“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor [perpetual animosity, resentment, and strife, fault-finding] and slander be put away from, along with every kind of malice [all spitefulness, verbal abuse, malevolence]. Be kind and helpful to one another, tenderhearted [compassionate, understanding] forgiving one another [readily and freely], just as God in Christ also forgave you.”
& 32 (Amplified)
The Apostle Paul begins this chapter by encouraging the believers in the Ephesian church to act in godly character, moral courage, personal integrity, humility and unity of the Spirit.
He closes it by exhorting the believers to let go of damaging and destructive attitudes, one of which is resentment. Operating in perpetual resentment, which I believe is a heart condition, could hold up or even stop the benefits and blessings God has in store for us.
Today, I’ve chosen to highlight the word “resentment” because it seems that our society has begun to operate under very angry, awful and horrific conditions. We are constantly experiencing and seeing tremendous acts of violence and unrest based on someone’s offensive actions or words.
Whether perceived or real, hatred in homes, for government institutions and religious beliefs has increased and intensified almost on a daily basis. Webster’s defines resentment as “a feeling of indignation displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult or injury.”
Another definition says that resentment is “bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly.” Therefore whenever resentment is used, it indicates a state of bitterness or indignation. Concerning bitterness, the book of Hebrews 12 and 15 says that we should “See to it that no one falls short of God’s grace: that no root of bitterness (resentment) spring up and causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;” It’s important that the feeling of resentment be denied and stopped before it can hurt others, even ourselves, permanently.
At some time or another, we’ve all had that “feeling or been” the object of insults, mistreatment, wrongdoing and unfairness. Although in some circumstances, many times these acts of unfairness and ill-treatment have caused us to gain a better understanding of God’s purpose and will for our lives. However, until we are willing to let these feelings and actions go, whether unjust or not, we might hamper our ability to move forward and progress.
As members of the faith and values community, it is important that we not let resentments, such as past hurts, misunderstanding, grief and pain, control and direct our daily lives. It’s like putting a derailed train back on the track. Although it looks like an impossible mess, with the right equipment, tools and personnel, the thing that caused resentments can be moved and the train can continue on to its final destination. For the believer, that’s going home to be with God. …
Finally, in the words of one of my childhood heroes, Deputy Barney Fife of The Andy Griffith Show, we must “nip it in the bud,” which means to eliminate resentment at the root. This can be especially a sad commentary when it comes to people who declare to love and know God but still carry a wrathful spirit.
If we as a society are ever going to survive and thrive, we need to stop harboring resentment, whether past or present.
Therefore, I encourage you to please, with the help of God, LET IT GO!
Henry Badie Jr., the associate minister of Pentecostal Temple Church of God in Christ in Florence, is a member of the Morning News’ Faith & Values Advisory Board. Contact him and other board members at email@example.com.