31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Ephesians 4:31
Resentment: (Noun.) Bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly. Synonym: Bitterness
A couple of months ago, a friend invited me to come to a class that she would be co-leading at Celebrate Recovery that was called “Life’s Healing Choices”. It’s based on the book by that name. I heard the Lord whisper to me to go, so I did. I wasn’t sure at first what exactly I was supposed to work on, but it quickly became apparent that I needed to work on removing resentment from my heart.
I admit that I didn’t think I had much work to do in this area. I have been part of recovery ministries before and have been through the steps, including the fourth step where you make an inventory of all of your resentments so that in later steps you can forgive the perpetrator and make amends where you need to do so. Through that experience, I had forgiven the guy who raped me in high school and some other really big offenses. I thought I might find a few resentments from recent years but I didn’t expect to find resentments from years gone by.
Boy, was I wrong!
Just making my list of resentments has been eye-opening for me. I asked the Lord to guide me in that process and to show me the true state of my heart, and I’m sorry to say that there are lots of old injuries still there. Some of them are such small things…things like a kid who hurt my feelings on the playground one day in elementary school. “Really, God?” I thought. “That was so long ago and really isn’t of any consequence today.” The Lord answered with a question of His own: “It may be a small thing, but how much resentment do you really think it is okay to have in your heart?”
It then dawned on me that allowing ANY degree of resentment to stay in my heart was going to continue to leach poison into my soul. This poison threatens all of my relationships. I quickly decided I don’t want any of that.
In addition, the Lord has revealed some larger resentments to me. I’ve dismissed them before as, “Oh, that’s just who he/she is, and I’ve learned to live with it.” The fact is, though, that the underlying wounds have not been adequately healed, even though some of these are decades old. It’s time to let Him heal those wounds and let go of the resentment that festers in deep, dark, hidden places of my heart.
I am now finishing up my list of resentments with the Lord’s help. New or old, I want to get these dealt with. I want to be a person who keeps short accounts, dealing with resentments as quickly as they appear and forgiving instantly. I don’t want my heart to be a toxic soup of resentment and bitterness and anger; it’s already had way too much of that over the years.
And here’s the thing…carrying resentment is heavy, y’all. We were not designed to drag that kind of weight through our lives. Thanks to Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection, we don’t have to carry it any longer – it has been nailed to the cross with Him!
It’s time to make amends to as many people as I can for my past resentments and to move forward into the freedom that the Lord has for me as soon as I can. I can’t wait for more freedom! Amen!