Remix: Student Devotionals

Fruit of the Spirit - Week 4, Day 1

Day 1: Joy Killer #3: Holding a Grudge (Forgive Others)

Did you know if you hold a grudge against someone else, you will not have joy? I read a story about a man who was bitten by a dog. When he learned the dog had rabies, he began making a list. The doctor told him there was no need to make a will, that rabies could be cured. The man said, "Oh, I'm not making a will. I'm making a list of all the people I want to bite."

Couldn't we all make a list? You've already learned, haven't you, that friends aren't always friendly? Neighbors aren't always neighborly? Some workers never work, and some bosses are always bossy?

You've already learned, haven't you, that a promise made is not always a promise kept? People are going to hurt you. Intentionally and unintentionally. The question is, what are you going to do with all that hurt?

We have a tendency to fight back, don't we? We have a tendency even to bite back. To keep lists and growl at people we don't like, right? We think, "Let's get revenge. Let's hurt them worse than they hurt us."

Little Tim was in the garden filling in a hole when his neighbor peered over the fence. Interested in what the youngster was up to, he politely asked, "What are you up to there, Tim?" Tim tearfully, without looking up at the man, said, "My goldfish died, and I've just buried him."

The neighbor was concerned, "That's an awfully big hole for a goldfish, isn't it?" Tim patted down the last heap of earth, then looked at the man and said, "That's because he's inside your stupid cat."

Now that is funny, but it's not Godly. When we keep a list of all the wrongs that have been done to us, when we refuse to forgive others in the same way that God has forgiven us, it robs us of joy and leaves us bitter and angry.

That list of all the people that you would like to bite, can I tell you something? God wants your list. He wants us to leave the list at the cross. But we look to the heavens and shout, "That's not fair. Look what they did to me!" But God looks at you and says, "But look at what I did for you."
Paul said it this way: "If someone does wrong to you, forgive that person because the Lord forgave you." Colossians 3:13.

If you are not willing to forgive others as Christ has forgiven you and then have the ability to move on with your life, you will never be a joyful person. Forgiving someone else doesn't benefit the person who hurt you; forgiveness always benefits you.

Be quick to forgive, and you will be a joyful person. Leave the anger and the bitterness at the foot of the cross. God promises that He will take care of it, and God can handle what happened to you a lot better than you can.

Time Out:

1. Do you have a list of people in your life that you would like to bite? Write their names down below.


2. Look at those names you just wrote down. What do you want to do with the pain they caused you? Do you want to get revenge and have hatred rule your life, or are you finally ready to release the pain they caused you at the foot of the cross and forgive in the same way that Jesus has forgiven you? All that pain and resentment will only leave you a bitter and joyless person. Don't give those people the satisfaction of taking your joy from you.


3. Look up Romans 12:19-21 and answer the following questions.

  • Whose job is it to take care of what has happened to you?
  • What does God warn us not to do in verse 19?
  • According to verse 20, what should we do for our enemies?
  • What do you think verse 21 means?