I was reading an article recently that talked about resentment.
This piece said that resentment can display as irritability, a judgmental attitude, anger, and/or frustration.
That made me think. I usually view resentment as a deep-seated disgust, lengthy in duration and nasty in scope. That a judgmental thought that comes and goes pretty quickly could be viewed as resentment was revealing.
For me, three things stick out when thinking about resentment.
1 Its a waste of my time.
Most of the time that person I’m resentful toward doesn’t even know I’m fretting about the situation that lit the flame of my resentment. If they don’t worry about it, why should I? My time is better spent building relationships with others who are on the same page as me, or at least operating with a little bit more sensitivity than those who are perpetrating hurt and totally oblivious to their harmful actions toward others.
2 It keeps me from drawing close to God.
King David penned the psalm that said, “Against You, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.” Psalm 51:4 I wonder if he wrote those words after he had committed adultery, had a husband murdered, and schemed to cover it all up. I always wondered how David could have apologized only to God and felt good about it, but now I understand that when we sin, we offend most the Holy God who made us. Resentments harbored turn into sin that separates me from the One that created any harmony I ever felt in my life. Separation is not worth the price. I’d rather forgive, than hold onto it.
3 It hinders my ministry efforts.
I love helping others. I work in a position that makes it possible for me to help others every day. I go to a church that has a heart for helping others. I spend myself in the service of other people, and I like life lived that way. When I hold onto resentments it hinders my ministry efforts. How does it do so? By keeping me busy with hatred’s heavy load, and by distracting me away from the conservation of emotional energy which can be funneled into greater and greater levels of help.
Resentment is emotionally draining! Anyone who has tried it for a while knows I’m right when I say that. I don’t want to give up valuable stores of energy at my time in life, so I’ve given up resentment instead. It makes sense to me, and it’s a good trade off in a life where you cannot have it all, no matter who says you can.
Today, I’m learning how to give up on resentment and do it quicker, more effectively, and for a longer span of time. Occasionally I will pick up another resentment, and along with it the temptation to harbor it and hide it from the piercing Sword of the Lord, who is set to do it harm. When that happens, I pray. I also ask others to listen to me while I whine a little and then pray with me for the resentment to be expunged. I’m not free of resentments allure–far from it–but these days I know a murderous resentment when I see it, and I take immediate action to put in down.
What resentment are you harboring today? How has your faith in God’s provision helped you let go of destructive resentment?