Tag Archives: bitterness

Wrestling With Resentment

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!



Forgiveness and Grace

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  Colossians 3:13

I’m not always quick to forgive.  In fact, more often than not, I’ve allowed unforgiveness to sit in my heart, much to my own detriment.  (I’m working on that.)  One notable exception was in response to an event that happened a few years ago.

Back at that time, my church family received news that was pretty nearly devastating to our hearts.  It came to light that two of the leaders of my church had had an inappropriate relationship with each other and they were being removed from their positions.  I will never forget the night that that announcement was made, because the Lord immediately whispered to my heart, “Forgive them, right NOW.”  Like a flash, I could see in my mind’s eye all the things that I had done that the Lord (and others) had forgiven me for, and I forgave them then and there, on the spot, no questions asked.  I’m so glad I did!  I’ve been free of the bitterness that comes from being unforgiving.  Even more importantly, I’ve been able to freely offer grace to these two leaders.

In spite of my quickness to forgive in that particular circumstance, I still struggle quite often to offer forgiveness when I’ve been hurt.  It seems easier and safer to build walls between myself and the one who hurt me than it is to remember all that I’ve been forgiven and to extend that same forgiveness to someone else.  How ridiculous to do this in spite of what I’ve learned about forgiveness!

Here are two important things I’ve learned about forgiveness:

  1. Forgiveness is ALWAYS given to someone who doesn’t deserve it.  Whatever was done to you has real consequences and has caused real pain and loss.  There’s nothing the other party can do to undo what was done or to make up for it.  Forgiving them doesn’t mean that what they did was okay – it simply means that you’re choosing to let Jesus pay the price for what was done instead of exacting payment from the offending party.
  2. Unforgiveness blocks the flow of God’s love through you to others.  Wow.  Did you hear that?  By extending grace to someone who has wronged you, you are allowing the love of the Holy Spirit to witness to someone else, and you can actually block that love by withholding forgiveness.  They don’t get to experience God’s grace and mercy by your holding what they’ve done over their heads.  Sometimes I’ve even had to offer forgiveness to myself for things that I have done so that I can live more fully in the love of my Father!

The Lord has been challenging me more and more to be quicker to forgive, and I’ve been the recipient of many opportunities to practice forgiveness.  I don’t know that I’ve gotten any better at it, just to be honest, but as I said, I’m working on it.  I do know that I’m more and more aware of the bitterness of heart that comes from unforgiveness.  That bitterness is ugly and gross and is ill-fitting on me as a child of God. I want to be someone who forgives quickly and completely, and who seeks forgiveness quickly from others.

These are some of the barriers that Jesus and I have been working on in these past weeks, as well as other challenges, and I would appreciate your prayers.  I would also love to pray for you if you struggle to offer forgiveness to anyone.  Please feel free to leave a comment below or to contact me through Twitter at @AdventuresInGr1 and I’ll gladly pray for you in this, too.  Thanks for reading and for being on this journey too!