Last night, in a conversation, a friend and I discussed resentment. When the conversation was over and I was driving home, I felt that I may not have fully understood the meaning of the word resentment. I felt as if I needed to dig a little deeper and see what it really meant. So, I figured that I had better look up the actual meaning and be sure that I understood it completely.
Resentment (noun): “the feeling of displeasure or indignation at some act, remark, person, etc., regarded as causing injury or insult.
Indignation (noun)(looked this one up to continue studying further): “anger aroused by something unjust or offensive.
So, with that in mind, I began to rethink my conversation earlier in the evening. I found that I did not have very many resentments about myself (though there are moments when I feel taken advantage of or have to deal with someone else’s attitude or problems that I do not have time for or do not want to deal with). The biggest area that I hold resentment is when it comes to my child. So, I took this definition of resentment and indignation and really took a look at how I felt about things that have been done or said to or in front of my son and realized that in that respect, I have a good deal of resentment. I began to see that I harbored a lot of displeasure and indignation about these things. I began to see how that has affected me. Yes, it is right to stand up for our children and it is right to be upset when something happens to them. What I am realizing is that at some point, we have to let it go!
The Bible states in Job 5:2, “Surely resentment destroys the fool and jealousy kills the simple.” It is clear that if we have resentment, we are fools! WOW, that’s hard to deal with isn’t it?
The Bible tells a story in Genesis 33 about two brothers Jacob and Esau. Now, to lay some background for you, Jacob and Esau were twins. Esau came out of the womb first with Jacob holding Esau’s ankle while coming out right behind him. Now, since Esau came out first, he was considered the oldest son. In those days, when the father would be on his death bed, he would give most of his estate and money to the oldest son, very little to the younger son and nothing to the girls in the family (if there were any). Now, while their father was on his deathbed, the mother, Rebecca, called Jacob in and told him that their father would die soon and that he was ready to bestow his blessing on Esau. Jacob was jealous of Esau and wanted the money and estate for himself, so he put the coat of animals on his arms and went to his fathers side pretending to be Esau (which was easy since the father was nearly blind at this point). Jacob then received the blessing. When Esau came back from hunting, he found out what Jacob had done and was furious! Of course, Jacob quickly realizes he is about to be a murder victim and runs for the hills. Esau becomes so resentful of Jacob and what he has done and Jacob was so resentful and hateful toward Esau for being the oldest, that neither brother sees each other again. The resentment took hold and took over.
Can you imagine if Jacob and Esau had just let go of the resentment they had toward each other? Can you imagine the relationship that could have been? Even if one of the brothers had let go, that brother’s life would have been 10 times better than it was. We do this all the time...I know I do. We think….I have the right to be mad! I have the right to be bitter! How could they do this to me or How could they do this to my child? How could they be so callous or so mean or (insert your word here). You know what I mean! You have said these words before just like I have. Then, we push it aside and never deal with it, until the time comes when that same person hurts us/our children again. We are then very quick to bring the past back up in their face aren’t we? Or to silently fume about the past actions and add the new one to that list. Yes, that person may be mean and rude and awful. Yes, we have the right to be mad and hurt and whatever else we feel. We should feel those feelings, but the problem comes when we hold onto it. We decide not to let it go. We hold a grudge that can last a lifetime if we aren’t careful. I know that I am extremely guilty of this, even more so when it comes to what my son feels and goes through.
But how do we let go? How do we say enough is enough? Well, that is something that I am working on. It’s a process, that much I know. But I would dare say that the first and probably one of the more important steps is to acknowledge that we have resentment before we can move on to another step. Don’t you agree?