It’s Written All Over Your Face

Sharon Jaynes Forgiveness, When You Don't Like Your Story 84 Comments

Have you ever held a grudge? That’s a silly question. I think we all have. I remember when Nancy Davis asked the boy I had my eye on to the high school dance. Can we all say G-r-u-d-g-e with an extra grrrr?

Esau, now that’s a biblical character who held a grudge…and rightly so. His brother Jacob and his momma grabbed the pen right out of God’s hand, as if God needed help writing their story. While Esau’s mother, Rebekah, was pregnant, God told her:

Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger. (Genesis 25:23)

Rebekah did indeed give birth to two very un-identical twin brothers—hairy Esau and smooth Jacob. The name Jacob means “heel grabber.” The boys wrestled in the womb and Jacob, though born second, came out hanging onto his older brother’s heel. That might have been a fun story to tell at a party if Jacob hadn’t continued to try to gain one-upmanship on Esau.

Years later, Jacob stole Esau’s blessing and inheritance from their nearly blind father.

When Esau learned of the deception, he begged his father to renege and reverse the oath. When he wouldn’t, or rather couldn’t, Esau vowed to kill his brother. “Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, ‘The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob’” (Genesis 27:41).

The Hebrew word translated “grudge” means to cherish animosity against. I doubt many would admit that they cherish the hate they have toward another, but it’s easy to do. You take care of what you cherish. Dust it off. Shine it up. Hold it dear. Unforgiveness sits on the shelf of the heart, as a beloved trophy.

For the next twenty-one years, Jacob hid from his angry brother as a fugitive in Haran. Finally, he decided he really wanted to go home. There was just one problem—Esau, who had vowed to kill him.

Jacob’s strategy for dealing with Esau was to divide his people and possessions into two groups. One was to approach Esau first. If Esau and his 400 men attacked and killed the first group, then the second would flee. If Esau didn’t kill the first group, then the second would proceed.

When Jacob brought up the rear, a teary-eyed Esau embraced his brother and wept. Just the night before, Jacob had been preparing for the worst, but was met with Esau’s best. Esau embraced his brother, offering forgiveness and inviting reconciliation.

Jacob said to Esau, “To see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably” (Genesis 33:10).

Seeing forgiveness face-to-face is like seeing the face of God. Isn’t that the most beautiful image? If we were sitting together sharing a cup of coffee, I’d want to chat long about that. Can you think of a time when someone forgave you and it felt as if you were looking into the face of God? I have. We are never more like God than when we forgive.

Interestingly, the name Jacob means “trickster,” but God changed it to Israel, which means “triumphant with God.” Jacob’s worst chapter became his greatest victory, and it all began with forgiveness.

I still remember Nancy Davis’s name. But I forgot all about the “offense” as soon as some other boy caught my eye. Today, let’s let Jesus catch our eye, and drop all those offenses we’ve been hanging onto for far too long.

Heavenly Father, I want to reflect Your glory. When people look at me, I want them to see the reflection of Your love and not the reflection of pent up grudges. Help me to let go of grudges and take hold of grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Can you think of any grudge that you have been holding onto for a long time or a few days? What do you think God is telling you to do with that grudge? If you’re ready to let it go, click on comment and say, “I’m letting it go!”

What if your worst chapters could become your greatest victories? I know that they can!

Want a little help letting go of those grudges? Maybe the one you need to forgive is yourself. Either way, the key to having a better story is taking what has been done to you or through you, experiencing healing from that hurt, and then using your story for good. Come on girlfriend. Let’s do this together! Click here to get your copy of When You Don’t Like Your Story: What if Your Worst Chapters Could Become Your Greatest Victories.

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Comments 84

  1. Thank you for your ministry and re-sharing this timely and necessary message of forgiveness. Love the way you came at it.
    By the power of Jesus and His strength, I’m letting it go..
    Sincerely,
    Heather P

  2. Thank you for this wonderful reminder. The devotional is perfect timing for me because I’ve been holding onto a lot of unforgiveness toward a family member. Today I’m letting go by the grace of God.

  3. I want to let go but how? I was lied on by my coworkers. I didn’t engage in office gossip. I actually did the work I was hired to do. I’ve never not once mistreated a patient and yet I was brought into the office for a meeting yesterday. I was told I’m a “aggressive”. The employees said I’m becoming hard to work with. Wow that’s weird we all have lunch together everyday and breakfast on Fridays. And yet I’m hard to work with. Then my employer says oh Ramona please don’t leave the company you do great work the patients love you just going forward whenever there’s a problem don’t say anything to any of the employees just tell the supervisor and then she’ll tell them for you. I didn’t say anything besides telling the Dr. I’m not aggressive nor the aggressor I will not accept that label. He quickly apologized and instead said I hear multiple complaints about you but you do great work so I hope everyone gets along. I didn’t say anything. I couldn’t. It seems like my voice wasn’t going to be heard or understood. It definitely wasn’t respected. And the people who knew the truth wasn’t going to speak up because their too busy covering up their on mistakes. So again how can I let go? When I defeated.

    1. God sees your heart and he hears your pain.

      There’s no way I can understand what you are going through but I’ve been in a difficult work situation where I had to continue working with fellow staff who had questioned my communications. That was a hard place to be.

      Recognize that where you are is in a difficult place. And seek God in knowing what is best for you.

      You were affirmed for your work and that is a truth to hang on to. Be encouraged by these words of truth.

      I’m praying that God will comfort you and in time that you will be able to be released from the pain that you experienced.

