Have you been wronged by someone? I have. Are you holding a grudge against that person or secretly hoping something bad will happen to them? It happens, but it is not good for you.

Nursing a grudge can lead to negative feelings and a wish for revenge. Neither is biblical nor ends well. Consider the biblical story of John the Baptist in Mark 6. It’s a story about a woman who nursed a grudge.

Herod was a tetrarch under the Roman Empire. He fell in love with his brother’s wife, Herodias, who was also his niece. Herodias agreed to marry Herod if he would divorce his first wife. Talk about family dysfunction!

At the time, John the Baptist was a rather outspoken prophet who criticized Herod for this marriage. Herod wasn’t happy about John’s judgment of him and imprisoned John. He was so outraged that he wanted to kill John. But Herod was afraid of the people’s reaction to the killing of one of their prophets and wanted to avoid an uprising.

Now, Herodias was also angry at John for calling her marriage unlawful. She held this against John and nursed a grudge. She was so angry that she looked for an opportunity to have John killed. She wanted revenge.

In the story, Herod had a birthday party. Herodias’s daughter danced and pleased the tetrarch. Herod told the daughter to ask for anything she liked and he would give it to her. Coached by her mother, Herodias asked for the head of John the Baptist, thus securing her mother’s revenge. A grudge was nursed, and revenge sought.

The takeaway: Don’t hold a grudge. The cost to you and others isn’t worth it.

To let go of a grudge:

  1. Acknowledge your feelings. Process them with the intent to let them go. Don’t hold on to anger as it will make you angrier. Feel the hurt and then give up the right to anger and resentment.
  2. Distract your brain from ruminating on the wrongdoing. Refuse to keep thinking about the unfairness or wrong that was committed towards you.
  3. Get support, especially if you have been wronged at no fault of your own. When injustice occurs, we fight to change things if we can. If not, we let God deal with the person. Find people who will encourage you to let go of resentment even when justified.
  4. Can you learn anything from the situation? Are you responsible for any part of the problem? In other words, assess your possible contribution to the problem.
  5. Forgiveness and acceptance are needed. Ask God to help you with this process and give your upsets to Him. He will ultimately deal with each of us. We don’t have to be judge and jury over people we can’t control. Forgiveness is your choice and it will free you.
  6. Know that one day justice will be served. God sees it all. While you may not see the consequences of bad behavior, they will come. Don’t allow the grudge to steal your joy.