Friday, February 10, 2017

The Sinner’s Grudge

We had recently moved into our new home but still had a few things left to be done, one of those being to finish painting the basement floor.  It was late morning mid-week when my husband decided to go purchase the paint needed to complete the job. 

Circling the store he saw a space by the back fence of Sears, which was ideal and close to the department where he needed to get supplies.  With the truck blinker on hubby began pulling into a parking space, when without notice a car came ripping across the lot and pulled into the spot.  

Jamming on the brakes he did a hard turn of the wheel to avoid crashing into the “space thief’s” vehicle, and barely missed hitting another car that was driving by at the time.  The spirit of offense had hit the pavement. 

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A Loose Wing-nut 

Moving on to another open space my husband parked the vehicle and started to walk toward the store.  As he approached the gate he saw the man who stole his spot waiting for him.  The “wing-nut” as he put it, was running his mouth spouting gibberish, getting louder and faster in what he was saying. 

The stranger’s whole demeanor just flipped his switch.  What you don’t know is that my husband was already on edge having lost a high paying job two days prior to this incident due to downsizing.  His emotions were on overload, so it didn’t take much to ruffle his feathers. 

It was obvious that the dude was looking for a fight.  Unfortunately, this man didn’t know hubby switched into “street” mode.  Not wanting to deny the stranger’s heart desire, without a word my husband grabbed the shoulder of the offender’s jacket.  Rearing back to nail him, he was about to make this chap a permanent part of the fence. 

The Point of Offense 

With his fist in the air ready to “let ‘er fly” another driver, who had witnessed the whole pathetic thing, looked at my husband and said, “Do you really want to do that?”  Now if you know hubby you already know what was floating around his brain.

“Yeah, I sure do and I think I’m going to enjoy this”.  

He would have to, but that day the man found the grace and mercy of God through the voice of reason which caused him to back off and calm down. 

As the three men stood there hubby released his grip with a little force, causing the man to step back a few steps.  Here’s where you realize sometimes stupid is just stupid, and once again the culprit’s mouth went into high gear rattling off things you can’t repeat. 

My husband and the witness let the offender walk in front of them.  You would have thought that guy learned his lesson, but he didn’t.  They continued walking toward the store entrance with this “mouthpiece” chirping all the way. 

Hubby was trying to remain calm when the third driver (you know, the voice of reason) stopped and shouted, “Why don’t you just shut up?!!!  Evidently he too had reached that point of offense.   

Nodding at one another with unbelief over what took place, my husband and “Mr. Reason” stopped in their tracks regaining their composure as they watched the offender walk into the store still arguing under his breath.   

The Sinner’s Grudge 

My journey for this blog post began before Christmas of 2016 when a friend of mine sent me her book to read.   It's threaded with fibers of guilt, hatred, remorse, anger, bitterness and resentfulness.  

Thin strands of gold reflected the author’s love for her family and the desire to forgive as God has commanded.  Unfortunately, her peace remained buried because of what was harbored in her heart for decades. 

Affectionately known as Maggs, she shares how her Aunt refers to these undesirable emotions as a sinner’s grudge, knowing completely in her heart that is wrong. Her story kindled an episode that happened in my own life back in 2002 and sparked something in hubby as well. 

The opening story really happened almost twenty-two years ago to my husband, but it wasn’t until Wednesday morning of this week (February 8th, 2017) that I had ever heard it.  He had hidden this event inside his heart for some reason, but the Holy Spirit brought it to his attention when we began to discuss this week’s subject on “harboring un-forgiveness”.  

Whether we realize it or not sometimes we hold onto or carry unwanted anger, resentment, pain and bitterness.  When we do it becomes rooted in us forming as Aunt Lucy would say, “sinners grudges” which prevent God from releasing His promised favor on a situation.

That Yellow Sports Car
When we began prodding his memory bank over something that happened so many years ago, my husband said that he didn’t have any ill feelings towards the man and frankly never thought of him again until this week.  So when I asked him if he felt that an offense was committed against him he said, “Yes.” 
I suggested in my ever so authoritative counseling voice, “I don’t think this is a coincidence, because of how you handle situations having to do with drivers.”
The day before we were out running errands around town; we needed to get back home as soon as possible so we were watching the time.  While driving through a large parking lot to get to the other side of the shopping area, he verbalized his feelings about a yellow sports car that was parked on an angle taking up two spaces. 
Whether a vehicle is too close to a line, someone who cuts him off to take his space or a car parked unconventionally, hubby becomes “offended” by it even though he hasn’t met the individual.
Can you see a pattern building?  Based on something that happens in our past that we might not have shared with anyone, we may still hold a little resentment concerning certain incidents.
An Act of Mercy
He didn’t want to fess up back then but said that the episode really frazzled him, especially when he noticed how he reacted in anger as a believer.  Hubby shared with me that he felt ashamed and guilty about his behavior for a long period of time.  It took a while before my husband brought the incident into the throne room of God where he asked for mercy (favor) in being forgiven.
Newly learning this information, I realized why he hadn’t told me about the situation.  Hubby had truly forgiven the man and in doing so totally forgot about it.  I believe that God brought it to his memory to share with others who are still dealing with the spirit of offense, by holding a sinners grudge against another individual.
The Offensive Seed 

Now don’t feel bad for my husband over me sharing this story, because he is the one who typed it for me to use (with a little “Fay” pizazz tweaked in of course).  I’ll share my story next week so you’ll have to come back to read it!   