    2. Ernestly pray for each one of them by name as if they were dear, hurting family members. When anger or pain arises give it to God. Only God knows what their lives are really like even away from work. By your ernest prayers, the enemy will be stopped in his tracks. The Lord may even allow you to tell them you have and are praying for them, the Holy Spirit has made you victorious.

    3. Just read this!
      Because I say things to quickly too
      And speak up when I think I should … but God……. In His wisdom is working on me. He’s telling me to be humble and peaceful….. letting my words be few…. And when I do speak to bless people with encouragement. Humility is tough and I am not always successful…. I challenge you to pray that God will open yours to hear when you need to be silent!
      Joy

  4. Oh, our Loving ABBA,

    Thank YOU so much, for blessing us with the grace to FORGIVE ourselves and others!

    When we get offended at times, YOU remind us that NO ONE is perfect and to bear in mind Eph. 6:12. “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”

    I declare, in Christ Jesus’ powerful Name – 1 John 4:4, for all of us.
    “Ye are of God, my little children, and have overcome them: because greater is HE that is in you than he that is in the world.”

    God our FATHER, has given us the victory as HIS children, to glorify HIM alone.

  5. I have let go and asked for forgiveness. Even though I was accused of doing something I did not do. I chose to be the bigger person and asked to be forgiven. Although they are holding a grudge I am free!

  6. My husband is 7 years younger than me. I have had to go through many of life’s firsts, first.

    Oldest daughter (his stepdaughter) and empty nest syndrome with her. The fears and worries I had for her. Wanting to visit her when she moved far away. Being invalidated, 0 compassion or empathy from my husband.

    Youngest daughter is 12 1/2 years younger so its been awhile. She is making awful choices. We have seen her once in 2 months. We are moving out of the area and he is struggling with the whole empty nest thing…..just like I was. Just like I have been doing with her for the last year and a half. My husband persecuted and blamed me for situations. Not one boundary was I allowed to have in my own home. She destroyed our home to the point no one wants to live here and we are moving. I feel for her, I worry about her. But after a year and a half of my husband saying leave her alone, mind your own business, winding up inpatient because of the worry and pain. And I’m supposed to meet that with empathy and compassion.

    My mother lay dying. I went and visited her and helped with her care. Did I do that with the love and support of my spouse? No. I did that with the words of “you can’t do that, you have responsibilities, you have family to take care of, you have a job, get back to work, you are costing this family $500 everytime you visit your mother.”

    She’s dead now.

    His parents are 81/79. His father molested my oldest daughter.

    I’m supposed to meet all of that with love, compassion, empathy, support.

    I want to. I know what it is to be unsupported, unloved, persecuted, invalidated and made to feel like crap.

    I don’t want to do that to another.

    But I’m so angry and hurt inside.

    Please God help me. Amen

    1. I am walking through a similar situation. My father-in-law sexually abused my daughter. My daughter told me, and I told my husband. Instead of defending my daughter, my husband defended his dad. There has been so much hurt and damage done. Through God’s help, I have forgiven my husband and finally move on in my marriage. My daughter has also forgiven him. She has also forgiven my father-in-law. He apologized to her. She has interactions with him and my mother-in-law now. (Mother-in-law defended him too.) I believe I have forgiven my father-in-law as I am not wanting to punish or get revenge. I am just struggling with seeing him or having a relationship with him. He has not apologized to me for the betrayal/broken trust. I just do not feel that I can be around him now. I’m struggling with knowing if I am right with God in that, or does God want me to have relationship with God.
      I have gone through Lysa TerKuerst’s book, Forgiving What You Can’t Forget. It has helped me a lot. It really helped me in my relationship with my husband. I’m still struggling with my father-in-law. (Perhaps I need to read it again.) I’m still praying and working through the process with him.

  7. In December 2021, I came to closing 4 years of grudges against my husband. I forgave him and the feeling was freeing. The anger I held on, was no longer feeding into my heart.
    Forgiveness is amazing and blessing to have.
    (But sadly since, the sin has been committed repeatedly that I no longer hold grudges or anger, just gave up instead. I’m tired of forgiving same thing over and over when he won’t change. Yes I understand God does the same with us. But so many of us are regretful and repenting when we know we are wrong. But when someone repeatedly make same mistakes but no longer care, it just pointless.)

  8. Thank you for these encouraging words and I am so guilty. I have held onto the grudge for so long that I not sure how and if I can let it go.

  9. I want to let go, but everytime I think I can let go bad feelings and grudges pop their head up again. I feel like a failure. I hold a terrible grudge against my late father. My feelings for my late mother aren’t much better. I pray for strength.

  10. Lord help me.
    My struggle is in how does that look.
    My father-in-law abused my daughter. It has been years now. I believe I have forgiven him. There has been no acknowledgment or apology to me. He has apologized to my husband and even to my daughter. Just not to me. I am struggling because I do not think I want a relationship with him if he will not acknowledge it and apologize to me. Surely he understands that he betrayed my trust by abusing my daughter while I entrusted her in his care. I can let it go and not seek revenge by harming him. I just do not know how relationship can be possible without some acknowledgement to me.
    This is a struggle that I am praying through with God. I need His help.

  11. I had a grudge on this girl. She used to be a friend of my sister Sally. She pretended to be friends with Sally and kinda see Sally’s weakness then turned on Sally and gossiped and slandered my sister. I had a grudge against her for 18 years. I decided to forgive her because I call myself a Christian and to walk the faith. We’re now friends on Facebook.

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