Living in a fallen world with other fallen beings can make us vulnerable to people and things that hurt us. Jesus informed us that life on earth will not be without opportunities to be offended (Matthew 18:7; Luke 17:1). When people hurt or injure us it can lead to resentment. Hurt feelings can lead to anger that we decide to hold in with the hurt that we re-feel from time to time. This re-feeling the hurt or injury is what resentment is. Resentment is synonymous with unforgiveness, bitterness, and holding a grudge. We file away a hurt and grudge list and revisit it from time to time. Leviticus 19:17-19 warns against the silence involved in holding a grudge and calls it holding hate in our heart.
Resentment is a dead end; there is no place to go with it; it can only affect us negatively; it wastes time and energy; and it is unproductive. We are given principles by Jesus for handling offenses that lead to resentment in Matthew 18 and time is often needed to work through issues but ultimately we will need to learn to release and not resent. We need to let it all go (Ephesians 4:31, 32) and not hold onto it. It is hurting us more than the person who hurt us. We think if we release our offenders or forgive the people we resent:
They are getting away with something or getting off the hook.
2. They did it deliberately and will just do it again.
3. They are getting a gift they did not deserve.
The list can go on and on as we try to justify why we should not forgive. The reasons we make to excuse ourselves from the obligation to forgive is not what forgiveness and releasing resentments accomplishes. Forgiveness is a gift to us and lets us off the hook. Jesus likened someone sinning against us as creating a debt (Matthew 18:23-35). When someone sins against you by doing something they should not have done or failing to do something they should have done, that sin creates a debt and now they owe you. When someone owes you, it is a memory that is hard to get away from but it is a mental and emotional trap. As long as you resent and do not forgive you bind yourself to that person because a debt (they owe you) is established. You feel they owe you but you need to release the debt because it frees you from them mentally and emotionally. Let it go and get free of the hurt. Learn the twelve most powerful words you can say: “I forgive you. You don’t owe me. I’ll not make you pay.” They will open doors for you to see good days again (1 Peter 3:8-12).