Squash the Beef
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord (Leviticus 19:18).
During a promotional event, two 73-year-old former Canadian Football League players got into a fistfight on stage. They had a “beef” (a grudge or feud between friends, family members, or enemies) dating back to a controversial championship football game in November 1963. After one of the senior citizens knocked the other off the stage, the crowd yelled at him to “let it go!” In essence, they were telling him to “squash the beef.”
The Bible is riddled with examples of people “beefing.” Cain held a grudge against his brother Abel, because God accepted Abel’s offering over his. This grudge was so severe that it eventually led to murder (Genesis 4:4).
Esau held a grudge against Jacob because Jacob stole the birthright that was rightfully his (27:41). The wronged brother’s grudge was so intense that it caused Jacob to run for his life in fear.
Joseph’s brothers held a grudge against him because he was favored and more deeply loved by their father Jacob. Their grudge led to intense hatred and would have led to murder, had it not been averted by one of the brothers (37:18-20). Joseph’s brothers were so controlled by fear and guilt that they assumed he would hold a grudge and exact revenge against them for selling him into slavery (50:15).
In each of these cases a person or persons had a persistent feeling of ill will against another—the lingering effects of injury or insult.
Not only is the Bible littered with examples of people who held grudges, it’s also replete with instructions on how to “squash the beef.” God instructs His people to love (Leviticus 19:18), pray for, and forgive people who insult and injure (Romans 12:14), live peaceably with all people (v.18), leave revenge to God (v.19), and overcome evil with good (v.21).
Read Genesis 33:1 and jot down some lessons from two people who squashed the beef.
Have you ever held a grudge? Against whom and for what? How did you resolve the issue? How does squashing your beefs bring glory to God?