by Niki Turner
For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you.Giving up resentment. That was my assignment this week, my heavenly "prescription" for some things that have been ailing me. Excuse the cliche, please, but I'm finding it a surprisingly difficult pill to swallow.
Matt 6:14 AMP
And even if he sins against you seven times in a day, and turns to you seven times and says, I repent [I am sorry], you must forgive him (give up resentment and consider the offense as recalled and annulled).
Luke 17:4 AMP
Immediately after these instructions, Christ's disciples requested more faith.
Why is it so hard? Because resentment — like a colorless, odorless, deadly gas — permeates human nature to the point we fail to acknowledge it as a toxin, as something contrary to the kind of life Jesus came to give us. We're so accustomed to it we no longer resist it.
Here's the definition of resentment from Webster's Dictionary, circa 1828:
1. The excitement of passion which proceeds from a sense of wrong offered to ourselves, or to those who are connected with us; anger. This word usually expresses less excitement than anger, though it is often synonymous with it. It expresses much less than wrath, exasperation, and indignation. In this use, resentment is not the sense or perception of injury, but the excitement which is the effect of it.In case you're still contemplating Webster's definition (like I was) here are some synonyms for resentment (from Roget's Thesaurus): acerbity, animosity, annoyance, antagonism, bitterness, cynicism, displeasure, exasperation, fury, grudge, huff, ill feeling, ill will, ire, irritation, malice, malignity, outrage, perturbation, pique, rage, rancor, spite, vexation, wrath.
Now, check your Facebook page and your email and your Twitter feed and the evening news... how much "excitement which is the effect of a sense of wrong on behalf of yourself or others" do you see? We've got liberals outraged by conservatives, Republicans irritated with Democrats, wives exasperated with husbands (ever been there?), children antagonizing parents and parents annoying children, employees showing up at work every day full of malice toward their bosses, bosses full of ire and indignation toward their employees, rich folks who hate poor folks, poor folks bitter about rich folks... the list goes on, and on, and on, until Jesus comes back, probably.
Daily, we mask the resentment we carry under humor or irony or sarcasm. Worse, we bury it deep down on the inside, in our soul, and hide all those feelings under a blanket of religious niceties until we can't stand it anymore, or some negative thing erupts in our body or mind and we have to deal with it in the form of some physical ailment or mental/emotional breakdown. The human body was not designed to harbor such things. It's like Kryptonite to the God-birthed spirit.
Resentment is like a weed. Or a virus. It's sneaky. It creeps in and hitches on to spiritual scar tissue from our past, and then grows like a wild thing, choking out the very fruit of the spirit God designed us to produce naturally.
I resent people in my house who sleep when I have to be awake. People who make bacon and/or waffles in the kitchen while I'm exercising my guts out in the other room. I resent people who leave messes behind and expect someone else to clean them up. I resent people who seem to have more money than brains. People who show up unannounced and expect me to entertain and feed them. I resent people who don't accept responsibility and do the things that need to be done without being told (Can you tell I live with teenage boys?). And so on.
And that's how I got in trouble with Abba Father this week, because I've let myself slip back into some old habits of irritation, aggravation, frustration, and offense. It has caused irritation and inflammation in my physical body and had a negative effect on my mind and emotions.
And the Holy Spirit speaks up on the inside and says, "Let it go, it's not worth it."
Because even if I'm right (and don't we always believe we're right?), becoming resentful and offended will put me in the wrong, outside of God's will, beyond His grace and blessing.
Niki Turner is a writer, former pastor's wife, mother of four, and grandmother of two. She has thus far been unsuccessful at coming up with catchy taglines for her writing, her purpose in life, or what she hopes to achieve in the future. Suggestions are welcome.