Another benefit of forgiveness is freedom from resentment. Indeed, resentment
offers us nothing good. A life free from resentment is a life to be envied.
For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the
sorrow of the world worketh death
(2 Corinthians 7:10).
What resentment does to us
What is resentment? Resentment comes from a French verb, resentir, which
means to feel again. Merriam-Webster defines resentment as a “lingering ill will
towards a person for a real or imagined wrong.” Resentment therefore means to
have lingering anger, hurt, pain, and frustration related to a real or perceived
offense. According to this definition, resentment, among other things, makes these
negative painful emotions linger. Let us take a closer look at some of the facets of
Being unforgiving makes us
hold on to lingering negative feelings
Refusing to forgive gives birth to negative emotions that will not go away.
Because the offender is not released, these emotions of anger, hurt, and
restlessness will linger in the heart, causing us much discomfort. Some of us have
had these negative emotions lingering in our heart for so many years, sometimes
even from childhood.
We resent our sister because our parents gave her preferential treatment when
the fault is not even hers. We resent our parents for not giving us the attention that
our other siblings had. We have been angry with them for years, bursting out in
bouts of angry words at the least provocation or refusing to help them when they
[He that is] slow to anger [is] better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city (Proverbs 16:32).
Perhaps it was our friend who did not help us when we needed her help. Or
she did not return the money we lent to her. And even if she eventually pays us
back, we may still be upset with her for not doing it sooner. The offense is now
resolved and in the past, but anger and hurt linger within us. Before long, this
pervasive anger becomes rooted deep within us. It is now part and parcel of our
thinking and behavior.
Merely thinking of her may fan the flame our anger.
When someone mentions her name, the hurt reveals itself again.
When we see something or someone who reminds us of her, we become
depressed and restless.
This is the result of resentment generated by an unforgiving spirit. At any given
time, our emotions may come under attack. Resentment is to repeatedly become
upset and feel helpless about it. We can only sulk, unable to control our resentment.
Who wants to live like that? No one. And yet, we are choosing to live like that
when we do not forgive. We live in pain when we do not have to.
The interesting thing is that sometimes we may not even know we are affected
because we are so accustomed to this vicious lifestyle. Our ability to rid ourselves
from this resentment that continuously renews these negative emotions depends
solely on our decision to forgive.
Forgiveness, a better way
Forgiveness by definition is to release our offender from the pain they caused
us. Forgiveness says “Although you are wrong and guilty for what you did to me, I
am releasing you of the charges. I am acquitting you of your guilt. I am no longer
angry with you. It is as if you did no wrong to me. You are free to go. Go. I release
you. I no longer pin your sins onto you. You are free in Jesus’ name.” As we
continue to repeat this, after customizing it to our specific situation, we will soon
experience freedom from resentment. God’s truth sets us free.
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:32).
One of the reasons people would rather hold on to their resentment is because
of a misguided notion we have about forgiveness. Contrary to popular belief,forgiving our offender is not condoning what they did. Forgiveness is not justifying
their action, not by a long shot. It is choosing to stop blaming them for their action.
People ask “What is forgiveness?” This is forgiveness: when we no longer see them
as blameworthy. It is then that we have forgiven them.
Decide today that you will forgive and get rid of this resentment that has
lingered for so long. You will be doing yourself a world of good.
A merry heart doeth good [like] a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones
Father, I pray that I may release those who have hurt me. May I not continue in
my resentment. Help me not to hold on to the negative emotions. I release them,
Lord. Help me to forgive and let them go so that I can be free in Jesus’ name.
1. What are a few ways you can deal with feelings of resentment?
2. How has holding on to resentment hurt you or someone you know?
3. How can God help you with regards to resentment?
4. What is the importance of not equating forgiving with condoning?