Get Over It

From time to time in this life, all men suffer injustices and offenses at the hands of one another.  Insults, injuries, lies, slander, discrimination, and unfairness are often the means men chose to achieve their goals in this world.  God did not make man to be this way, but man has chosen to follow Satan’s path of lust, greed, pride, and hate.  Because of this choice, men sin against one another as they serve their own selfish desires and appetites.

When such things happen to you, you must realize that you can limit the damage done to you by the way you handle the adversity.  You may not be able to control someone else’s careless or malicious acts against you or the consequences of such acts, but you can choose not to further afflict yourself by carrying a burdensome grudge against your offenders.  Understand that becoming bitter and resentful cannot relieve you of your pain or embarrassment, but rather it can only add to your suffering.  You cannot punish your offender by bearing a grudge, but instead you only punish yourself with an unnecessary emotional, mental, and spiritual burden.  Therefore, do not make your way harder than it has to be.

Consider the example of Joseph who refused to compound the injustices done to him by carrying a grudge.  When Joseph was only seventeen years old, his own brothers plotted to do away with him because they were jealous and hated him.  If not for Reuben’s dissent, they would have killed him.  Instead, they sold him as a slave into the hands of the Ishmaelites, who carried him into Egypt.  Thus, Joseph was separated from his beloved father and forced to live in a harsh, foreign land.  His life was often in peril, but he remained faithful to God, who delivered him through his trouble.  When at last he was reunited with his brothers, he said:

“Do not be afraid, for am I in God's place?  As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.  So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” (Gen. 50:19-21)

Despite the wickedness of his brothers, Joseph did not hold it against them.  Instead, he reflected upon the providence of God and faithfully accepted the events that had happened for the sake of his family.  Joseph even gave his first-born son the name of Manasseh, which meant “making to forget,” for he said, “God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household” (Gen. 41:51).

Like Joseph, we must learn how to let go of the events of the past by looking to our Father in heaven.  We must trust His kind providence even if we cannot immediately see how His providence is working.  Ultimately, our faith in God must lead us to believe Paul’s statement in Romans 8:28 – “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  With this understanding, we can accept whatever may come and move beyond the past, trusting that God will accomplish His will.

Not only should we trust in God’s providence, but we should also consider that the offenses that we have suffered cannot compare with those suffered by our Lord because of our sin.  Our heavenly Father is so merciful and forgiving that He sent His own Son to die in our place so that we could escape the punishment for our sins against Him.  Now, despite our many sins, God bears no grudge against those who are washed in the blood of Christ, for their sin is remembered no more (Heb. 8:12).  If God can thus forgive our many sins, then surely we can forgive those who sin against us.  In fact, we must be forgiving, for Jesus said, “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions” (Matt. 6:14-15).

Thus, we see that it is far better to let go of the injustices of the past and forgive them than to hold on to them and allow them to poison the rest of our lives.  Holding a grudge is a way of reliving the offense over and over again.  Rather than experiencing the hurt once, we choose to hurt ourselves again and again by dwelling on the past.  We also prove to be distrustful and unfaithful toward God.  Why not rather forget it and get over it?  Why not move forward rather than looking back?  Let us move on, forgiving and being forgiven, measuring out mercy to others in the measure that we hope to receive from our Father in heaven.  Surely, this policy will pay dividends in this life and in eternity.

Stacey E. Durham


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