Freedom from Resentment through Forgiveness

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.

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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
resentment.

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
needed it.

[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

(Proverbs 17:22).

Forgiveness Prayer

     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.

Discussion

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?

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For the past 18 years, Dr. Tai Ikomi has been sharing her testimony of how she forgave the drunk who killed her husband and three children on an interstate highway Platte city, in Missouri. She travels all over the world sharing the grace of God on her shattered emotions over her tremendous loss and the power to forgive the drunk. Three years after her loss, she published her best seller and first book, His Beauty For My Ashes, an account of how the grace of God healed her wounded spirit and gave her a new lease in life. The book has become a classic book to help people who lose their loved ones. After years of sharing her testimony of forgiveness, she released her first book on Forgiveness in 1998, titled, The Virtue of Forgiveness. In 2009, she released another book on the same subject, titled, Effective Forgiveness. The book takes a practical at forgiveness and how to weave it into daily living with practical insights and suggestions from Scriptures. A great reading. Dr. Ikomi holds a B.A. degree in French from Universite du Benin, Lome Togo in 1976 an M.A. degree in Theology from Oral Roberts University in 1991. She also holds a doctorate degree in Theology. She has written over 30 books covering various issues of victorious Christian living. Dr. Ikomi speaks in conferences, churches, universities on Effective Forgiveness and other practical issues of the Christian life. She presents the God, who is not only about to comfort us in our affliction but who also can turn any situation around.