Slaying the Giant of Resentment By: Coach Joette Knapp
I recently completed a Bible Study by Dr. David Jeremiah, entitled, “Slaying The Giants in Your Life”. It was an in-depth study in which we learned how to handle giants such as fear, worry, guilt, etc. The giant that caught my attention the most was Resentment.
According to Dr. Jeremiah, “Resentment is an evil root that is growing daily, waiting only for the opportunity to bring forth its fruit.” He went on to say that research of crimes committed shows that resentment is often the reason a person suddenly flips or does something violent. This so intrigued me that I embarked on a further study of resentment and I would like to share with you what I discovered.
Resentment: [noun] a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury.
The definition of resentment is “a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury.” Resentment usually starts slow and builds up over a long period of time and eventually leads to bitterness. Bitterness is the result of nursing that resentment, and then fanning the flame until the fire is out of control. That is when acts of violence often occur.
The Bible is full of stories of resentment that led to bitterness which led to acts of violence. In Genesis 4 you find the story of the first murder ever committed. Cain and Abel were brothers. Cain was a grain farmer and Able was a sheep farmer. It appears that the brothers got along until they presented their offerings to God. Cain presented a grain offering and Abel presented a flawless, first-born lamb. God was pleased with Abel’s offering but not Cain’s. And, Cain became angry.
He resented the fact that Abel’s offering was preferred over his. In Genesis 4:6-7, God asks Cain why he had such an angry look on his face. God tells Cain that had he done the right thing, his offering would have been accepted also.
Why was Abel’s offering accepted and Cain’s wasn’t?
All Jews were trained from little on that there were particular sacrifices for certain offerings. Now, I don’t know all the intricacies of the different sacrifices but, Cain and Abel did. Judging by what God said to Cain in verses 6-7, Cain did not give the proper sacrifice for that particular offering. This is where Cain’s problem started. Instead of taking some of his grain and purchasing the proper sacrifice, he offered the grain instead – a lesser offering.
Cain disobeyed God, was rebuked for it and then became angry and resentful of his brother, Abel. God even warned Cain that “Sin is waiting to attack you like a lion. Sin wants to destroy you, but don’t let it!” (vs 7). God knew that Cain would let resentment grow into bitterness and eventually cause Cain to lure his brother out to a field and kill him!
Resentment often goes unnoticed for many years. It can start when one sibling is favored over another, or one employee gets passed over time after time, or life has just been hard and unfair. Resentment can take a person who has always been kind and loving and turn them into someone who is critical, harsh, and self-centered. Resentment takes root and grows into its ugly cousin, bitterness.
Bitterness is that ugly little emotion that eats at our character until there is nothing recognizable of the original person. I have known people whose personality changed completely because they resented how their life had turned out and let bitterness take root. They looked at everything through critical eyes! Becoming people who let resentment and bitterness drive their actions and reactions. Eventually, they were hard to spend time with because they complained about everything.
Are you harboring resentment?
Ask yourself these questions… Is there bitterness building up inside of you because you feel life has been unfair to you? Is there someone you detest because you think they have it so easy while you have it so hard? If you answered yes to one of these questions it’s very possible that resentment has its ugly claws in you and you need to do something about it before bitterness and hate take control of your life.
In the aforementioned Bible Study, Dr. Jeremiah had five steps to take to defeat resentment. I am going to share condensed versions with you:
- Think It Through – do you really want to stay committed to something so destructive and harmful?
- Write It Down – write down why you are resentful and read it out loud yourself, it will sound totally different to you than it does when you rehearse it in your mind. It won’t have the emotion attached to it that you feel when you think about it. Just finish the question: “I am filled with resentment because _________ ”
- Work It Out – there is a significant amount of research that suggests people who get regular exercise handle conflict better than those who don’t.
- Talk It Over – tell someone what is bothering you. Find a trusted friend or counselor. If you are a believer, you can talk over your resentments with the Lord in prayer. Perhaps you could read to Him what you wrote out earlier. If you haven’t accepted the forgiveness God offers you for your own sins, it’s much easier to hold on to your resentments toward others.
- Give It Up – did you know that the only part of the Lord’s Prayer that is repeated is the part about forgiveness? God’s method for getting rid of resentment is through forgiveness. Repeated forgiveness.
It’s easy to fall into resentment because it is so subtle. You resent your former spouse because you are not living the life you had planned on living with them. Or, maybe you resent your boss because he just doesn’t see your abilities. And, possibly you resent your friend because they have more stuff than you do AND it is better stuff! The list is endless but it leads to a dead end. Resentment can be addressed and dealt with easier than bitterness. Bitterness is a deeper root and a lot harder to dig out. And, if you don’t get rid of bitterness, it will grow into hate, and hate will destroy everything.
I took the five steps and walked through some areas of resentment that surprised me. Some of the resentment I had had clouded my thinking about certain events of my life. I even had some bitterness to deal with! But, it was a very freeing experience and one I highly recommend.
God’s plan for your life does not include feeling resentment and nurturing it. Life is full of disappointments. The bottom line is to take your hurt to the Lord when you initially experience it. Don’t let it take root in your heart and eventually give birth to bitterness, hatred, and death. Let Him take that resentment and turn it into rejoicing. And, I can tell you from personal experience, He will do it EVERY time.
Joette Knapp is a Professional Life Coach, Speaker, and an integral part of the Big Blue Couch® Team. After surviving losing her first baby, and two devastating divorces, Joette turned to her faith and discovered that God can take the ashes of her shattered life and turn them into something new and beautiful. She is passionate about helping other women walk through life-changing experiences and discover that there can be a great life on the other side.
If you need some extra help applying all of the tips Coach Joette mentioned to overcome the root of resentment and bitterness, we invite you to join us for the Beautiful Wholeness Event on February 17, 2018 in Mandan, ND. You can learn more about this life-changing event HERE.