The Prison of Resentment

Psalm 73:21–22

Additional Scripture Readings: Matthew 6:14; 2 Timothy 2:24

Resentment puts us in prison. Like a ball and chain, it holds us back from experiencing the positive emotions of joy and peace. Are you imprisoned by resentment?

Resentment is an inevitable result of being damaged and wounded by the words or actions of another. We will feel it. To try to squelch the pain that comes when we’ve been hurt is to deny our human ability to feel.

But we don’t have to make resentment our permanent home. When we choose to live, day in and day out, within the confines of resentment, we imprison ourselves, trapped in bitterness, incarcerated in a grudge. When our energy is poured into these negative emotions, we are barred from experiencing life-giving emotions like forgiveness, love and hope.

We can’t choose whether or not we will be hurt. The mistakes of others are out of our control. But we can determine how we will respond to the pain that comes by the hand of another. Release resentment. In so doing, we set our hearts free.

Source:  NIV Devotions For Mom

It’s hard sometimes to let go of resentment.  We can’t seem to shake the way we feel about a past hurt.  Resentment becomes our constant companion and constantly reminds us of why we need its company.  It traps us into thinking that we should hold on to our hurt and pain and carry a grudge.  It convinces us that we have every right to still be angry and bitter towards the people who hurt us.  Forgiveness becomes more and more of an impossibility.

We need to let go of our resentment and allow God to work in us.  Jesus taught us that if we want God to forgive us, we must forgive the people who hurt us.  My son likes me to read the story, Jesus Loves Me every night before he goes to bed.  He knows it well now and one of the passages is where the soldiers dressed Jesus in a purple robe and put a crown of sharp thorns on His head.  They knelt down and pretended to honor Him and then they spat on Him.

The words that stand out in the story are:

But Jesus didn’t fight back.  His heart was breaking, but He wasn’t angry at the leaders or the soldiers.  He forgave them because He loved them.  Jesus would die for the people who hurt Him.  Jesus would die for you and me.

It’s hard to imagine forgiving the people who lied about you and want you dead or the people who mistreat and hurt you but Jesus forgive the people who hurt Him.  He died for them.  When Peter asked Him how often we should forgive those who hurt us, Jesus said seventy times seven–as many times as possible.

Don’t let resentment imprison you.  Allow yourself to forgive those who hurt you.  If it is hard for you to do, pray about it.  Ask God to give you the power to forgive.  In forgiving you are letting go of bitterness and negative feelings which are holding you back.

Let love and forgiveness replace anger and bitterness in your heart.  Don’t hold on to old hurts.  Let them go.  Forgive and move on.  Break the chains of resentment and experience joy and peace.  As the devotion points out we can’t prevent people from hurting us but we can control how we respond to the hurt.  When we hold on to grudges, we are giving those who hurt us power.  We are letting them hurt us over and over again each time we fuel our resentment toward them.  However, if we do as Jesus said and forgive them, we taking away their power to hurt us.  We are setting our hearts free and opening them to experience healing, peace and joy–the very things that resentful tries to rob us of.


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