On Resentments...

“Resentment kills a fool” (Job 5.2a). I read this the other day and had to reread it. Resentment. Kills. Really?  It seemed harsh, but I figured I don’t hold on to resentments, so it’s not killing me... Or is it?  I thought back to a day several weeks ago when I unexpectedly ran into somebody who hurt me deeply. Just seeing this person started a churning in my stomach and all the emotions from the hurt began to come back to the surface. “I thought I had dealt with this. I have forgiven her,” I told God at the time. So why did just seeing her arouse anger inside of me?   God showed me that it was resentment. Although I had forgiven her, He pointed out that I still harbored resentment towards her for the hurt and He was now asking me to give it up. According to Job, I am a fool to hold on to it. And it will kill me. So I tried to give it to God. But how do I give up something I wasn’t even aware I was holding on to?  It wasn’t until I saw her and the emotions came flooding back that I realized there was still something unresolved within me. God had to show me that when I fully give it all to Him - the hurt, the rejection, the offense - those churning feelings and anger will pass. But first I had to purpose in my heart not to hold onto the resentment; I had to actively give it to God every time this person and the hurt resurfaced in me.

At this point, the realization came that I probably held on to a lot more resentment than I initially thought. So I got a notebook and pen and asked God to show me everybody I was holding this killer of an emotion towards. I wrote down their names and what they had done to offend me. My list quickly grew quite long as God brought to my remembrance some petty little things I was holding against people I love dearly, and some big things against others that many people would say I had every right to hold a resentment about. It didn’t matter how trivial it seemed or how many years it went back, when God brought the person and event to mind, it went on my list. When I was done, all I could think was “WOW. And I thought I wasn’t harboring any resentments !” It was a very eye-opening experience. God was shining His light into some dark areas of myself and it was quite painful !

As I looked at my finished list, I consciously gave each resentment to God and asked His forgiveness for holding onto them. Some I was able to release immediately. Others weren’t so easy and God showed me I would have to pray for them daily (or even several times a day) before the resentment could be released. Since that time, some people have already fallen off my list and others I am still praying for because it will (honestly) take some time before the resentment fades completely. And the good news is now that I know what resentment looks like, I can give it to God immediately instead of harboring it in my heart and forming a new one.

This process of releasing all resentments has been very freeing, even though some of it is still in progress. I was carrying a burden I wasn’t even aware of and it’s a burden I don’t ever want to pick up again. Resentment kills but God promises freedom when we give it to Him. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free ! Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again...” (Galations 5.1)
Posted by LeAnn Tyer at 1:36 PM

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