Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Diabolical Power of Resentment

It can arise in seconds and destroy for a life time.  It has the potential to ruin every good and beautiful relationship in the life of a man or woman.  I put it second on my list of the most damaging,
diminishing, paralyzing things against which I must fight for my life.


That coal black, creepy crawly thing from the pit of hell, ready to test, tempt and put us on trial at any moment.

This very week, I'm dealing with the monster.

I was given a few bits of information that I wish I never had.  Believe me when I say that I understand ignorance really isn't bliss, but sometimes being left out of the know is a powerful good thing.

I could feel the heat hit my skin and the blackness climb from my stomach to my brain.  "It's not fair, it's not right....It didn't really happen that way....After all I'VE tried to do..."

I took up an offense but quick, and no one could see it but me.

And God.

I wish I could say I killed that killer, and buried it.  Sometimes resentment must be dealt multiple blows before it dies.  I've hit the sucker a few times.  I hear the voice of Grace saying, "Now, leave it for dead."  It rises up from a beating...but weaker each time.  I'm determined to win this bloody battle, for the sake of my own soul and the souls of those who are sharing this road with me every day.

And especially for the sake of the Captain of my heart, who had every reason to be resentful, ungracious and self righteous.  But never was.  And never is.  He always says to all men at all times:

"See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many."  Hebrews: 12:15

See to it.  See to it.  He will give us the grace, but it's up to us to see to it.  We decide, He reports.  

There are always going to be unfair things, things to offend, things to fertilize the root of bitterness. Our way out is to see to it that we don't get smothered and eventually killed by these dark infiltrators.

How does one do battle with an invisible enemy like resentment?

 I don't have this thing figured out, but I'll share with you what I'm practicing in my own war.

Get on it early.  As soon as you've got the offense, call it what it is, and let the Great One know that you know.  That you see. 

Ask right away for grace to be merciless with your own self pity and manipulation.  

Hit that hideous strength with something stronger still.  The powerful, beautiful, truth of the scriptures.

Determine to act in opposition.  In my case that means finding a way to bless the people involved in the offense.

Every time that half dead animal rises up again, hit it again.  Refuse to climb into bed and get cozy with it.  It might feel good for a minute, but take warning here, it will poison you in your sleep.

“We forgive, we mortify our resentment; a week later some chain of thought carries us back to the original offence and we discover the old resentment blazing away as if nothing had been done about it at all. We need to forgive our brother seventy times seven not only for 490 offences but for one offence. ”

 ~C.S. Lewis

And here's the one so worthy of the season: employ gratitude.  Find something in that source of resentment to be thankful for.  In my case, I'm so grateful to be unblinded from the insecurity in myself, and the jealousy that has to go.  I'm grateful to have my eyes opened to what could keep me from my calling: to encourage and love people in a cold world, and to live out before them the life and light found in Christ.

Finally, remember your own ready ability to be the offender.  This is the tool I find most effective in giving the final death blow to resentment and her twin sister, bitterness.  Think strongly on your own trespasses that have been forgiven, and think little on those of the one you must forgive.  These "self mortifications" are the healthy kind.  Not laboring over them, but facing them.  And remembering the words of the Master of Forgiveness...If you do not forgive others their sins...your Heavenly Father will not forgive yours...

Strong words.  Sobering words. True words.

Your friend on the pilgrim road,


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