It can be extremely difficult to overcome the hurtful things that people say and do. In many cases people hurt us by accident. The infraction is unintentional. They simply do it by mistake. But at other times, the hurtful actions of people can be cold and calculated. Unfortunately, some people take great joy in hurting you on purpose. But either way, the damage caused by hurtful actions is not easily overcome. If not properly addressed, we can easily build up resentment toward the offender. So today, I want to share three ways to overcome resentment.
- Resentment always makes things worse not better! The Bible makes an interesting statement in Job 5:2, which states, “Resentment kills a fool…” In other words, harboring resentment toward a person hurts you much more than in hurts them. In fact, bottled up resentment has been known to adversely impact our physical health. It has also been known to steal our joy. Don’t be foolish. Resist the urge to be consumed by resentment. It will kill your happiness and destroy your peace of mind.
- We have to release the resentment and let it go! The word forgive in the Bible is defined as “to remit a debt.” It simply means that I give up my right to get even or to seek revenge. I think the Bible says it best in Romans 12:19, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: It is mine to avenge; I will repay.” When we release the resentment, we are also releasing all of the built up frustration and bitterness it has caused in our lives. We give it all over to God, allowing Him the opportunity to work in both of our lives, fixing things as He sees fit.
- Just because we forgive doesn’t mean we have to forget! Always remember that forgiveness and trust are two separate issues. To say it another way, just because I forgive you doesn’t mean that the relationship will automatically be restored. Yes, the Bible tells us to forgive, but it doesn’t mean we have to resume a toxic relationship. If reconciliation is going to take place the offender is going to have to apologize, make amends, and correct bad behavior. These three steps are essential to start down the road of recovery. Always remember, it takes time to rebuild trust. Colossians 3:13 states, Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Yes, overcoming resentment can be achieved. We must remember that harboring resentment always makes things worse, not better. We must choose to release the resentment and let go of it. And, we must remember that we can forgive without forgetting what has been done to us. I leave you with the words of Paul found in Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as far as it depend on you, live at peace with everyone.”