About eight years ago, I overheard another secretary describe the quality of my work in a condescending manner to one of the attorneys at our firm. If not for all the time they spent fixing my mistakes, she told him, her attorney would have a fit.
I don’t know if she knew I was sitting very quietly, listening in the next cubicle. Anxiety, fear, and rage flooded my mind.
During the first year at the firm, I went home every night wondering if I would be let go the next day. I was the float, the extra help. Every day I struggled to find enough work to do. The one exception was the work that needed to be done for this secretary’s attorney. He had three secretaries, and they were always a month behind in dictation. That was the pot calling the kettle black, I thought!
That weekend, I attended a retreat with my kids. We sang songs and heard wonderful, moving messages. But all I could think about was what she said about me. I was consumed by anger and anxiety.
Then in a moment of clarity, the Spirit showed me I was building an altar to my hurt, rage, and anxiety. Her hurtful comment had become an idol. I kept offering myself and my thoughts to it over and over. I realized I was worshiping a false god. By God’s power, I was able to repent and worship the only true God. What a weekend of blessing it turned out to be.
Holding a grudge is incredibly destructive, poisoning the soul and consuming the ones who are held in its grip. Grudge worshipers even evangelize others. I have seen this type of idol worship destroy churches, as one group of members tries to convince others to be on their side.
Only the power of God can release us from slavery to our idols. Our victory is not dependent on our strength and determination. We need only to turn away (repent) and call on the living God to release us from the grip of this idol and forgive those who offend us.
Jesus came to set the captives free.
“He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free (Luke 4:18b – NIV)