Holding On ….
"Holding on" is a characteristic that can define us as individuals. As we hold on and press into God, we develop our spiritual muscles. This results in tenacity in His Word and in His promises which sustain us through tough times. We will not waver but will become men and women of God. And our children, and our children’s children, will be blessed with a Godly heritage. They and we will be blessed.
There is a negative side of holding on. Regardless of where we turn, we see examples of people who are irritated or bitter. No one is exempt. Each of us struggles with “letting go” of things that we should let go of quickly. For some these are little grievances that rub us the wrong way; for others they are major offenses.
History is full of illustrations of people who allowed grudges to turn into bitterness, which turned into feudal wars – generational curses which impact not only the individual who is holding on but also future generations. And it doesn’t stop there: grievances also impact others around us.
1). Perhaps the best known example is the Biblical Sarah. She allowed a grudge to develop between her and Hagar, which eventually led to Hagar and Ishmael’s being “ex-communicated” and sent away. Ishmael’s and Hagar’s rejection and bitterness continued to fester until it became the hatred we see today in the Middle East. In 1957, just 9 years after Israel became a country, Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Gold Meir said “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.” Holding on to bitterness has caused mothers and fathers to sacrifice their own. Irrational actions develop when we do not exercise forgiveness.
2). A classic American example is the Hatfield and the McCoy feud, which lasted from 1863-1891. This epoch of fierce pride, vengeance, and murder lasted for 27 years and resulted in the deaths of many of their children. Why did these two families hate each other? Because of a difference during the Civil War which was rekindled during a dispute of a pig’s ownership. Thirteen people were killed, eight jailed, one hanged in the war between the Hatfields and the McCoys. And others died as a result of wounds during this era. All because of a pig’s ownership! In 2003, an official truce was drawn between the families.
Life in the Middle East would be very different today had resentment not been allowed to fester. Let each of us follow the example of making peace as the Hatfields and McCoys finally did. But let us do so quickly before our children and grandchildren, others, and we ourselves get hurt.
· “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God,” Matt 5:9, NIV.
· "Settle matters quickly with your adversary…,” Matt 5:25a, NIV.
· “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many,” Heb 12:14-15, NIV.
“Almighty God. Help each of us to make peace with those who misunderstand us, those who have hurt us. Thank You for these vivid illustrations of how grudges can turn into hatred and murder.
Lord, not by our feelings, but as an act of obedience to You, we lay aside these differences and these hurts. Forgive us and those who have hurt us. We pray for Your healing touch on these situations. Thank You for helping us to daily resist rekindling these flames of offence. Lord, we are thankful that You died that we might experience Your new mercies every morning.
We pray for Your peace over J’lem – Your true peace. Turn the hearts of Americans to You, our King. Bless our servicemen. We pray that Natan and those serving with him will return home quickly and that You will heal their bodies and minds – spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically – that they will be stronger than when they deployed.
In Your most loving Name, we pray.”