The Slippery Slope of Resentment – Hope 103.2

The Slippery Slope of Resentment

By Chris WittsTuesday 5 Feb 2019Morning Devotions with Chris Witts

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.

How we handle the hurt that comes to us in life will determine our happiness to a high degree. We can’t avoid the hurt that comes. Every person on earth is going to experience it, and my guess is that you’ve been hurt – somehow or somewhere – and you may often think about it.

Resentment is keeping score on people who have hurt you with the intention someday of getting even, never releasing that person of the debt they owe, because they wronged you, they hurt you, they treated you unfairly.

At work, you may have had an unfortunate experience with a colleague who did the wrong thing by you or your parents, let you down badly when you were young, and you’ve never forgiven them. Or a close friend betrayed you by sharing a confidence you didn’t want them to share. They couldn’t keep quiet, and others think poorly of you.

“Surely resentment destroys the fool” Job 5:2

Harbouring resentment is a very unhealthy way to live yet many of us continue to live like this. We may be full of bitterness on the inside but acting or trying to act like nothing’s wrong. Is that a good and healthy choice? No, I don’t think so.

There’s a verse in the Bible in Job 5:2 which says “Surely resentment destroys the fool”. It’s a fantastic word from God’s word and should be printed on bumper stickers everywhere. They are powerful words.

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Why do some people wrap themselves in knots keeping resentment alive for years and all the while the person of their attack has no idea what’s going on? What’s the point?

Psychologists point out the dangerous and toxic elements of resentment. It seethes away at a person’s most profound level. Sometimes we are not aware of what is going on it lies festering away and affects everything we do, say, and think just like cancer or a smouldering fire that never gets extinguished.

When you are offended or disappointed by others and allow the hurt to germinate in your heart, bitterness and resentment will take root. Characterised by an unforgiving spirit and generally negative, critical attitudes, bitterness and resentment are self-defeating. They will colour your conscious and unconscious thoughts and actions. Nobody wins.

We are like a little boy who was saying his prayers. As he went down the list of his family, asking God to bless them, he did not include his brother’s name. His mother said to him, “Why didn’t you pray for Cliff?” He said, “I’m not going to ask God to bless Cliff because he hit me.” And his mother said, “Don’t you remember Jesus said to forgive your enemies?” But the little boy said, “That’s just the trouble. He’s not my enemy; he’s my brother!”

Some wise person said, “Don’t let your emotions drive your train. They will always derail you.”

Resentment is especially deadly because it views the real person, whose fault is being kept alive, through a lens affected by anger. And it may be the wrong view of that person because you are so angry and resentful and you miss out seeing their good points. We must learn to let go of the slippery slope of resentment even if you feel justified. The reality is resentments never resolve themselves. Sometimes I am not even aware I am resentful. Joyce Meyer once said, “If you’re not certain if you have resentment, imagine the person who hurt you, walking towards you. Would you want to cross over on the other side of the street?” The good news is, no matter how long we have harboured bitterness, it’s never too late to forgive.

Some wise person said, “Don’t let your emotions drive your train. They will always derail you.”

I like that statement. Life is too short for such destructive emotions. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:31 “Don’t be mean. Bad tempered and angry. Quarrelling, harsh words and dislike of others should have no place in your lives” (Living Bible).

Four things happen to you if you don’t constructively deal with your resentment.

  1. Your heart is hardened
  2. You become isolated from others. They don’t want to be with you
  3. Your perspective is blurred
  4. Your own happiness takes a tumble. You feel miserable and unhappy all the time. Resentment sucks the oxygen out of your air.

Resentment doesn’t change anything except us. It ushers in bitterness and leads to rage.

Resentment grows into anger and anger doesn’t serve us, it chains us up and keeps us from feeling free. Really, when you think about it, it is just plain counter-productive. We believe we are the ones holding on to anger, but after a while, it is anger that has a hold on us. It doesn’t make our lives better, it just makes us more bitter.

Resentment doesn’t change anything except us. It ushers in bitterness and leads to rage. Resentment only makes a situation worse, and it always brings out our worst.

The psalmist said it best: “Stop your anger. Turn off your wrath. Don’t fret and worry – it only leads to harm” (Psalm 37:8)

Resentment doesn’t enhance any of our relationships. Rather, it separates us from others. Even if we never say a word out loud, resentment creates a silent awkwardness that can explode into anger when we least expect it. It is just not worth it. If we are willing to let go of resentment, then resentment can’t grow within us and destroy us – and our relationships.

Are you harbouring resentment? Ask yourself these questions

  1. Is there bitterness building up inside of you because you feel life has been unfair to you?
  2. Is there someone you detest because you think they have it so easy while you have it so hard?

If you answered yes to one of these questions, it’s very possible that resentment has its ugly claws in you and you need to do something about it before bitterness and hate take control of your life.

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