fear, Jacob approached Esau. He even sent ahead a peace offering of livestock and food. But when the two met, Esau embraced him as his dear brother. Surveying the offering, he questioned Jacob as to the meaning. Jacob said that it was, “...to find favor in the sight of my lord.” Esau gracefully replied,
“I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.”
Genesis 33:9 (ESV)
As I reflect upon this story, I wonder what caused the change in Esau’s heart? Was it simply the old adage, “Time heals all wounds”? Was it the fact that he, too, had been blessed and was successful? Did God directly intervene and change his heart? The Bible does not give us any insights to the answer. But we do know the outcome. Esau and Jacob were reconciled.
And perhaps this is the most important lesson. After years of harboring resentment against a man who once befriended me then betrayed me, I was finally able to forgive him. It took many years. Yes, time did diminish the pain and my life had been abundantly blessed since that incident. But it was God who was directly intervening in my heart through His Holy Spirit. He showed me that it was ultimately my sins that led to the rejection. This did not excuse the man’s action, but God helped me to see the entire episode in a new light.
How long do grudges last? For me, it was far too long. If it had not been for God’s grace and mercy, I may never have reconciled with this man. This is what God does, reconciling the lost world to Him through belief in His Son, Jesus Christ.
I have enough when it comes from God.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.