Then Joab came to the king, and said, What hast thou done? behold, Abner came unto thee; why is it that thou hast sent him away, and he is quite gone? Thou knowest Abner the son of Ner, that he came to deceive thee, and to know thy going out and thy coming in, and to know all that thou doest. ~2 Samuel 3:24-25
A grudge is a resentment that someone has towards another. It is a feeling of ill will that can turn into bitterness. A grudge can have major consequences on personal relationships, productivity, and one’s fellowship with God. Our devotion this morning centers on a personal and professional grudge that Joab had towards Abner. This passage of Scripture depicts what happens when a grudge is allowed to be unchecked.
There is the face of a grudging spirit.
Grudges will occur because of a spirit of competition or conflict between two people. Abner had been Saul’s military leader for a long time. Abner realized that he was in the wrong and came to David to seek reconciliation and to help align the Benjamites towards David. His spirit and attitude were right. Joab heard about this and felt threatened because he was David’s military leader. He assumed that Abner was a threat to his position and influence. Grudges also occur because of past conflicts. Joab and Abner had a past conflict that resulted in the death of Asahel, Joab’s younger brother. Joab never forgave Abner for this. In his heart, he said, “One day, I’m going to get even.” Grudges also occur because of carnality. Christians who do not submit themselves to God’s Word and to His Spirit live in the flesh and not the Spirit. Every Christian is susceptible to holding grudges against others.
There is the fatality from a grudging spirit.
When Joab found out that Abner reconciled with David, the first thing that he did was approach David and question his judgment on the matter. While speaking with David, Joab was disrespectful of David’s decision and proceeded to slander Abner. Someone in the bondage of a grudge will disparage, slander, and be very critical of the person he holds a grudge against. Joab was so poisoned in his heart against Abner that he took matters into his own hands. He gave the pretense that he welcomed him into the fellowship of all of Israel, but he used this as an opportunity to thrust his sword into him. Abner never saw this coming. Joab was so overcome with his grudge that he allowed this to turn into wrath, which led to murder. A grudge that is not dealt with will eventually lead to a fatality.
There is the fallout from a grudging spirit.
James 5:9 says, “Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.” Holding grudges results in fallout with God. God is ready to judge us for our sin. When David got word about Joab’s treachery, he made it very clear that he was not pleased with what Joab did and that judgment was at the door. “Let it rest on the head of Joab, and on all his father's house; and let there not fail from the house of Joab one that hath an issue, or that is a leper, or that leaneth on a staff, or that falleth on the sword, or that lacketh bread.” That judgment occurred years later when Joab was slain at the altar by Benaiah. Holding grudges will result in a fallout with God and the ruin of your testimony. It will result in the destruction of your productivity, longevity, and remembrance.
Are you holding a grudge? Do you understand the repercussions of living with deep-seated resentment? What should you do? Confess your sin, humble yourself, and then, let it go! Make right with the one you have resentment towards and live in the freedom of forgiveness and love. Be grudge-free!
Have a guiltless God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Jeremiah 7-9