What Does The Bible Say About Holding Grudges

Holding Grudges

The idea of ‘holding grudges’ has been a common discussion point in Christian circles for centuries. Popular sayings such as ‘forgive and forget’ and ‘turn the other cheek’ have caused much debate and confusion regarding how the Bible speaks about grudges. While there is some disagreement among Christians on the practice of grudge-holding, the Bible does offer some clear insights.
The Bible is clear that remaining angry and holding a grudge can be detrimental to our spiritual lives. In Ephesians 4:26-27, Paul writes: “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” Paul’s words remind us that allowing anger and bitterness to simmer can serve as an open door to sin. We must be careful not to allow ourselves to drift into a mindset of bitterness and resentment.
Furthermore, Jesus warns us not to let anger fester, telling us in Matthew 5:23: “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Jesus makes it clear that if our relationship with someone is fractured due to a grudge, we must take the initiative to make things right.


Reconciliation is a key theme in the Bible when it comes to grudges. The Bible advises us to forgive ‘seventy times seven’ (Matthew 18:22) and encourages us to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). It portrays grievances as opportunities for Christians to demonstrate Christ’s love and grace to those around us, showing kindness even in the face of hurt.
Forgiveness from a Christian perspective is not simply a nice sentiment; it is part of our calling as Christians. Jesus, in telling the parable of the debtors (Matthew 18:23-35), emphasizes that as forgiven believers, we must learn to forgive those who hurt us. Further, in the same passage, Jesus tells us that, if we are unwilling to forgive, we will be subject to the same punishment our offender deserves.


Humility is another key component of forgiveness. Jesus opened his prayer to Peter with the words “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee upon the waters” (Matthew 14:28). This was an expression of Peter’s humility as he put his fate in the hands of Jesus. In the same way, Christians must humble ourselves and accept the opportunity to forgive, as it is a divine act that can heal broken relationships.
Grace is also a key component of forgiveness. Jesus showed grace to those around him throughout his life on earth and encourages us to do the same. We are told not to seek revenge and to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2).


A major component of forgiveness is self-control. We are told in Proverbs 16:32, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” Moreover, we read in James 1:19-20, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” The Bible encourages us to take a moment to reflect before we respond with anger, to give ourselves time to consider the situation and determine the best way to proceed.

Striving For Holiness

Forgiveness can lead us back to holiness. Colossians 3:13 states “bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” To ‘forgive as the Lord forgave us’ is to strive for holiness. We are called to demonstrate the same attitude of forgiveness that Jesus demonstrated to us on the cross.

True Freedom

The Bible speaks of true freedom that comes from forgiveness. In Hebrews 12:15, we read: “Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” When we take the time to forgive, we become free from the grasp of bitter feelings. We can move forward, free to have healthy relationships with others.

Love, Joy, Peace

By following the Bible’s principles on forgiveness, we can begin to experience deeper unity and love among those around us. As we forgive others, we can experience the joy (Galatians 5:22) and peace (Galatians 5:22) that comes when relationships are reconciled.

Kingdom of God

The Bible encourages us to be witnesses of the Kingdom of God (Mark 16:15) and the notion of forgiveness is the foundation of this Kingdom. In his death, Jesus conquered our sins by exemplifying God’s love and forgiveness. Embracing the principles of forgiveness is essential for achieving greater unity and brings us closer to achieving God’s will and purpose for his Kingdom.

Maturity and Wisdom

Forgiveness is part of God’s process of maturing his children. As we forgive others in the same way that God has forgiven us, we recognize our own need for grace. We can experience greater wisdom as we seek to resolve conflicts and forgive those who have hurt us.

Heroic Action

The Bible speaks repeatedly of heroic action as an example of what is possible for believers. Ephesians 3:20 states: “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” When we put the Gospel into practice and live out the commandment to forgive one another, we can do a heroic deed in the spirit of Christ.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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