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Resisting Resentment

by Tim Binion

Resentment can be defined as an emotional feeling of bitter hurt or indignation from a sense of being injured or offended. Proverbs 27:3 states “A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool’s wrath is heavier than them both.” While the King James version translates “kah’-as”, used in the verse, as wrath, the meaning also includes: vexation, anger, angry, grief, indignation, provocation, provoking, sore, sorrow, or spite. Another good translation of this passage reads ”the resentment caused by a fool is heavier than both.”

A mature Christian knows that resentment is negative and leads to other more offensive sins like anger, wrath, or even malice. The mature Christian understands that resentment provides no advantage and should not exist in their heart. Proverbs 16:28 reads, “A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.” When resentment fills the Christian heart, he becomes a froward man sowing discord. Therefore, resentment is the driving force of discord in the church.

In Luke chapter 9:53, two disciples resented the Samaritans for resenting Christ going to Jerusalem and not receiving him. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did (Luke 9:54)? It’s surprising to see good people not sensible to corruption lurking and stirring in their hearts. The Sons of Thunder had been taught to love their enemies, to bless them that curse them, and to call for grace from heaven. So why did they ask if they could send down fire? Jesus taught resenting those that resent you as contrary to the design of the gospel and of a different spirit – “you know not what manner of spirit ye are of” (9:55). When this evil spirit of resentment enters us, we also like James and John tend to spill it and spread it by speaking unadvisably. Resentment speaks with an arrogant self-righteous attitude and blurred perception. Were there saved people in the city of Samaria (John 4:39)? Were the circumstances like that of Elijah and the prophets of Baal? The Apostle Paul wrote; Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt (Col 4:6). This may be why David said “Set a watch, O Lord! before my mouth, and, nature having made my lips to be a door to my words, let grace keep that door, that no word may be suffered to go out which may in any way tend to the dishonors of God or the hurt of others” (Psalms 141:3). We are in danger of carrying our resentment too far when we open our mouths and speak from a spirit of resentment. 

Resentment, the leading cause of discord and contention, opens the flood gates of evil. It is non productive, grievous, and irritating. It becomes a strong hold in the mind that must be restrained. Through the years, I’ve seen the dedicated resent the non-dedicated, the tithers resent non-tithers, workers resent the non-workers, covenant keepers resent the covenant breakers, and the once a week attenders resent the once a month attenders. I’ve seen the hot resent the cold making us all lukewarm. I’ve seen resentment against those who don’t attend Sunday School from those who do, and also between those who take and those who give. I’ve seen those striving to maintain accord resenting those sowing discord. Many of these things need to be corrected but not resented. We should pity these folks rather than resent them and not be consumed with a desire to destroy the whole city because of the rejection of a few. 

If we major on the majority, we can abstain from resenting one or two foolish people. Satan places a spot light on one wrong, causing us NOT to see the majority doing what is right. When the actions of one or two foster a spirit of resentment in my life I tell it: There’s more among us that stay than go; More that give than take; More keeping the covenant than breaking it; More warm than cold; More on meat than milk; More faithful than sporadic; More worshipers than spectators; More sound in the faith than unsound; More keeping the faith than releasing it; More love the preacher than hate him; More care for the church than don’t care; More doers than sayers; More love mail than hate mail; and More calls of concern than calls of hostility. When one person causes you resentment, speak of the good of the majority; not the bad of the minority.

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