Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Living in a fallen world with other fallen beings can make us vulnerable to people and things that hurt us. 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. A synonym is unforgiveness, bitterness, or holding a grudge. We file away a hurt and grudge list and revisit it from time to time. Leviticus 19:16-18 warns against the silence involved in holding a grudge and calls it holding hate in our heart, “Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the Lord. 17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. 18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.”
We 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. Resentment is a dead end; there is no place to go with it; it can only affect us negatively; it wastes time and energy; it is unproductive. We think if we forgive the people we resent:
a. They are getting away with something.
b. They are getting off the hook.
c. They are getting a gift they did not deserve.
That is really not what forgiveness and releasing resentments accomplishes. Forgiveness is a gift to us and lets us off the hook. As long as you resent and do not forgive you bind yourself to that person because an “I owe you” debt is established. You feel they owe you, but you need to release the debt because it frees you from them. Let it go and get free of the hurt by learning the twelve most powerful words you can say: “I forgive you. You don’t owe me. I’ll not make you pay.”