The point is, throughout our lives we all form a habit of blaming others because we were born with a sin nature seed courtesy of Adam and Eve.  When a behavior goes against our earthly “nature” or “grain”, we automatically internalize it and the matter goes unresolved (sometimes for years or a lifetime). 

Rather than deal with painful issues, we find ways to blame someone else. We process the “incident(s)” as being “offended” then quickly store it away with a gigantic big lock on a vault somewhere inside our memory bank.  I’ve talked about this in the past where we learned to play the Blame Game. 

Looking at every instance where casting blame has taken place the commonality is that it doesn’t unite but divides, it tears down and destroys. It complicates matters rather than solves problems.   

In Romans 5:12a scripture tells us that through one man sin entered into the world.   

“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world …” 

The seed of blame was planted and has multiplied throughout all time.   Sadly in many cases what starts out as blame turns people from being the offended into becoming the offenders. 

The Nature of God 

When we let the spirit of offense rule over our thinking, emotions and behavior whether in our conscious or sub-conscious, it ceases to be an earthly problem and becomes a spiritual one.   

There are many Christians who feel that God isn’t listening to their prayers anymore, and that they’re getting nowhere with Him.   

“Will the Lord always reject us?
 Will He never again be pleased with us?”
 (Psalm 77:7 GNT)

In their hearts they feel that God has rejected them and His favor is no longer available.
“Will the Lord reject forever and never again show favor?”
(Psalm 77:7 HCSB) 

If the spirit of offense is lingering then they’re probably right, because anything that goes against the nature of God cannot be processed through Heaven. 

It is God’s nature to forgive, and when we keep offense alive it literally drives a wedge between our Creator and mankind. The gap that Jesus filled between God and man when He died on the cross has been broken wide open again, and the favor we’ve experienced in the past ceases because our fellowship and relationship with God has been compromised by sin. 

If we are to move forward in the spiritual vision God has for us we have to deal with things that are holding us back in the old man nature.  What exactly causes us to become ticked off when certain things happen?  Why does it offend us so much?  

Finally, can we trust God enough to let His nature of forgiveness be manifested in us regardless of the circumstances?  Sooner or later we’ll have to come to terms with what has happened, and in turn hopefully we’ll choose to forgive. 

This Week’s Challenge:
Removing Seeds of Offense 

Our task this week may be difficult for some, because it involves mental digging … that means hard work in soil we’d just as soon leave unturned.  

God wants to take us to the next level of favor for our journey, but in order to do that we have to take His course on forgiving and pass with flying colors.  

“Forgiveness 101 is not an elective course
in the school of Christian Life; it’s a required subject.”
Charles Swindoll 

The challenge requires that we enter into prayer with humility and a heart that seeks forgiveness – that of receiving and giving.  The Bible assures us that God does hear and will answer the prayer of repentance.
In prayer we’ll ask Him to help us uncover, dig up and reveal the hidden offenses that we have harbored in our spirit.  Perhaps it has to do with a co-worker, a family member, some event from the past, or even a total stranger like in my husband’s case.  Until we’ve identified the offense(s) we won’t be able to uproot them from our hearts.

Repent that this unlovely sinner’s grudge seed has been given the power to grow through undiagnosed hurts.  Release the offender and forgive just as Christ has forgiven all our offenses against Him.

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
even as God in Christ forgave you.
(Ephesians 4:32 NKJV) 

Continue memorizing your scripture cards adding this verse to the packet, and prayerfully make this petition before the Lord. 

“I entreated Your favor with my whole heart;
Be merciful to me according to Your word.”
(Psalm 119:58 NJV) 

My husband shared something with us that he’d rather have kept secret.  God revealed it for a lesson toward our good … because … 

“If the heart truly forgives, there is nothing to forget.”
Margaret McBride - Author 

All offense is a seed of un-forgiveness that will delay or destroy the favor God has ordained to be placed into your life.
Get rid of it today, right now  ... so that God's favor, grace and mercy will be restored in abundance to you.
Forgiveness by Matthew West

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Until next time, plant forgives and favor will grow! 

“Where there is forgiveness, there is favor.”
Jesus Christ

*Unless noted, the names in articles are changed to protect the individual(s) privacy. 

Note: Emphasis is given in some scriptures to show clarity or understanding and is not to take away from the inspirited Word of God. 

When used, the words satan or devil are not capitalized deliberately, because we give him no place in our lives. 

Disclaimer: Article information is not meant to be used as treatment for mental or physical issues, but geared toward spiritual awareness. 

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How Can I Forgive by Sara Horn on Daily Favor Blog
Rescuing Your Heart from Resentment and Regret
by Sara Horn 
Available in paperback or eBook format

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Content and Image Copyright from Favored1. Do not copy. 
Scripture references are from the New King James Bible Version or as noted provided by Gateway Bible.
Image credit: Google Images or Dreamstime Creative Common License if not specified.
Image:  Painting Basement Concrete Floor  Proverbs 12:1 "stupid"  Holding a Grudge  Psalm 40:11  Blame Game Sign

Disclaimer Notes: Results may vary due to lack of belief.
Author Margaret McBride; That Melvin Bray p. 273.
The Sinner’s Grudge, Weekly Challenge, Daily Favor Blog, Daily Favor Prayer, Favored1, Favor of God, Forgiveness, Deserting Offense, How to Deal with Offense, Blame Game, Mercy, Repent, Sara Horn, Matthew West, Charles Swindoll.