A terrible disease of the flesh
Resentment is a very treacherous thing. It is dangerous because it builds so slowly, we often are not even aware of its presence. Resentment kills people, destroys marriages, causes misunderstandings between friends, and is an enemy of all happiness. It is the cause of wars, racial strife, murder, and rape. It can be present in almost every situation in life.
People resent laws, regulations, taxes, governments, employers, foremen, teachers, neighbors, relatives, friends, and their own children. Children resent their parents and the parents resent their children’s resentment of them, and on and on it goes.
Resentment actually kills the resentful person. When we resent someone, we actually hate that person to some degree. That is why the Lord has said those who hate their brother are the same as murderers (1 John 3:15).
When we harbor resentment we feel emotionally disturbed. As we become more resentful, we become more emotionally disturbed and our health deteriorates. We feel bad. Some people drink alcoholic beverages to feel good. Some people take narcotics or lose their minds in lust and pornography. Because people hold resentment, the food they eat doesn’t digest properly. Many have stomach trouble. As resentment burns inside, adrenalin pours through the entire system, poisoning and weakening all the organs of the body.
Resentment actually eats us alive. It devours us from the inside out. It causes sleepless nights, worry, frustration, anxiety and stress. Some people eat more, craving for some pleasures in life, something to soothe a troubled mind. Life sometimes becomes a living hell.
As resentment mounts, frustration mounts. Anxiety and restlessness increase. We become short-tempered. We become angry inside and wild on the outside. On top of all the trouble resentment is causing in our lives, we still have all the other pulls of our human natures to put up with.
The apostle Paul said, “I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against my mind, making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in the members of my body. Oh, wretched person that I am, who will set me free from this body of death? Thanks be to God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. So on the one hand I am serving the law of God, while at the same time I am living in my sinful body. But there is no condemnation for those who live to please their Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 7:23-25; 8:1).
Paul was saying he wanted to do the right thing, but kept doing the opposite. Many of us have the same problem! But should we continue to sin and practice resentment one to another? Heaven forbid! Instead, we must overcome resentment by practicing mercy, compassion and forgiveness with all our might. We cannot allow anything to take our peace in Christ, even if we are living in a “hell on earth.” All is well for those who continue to serve Christ by serving, loving and forgiving others daily.
The heart of man is exceedingly evil, beyond all human comprehension (Jer. 17:9; Gen. 6:5; 8:21). Human nature is a fallen nature. It is satanic. That is why Jesus Christ said to the Jews, “You are doing the things your own father does” (John 8:38, 41, 44). Humans are being held captive by Satan to do his will until God allows them to repent (2 Tim. 2:26).
Satan fell from the grace of God through bitter resentment. He became puffed up and full of pride because of his beauty and wisdom. Satan’s wisdom and knowledge warped with time, and he became an adversary of God. He twisted the knowledge of God to receive power and acclaim for himself. He wanted to make a name for himself and have people look up to him.
Today, Satan’s ministers also demand respect from their followers and lord it over their subjects (Matt. 20:25). They desire to be looked up to and respected for reasons of power, position, fame and wealth (Luke 16:14).
Cain was resentful of his righteous brother, Abel, because Abel’s deeds were righteous and Cain knew his own deeds were evil (1 John 3:12). The Lord told Cain that his evil nature was out to destroy him, but he could master it by constantly doing good and what was pleasing in the eyes of the Lord (Gen. 4:7).
This truth applies to everyone God calls. We either become like Abel and are persecuted for righteous acts, or we remain like Cain and persecute the righteous. Abel was a friend of God. Cain was of his father, the devil.
The Pharisees of Jesus Christ’s day knew He was from God and that His message was right and true (John 3:2). They knew He was right and they were wrong. They resented Jesus because they took the position of Cain. They, like Cain, did not want to be told to overcome their evil natures by doing good for God daily in secret. There is no glory in that for self. That didn’t sound profitable for those ministers of Satan — Pharisees — who were lovers of money more than lovers of God. They sought for fame, glory and respectability from men. They didn’t want respectability from God because they didn’t know Him anyway.
It was bitter resentment that killed Jesus Christ, our Savior. Now, if we, as God’s elect (Luke 18:7-9), insist on bearing resentment and practicing it one to another, we make ourselves out to be those who would have killed Jesus Christ if He had lived in our time. When we bear resentment, we maintain the same position as those who hate their neighbor, and Jesus Christ said that is the same as being a murderer (Matt. 5:21-22).
Husbands love your wives. Wives love your husbands. Do not allow any bitter resentment to exist in your lives (Col. 3:19). All things can be overcome through practicing charity and love. Don’t resent your children when they demonstrate the fact that they, too, have evil human natures; but love them all the more, and discipline them all the more with love.
The word used for love in 1 Corinthians 13 is translated from a word meaning charity. When you practice charity, you do not seek your own glory. You do not act in a way that is displeasing to others. You are more concerned for the welfare of others and their comforts than you are for your own. Charity only believes what is good about others. It is not provoked. It does not take into account wrong that is suffered. That is why charitable love never fails.
Make a list of all the things you resent in others. Then realize you were wrong, forgive them, and practice charity one to another with a pure and a light heart before the Lord daily.
How do you overcome resentment? First, you must be afflicted by it. Then, when your test begins, apply these principles of Christ. Forgive those who trespass against you daily so the Father in heaven can forgive you your trespasses (Matt. 6:14-15). Do good to those who persecute you or say evil about you. Pray for them. Do not repay them any evil, for that is the Lord’s job (Heb. 10:30). Love all, forgive all, and bless all who curse you. Bless those who say all manner of evil against you, and do not say any evil against them.
Joseph’s brothers were resentful of him because he was their father’s favorite son. They all wanted to kill him. Only because of Judah’s greed, was he spared death by being sold (Gen. 37:26-27). Judah, the father of the Jews, was a Judas. He sold his own flesh and blood for money. What does the Bible teach us through the experience of Joseph? It shows that Joseph triumphed over resentment by showing love to his brothers. As a result of his attitude, God exalted him to a position of second-in-command in all Egypt.
Did Jesus carry resentment in His heart for those who killed Him? No! He overcame resentment with pure love. “Forgive them, Father, for they do not know what they are doing,” He said (Luke 23:34).
We must overcome all resentment in our lives in order to put on the new nature of love. We now are without excuse. It can no longer be said of us, “Forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” Now we know how important it is to get rid of all resentment in our lives.
Destroy resentment by giving it no place in your life! Start now. If you don’t, it will destroy you. It has already harmed you, but you didn’t realize it before. Now you know what to do about it. Forgive everyone all the time; and be like Jesus Christ, our example.