Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions. (Airing daily on Hope 103.2 and Inspire Digital at 9am)
What does this word ‘resentment’ really mean? It actually means a sense of indignation or ill-will felt as a result of a real or imagined offence. Have you ever been offended and hurt? I’m sure you have.
It happens a lot, and it’s a fact in life that you are going to be hurt from time to time by people who hurt you intentionally, or by people who hurt you unintentionally, but you are going to be hurt. Sometimes those closest to us hurt us the most, even when they don’t mean to. How we handle the hurt that comes to us in life will determine our happiness to a great degree.
We can’t avoid the hurt that comes. Every person on earth is going to experience it and we all need help to deal with it. I have a feeling there are many bitter people who have lived years of twisted pain, not willing to let go of the fact that someone hurt them. But it can destroy them emotionally. The Alcoholics Anonymous book One Day at a Time In Al-Anon says:
The best antidote for resentment is the continual practice of gratitude…I allow my mind to keep filled with grievances, and the more I think of them the bigger they loom…I control these thinking times. If I meditate on what is good in my life, it will increase day by day and crowd out the self-pity and resentment over what I lack and what is hurting me.
What wonderful advice for anyone!
Well-known psychiatrist and author Dr M. Scott Peck had to face this when his first manuscript was returned to him with about 10,000 different corrections. He was astounded and shocked but after a while he realised his editor had given him a gift—a gift of attention to detail, a gift he himself did not have.
He let go of his resentment and realised it was a gift of love. He wrote another book called In Search of Stones talking about grace and gratitude:
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Grace, however, is unearned. It is free. It is gratis. So we have three words: grace, gratis, and gratitude. They flow into each other. If you receive grace you will naturally feel grateful…those who perceive grace in the world are more likely to be grateful than those who don’t. And grateful people are more likely to make others happy. Feeling given to by the world, they feel more predisposed to give back to the world.
Love Does Not Keep Accounts
The Bible says we should always respond in love, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a says:
Love is patient and kind, never jealous, boastful, or rude. Love is not selfish or quick tempered. It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs that others do. Love rejoices in the truth,..love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful and trusting. Love never fails.
And if we respond in love, we are responding as mature people. And when we respond in love, love does not keep accounts. It does not remember that debt that is owed. It does not keep score of that person who has hurt you.
If you don’t learn to love in a marriage relationship, resentment will build. Many times people come to say, I have no feelings for my husband or my wife. I am just dead on the inside as far as my feelings are concerned. I don’t hate them; I just don’t feel anything. Well, that is exactly what resentment will do. If it is not dealt with, if it is not countered, if it is not treated with love, resentment will build until it kills the love that existed in a relationship between a man and a wife.
It will eat up the energy that you have for living life and for being up to the challenge of life. And you become emotionally empty and you have nothing to give because of the power of resentment in your life.
(To be continued in Are you Driven by Resentment? – Part 2)