Some of the most destructive things a person can collect are resentments: those insidious, soul killing altars of stored up cold anger.
Whenever I encounter deep resentments in a counseling session I know that it’s going to be a long road to recovery. Quick hot anger often leads to quick repentance and forgiveness. But resentment is like flowing lava that has cooled and turned to rock.
How do we guard against collecting resentments?
The most effective way is to process hurts as soon as we can. Those who tend to be avoidant in their conflict style may be more likely to collect hurts and then label themselves a peacemaker (this is a blind spot). Sometimes these hurts will reach capacity and then the person will spew like a volcano, turning volatile – blaming and shaming, all the while feeling justified in their immature behavior. If that doesn’t happen, all those hurts will eventually to stone. The person can become “hard-hearted” -- at least towards those who are perceived as offenders. Whether avoidant or volatile, the results are damaging to a relationship.
The more I resent, the less I love.
I am not saying that we do not have a right to be offended by others bad behaviors. I am simply saying that the failure to process these offenses in a timely manner will likely increase the relational harm. And holding on to these resentments will almost always do more damage to us than others.
We encourage people in our counseling office to lovingly detach from those who wound them on a regular basis. Each wound is a potential resentment, and sometimes only distance can protect them. The goal is to be able to love at a distance if it is not possible to love when more intimately involved.
If I am the offender or I know that someone has something against me, the Bible is clear that I must go to that person and try to set the relationship right. It is my responsibility to try to expiate the hurts before resentment can set in on both sides.
Is it time for you to examine your heart for resentments? Have you been avoiding addressing hurts with someone? Are there relationships where confession, repentance and forgiveness are needed whether you are the offender or not?
Perhaps this could be your sacrifice during this season of Lent (the forty days prior to Easter).
Matt 5: 23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
Romans 12: 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.