Nursing a Grievance
Have you never had a grievance—a real, substantial grievance ? Were you never wronged in pocket or reputation ? Were you never wounded in the house of your friends ? Has no Christian brother ever treated you unjustly or unkindly ? and they will neither admit it, confess it, nor repair it. Well now you have a grievance : a fair, legitimate, honest grievance. You have solid ground for complaint. Now what do you do with your grievance ? Do you nurse it ? Do yon brood over it ? Do you press it close to your bosom to keep it warm ? Do you listen to its cries and complaints ? And do you feed it that it may thrive and grow and get stronger and stronger ?
lie honest with yourself and see how matters really stand between the Lord and your soul. Do you not find that this overgrown child which you so carefully nurse, which is scarcely ever out of your arms and never out of your mind u secretly draining away Ike life of your soul. Where is your patience, your forbearance, your broken contrite heart, your submission to the will of God, your brotherly love, your meekness and quietness, your forgiving spirit, your Godly fear of displeasing the Lord by hating your brother, your obedience to the gospel precepts ?
You have been wronged, grievously wronged ; well, all the more reason why you should show the Christian spirit by forgiving those who have wronged you. Will you never forgive } Will you go down to the grave in your unforgiving spirit ? Will you nurse your child till, like a spoilt child, it becomes your master, and ends in robbing you of all you possess worth having i Do you not see how lean you are getting ? Do you not find how barren your soul is, what little access you have to God in prayer, what little enjoyment of His presence and smiles of His face ? But why all this darkness ? Is there not a cause ? Do not these increase the more you brood over your wrongs ? And should not this lead you to fear lest you be holding an enemy of God in your bosom ?
Could you see your real case, you would find that you are nursing enmity, pride and set/righteousness ; that you are walking contrary to the precepts of the gospel ; and that you are acting against the mind and example of Christ who forgave His murderers ; and yet you who call yourself a Christian, cannot forgive your brother ! " Yes, but he has treated me so unkindly, so cruelly, so unjustly." All the more reason why you should forgive him. " But he has acted so inconsistently." Well, reprove him for it; but let not his sin be an occasion for you to sin too.
1 dare say you think you have more grace than he, for you are sure you would not have treated him as he has treated you. Then show the superiority of your grace by freely forgiving him. if you believe him to be a brother. Hut whether you have sufficient grace for this or not, take this friendly piece of advice, if you can— do not nurse your grievance ; for depend upon it, you can only do so, to the eventual grief of your own soul, to the inflicting upon yourself of a deeper wrong than that from which you are suffering, and an injury worse than any that your worst enemy could inflict upon you. And don't forget the Lord's words in Matt. 18. 35. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
(Condensed from The Gospel Standard 1864.)