Sometimes we need a clear picture of what happens when we allow resentment to settle in our spirit. When that happens our pointing finger of blame is often the only thing that can be seen as we sink deeper and deeper in the bog of anger, resentment and blame.
And if we don’t pay attention to what is happening, the sticky mire of resentment dries and hardens on us until we can no longer move or even breathe.
Great effort is required to keep our hearts from hardening when we feel life is unfair or if we keep getting offended by what people are saying or doing.
I will tell you now that these other people have nothing to do with it.
No one has the power to make us angry or resentful except us. It is our choice.
When we become offended or point the finger of blame, we are giving other people control of our lives. We are giving our power over to them.
When we remain offended and angry, we lose control over our lives and give away our God-given attributes to someone else. I am not certain who first wrote this, but this quote has really spoken to me:
“If your going to pursue revenge then you’d better dig two graves. Your resentments will destroy you.”
Resentment is the low ground so choose to walk the higher ground. We have to get past the desire to blame someone else and learn to send love instead of anger and resentment
Recently, I was challenged in a setting with a group of women to be honest about my thoughts regarding our exercise class. There were various opinions on what was happening and finally I shared my thoughts openly. I chose to do that and not become offended.
Later, I wondered what everyone thought of me? Did I need to apologize to them?
When we are authentically and respectfully speaking the truth, we don’t owe anyone an apology.
My supportive husband said it didn’t matter what they thought. I was simply sharing my perception of the situation and I didn’t do anything wrong.
This helped me so much.
I returned to the class the next day with peace as I chose not to worry about whether I offended anyone. We ended up having a fun and crazy time together. There was no room for offense because I chose to overcome.
But if we choose to take it to the next level and become offended, well that is another matter.
The previous week was a different story as I had sarcastically opened my mouth on two occasions, a sign I was offended. Later, I asked those people to forgive me for what had rolled out of my mouth.
We don’t keep our peace by allowing people to walk over us. But it all depends how we do it. Are we doing it with a spirit of offense or a spirit of love. There are many times when we must choose to step into our power and authority governed by love and forgiveness.
We empower ourselves by choosing not to be offended and embrace an overcoming attitude of peace, joy and love. We need to leave the blame, anger and resentment behind.
This is what Jesus was referring to when He said:
41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. (Matthew 5:41 NIV)
Jesus was encouraging His followers not to get offended when bad things happen and instead respond in a new and unexpected way that reflects the generous love of God’s kingdom instead of resistance or revenge.
We often hear people say that they have a right to be upset because of the way they were treated. They have a right to be angry, hurt, depressed, sad and resentful. And though this may all be true, walking the extra mile means we set aside those rights and choose not to be offended.
It is vital to our spiritual and emotional well-being that we learn to steer ourselves away from offense and the victim-mentality thinking that comes with it. This victim mentality will suck us in, and weigh us down in the bog of resentment until our hearts become so trapped that it is the only way we know how to live our life.
Though we may be frozen, stuck, trapped and imprisoned in perpetual offense, God wants to pull us out of the bog as we extend our hand to heaven for help, mercy and forgiveness.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand. (Psalm 40:2 NIV)
Removing the desire to blame others means we take full responsibility for how you are reacting.
Yes, I am fully responsible for the miserable way I feel, not anyone else. And it’s up to me to deal with it. If I wait for the other person to change their mind, apologize or get better it could be a long wait because it likely isn’t going to happen.
Learning to not take everything so personally is a big step in reducing offenses. We also need to understand that the decision to not travel down the road to resentment is a lifelong journey. We will make mistakes, but it is a journey that I pray we are all willing to take.