Monday, July 29, 2013

Holding A Grudge

King Herod heard of it, for Jesus' name had become known. Some said, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead. That is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” But others said, “He is Elijah.” And others said, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” For it was Herod who had sent and seized John and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, because he had married her. For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife.” And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly.

But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his nobles and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. For when Herodias's daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. And the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.” And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.” And she went out and said to her mother, “For what should I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.” And she came in immediately with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. And immediately the king sent an executioner with orders to bring John's head. He went and beheaded him in the prison and brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb. Mark 6:14-29

Some people can be very mean when they don't get their way. And some people don't like hearing the truth. None of us likes to be reminded of our mistakes. Our faith is based on forgiveness and sacrifice, and we are daily invited to let go of grudges, forgiving one another, setting each other free for service.

John the Baptist lost his head because of a seething grudge. Because he told the truth to power, he was an enemy. Grudges make people want to hurt others, and expel them from their lives. People with power and money can do a great deal of damage, which can last through many generations. God, on the other hand, does not expel anyone, but seeks to bring forgiveness and healing to all. We are invited, in this story of John the Baptist, to understand truth can bring anger and resentment, but that is not God's way.

Today I ask God to help me hold onto nothing negative but rather to put my energy into healing and solutions. May we not be distracted from caring by those who would harm us, but rather, be swept up in God's compassion and God's truth. May we be free of all hate so that we might love fully today.

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