The incident below took place a number of years ago. It’s resonating impact lives within…serving me to this present day.
While I am not one to make new year resolutions, I do make resolutions. The following is such, that of releasing feelings of unforgiveness and resentment. The exchange has been a welcomed cleansing/relief for my overall health and well-being (mind, body, spirit). I initially wrote this article a year ago, I think it’s a worthy re-post. It serves as a reminder – I too have caused offenses.
I remember the day as if it was yesterday, experiencing feelings of resentment towards another human being. I won’t go into the details of incidents or causes, rather – I will elaborate on my behavior during that time.
Life happens to us all – unexpected and unfamiliar changes are an inevitable occurrence. Uncertainties, disappointments, and other daily experiences can stir an interesting flow of thoughts. When this happens, and often it does – a constant of inner debris interrupts our peace of mind.
When it comes to my inner life (emotional, mental, etc), I have learned to respect, and pay attention to my internal alarm. It alerts me when things are out of order. My internal alarm – conscience, conviction, or The Holy Spirit – encourages me to face my stuff…making the necessary changes. So here goes another portion of my long, arduous journey towards healing. The following is one of my many moments of truths, a personal confrontation!
The relationship was over long before I recognized resentment. While it was true that the relationship was broken, I was evolving personally & spiritually. An awakening, as I referred to it, had taken over my life. So after living in unforgiveness for several months, it was clear, I was off track! An infusion of insight was blessing my life overall – yet, something was off course! What was it?!
Simply stated, I felt an endless need for the person who offended me to make an apology – tell me that you’re sorry, show me that you’re sorry. Tell me that you understand and acknowledge the pain that you’ve caused – repeat it over & over & over again!
Of course, the person did apologize – yet, it wasn’t satisfactory! I felt void of compassion for the offender and the apology meant absolutely nothing! No matter how many apologies were given, I still felt that it wasn’t enough! I felt that I had suffered long & needlessly, now the shoe was on the other foot (so to speak). If there was any truth to my perceived awakening – it was up to me to take ownership of my thoughts, beliefs, and behavior. I needed to be accountable! Living my convictions was primary. Confronting myself, no matter how challenging or difficult, was essential.
As a result of the aforementioned, I was compelled to ask myself a question, “Am I resentful?”. The need to ask such a question was based on an apparent hardness of my heart – it was stuck! I was excessively recycling painful memories. Having made a commitment to examine myself authentically, my answer was an affirmative “Yes!”
This acknowledgment was followed by shame and remorse. It was in fact resentment! That awareness prompted an immediate willingness to forgive the offender, and deal with myself! When I say immediate, I mean immediate! My first step – asking my offender & God to forgive me for being resentful, and for choosing to harbor ill feelings. I also had to forgive myself. Compassion took hold of my heart, and the situation…thank God for grace! Being stuck in resentment not only held the offender captive – I was holding myself captive too! “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” ~Nelson Mandela
That being said, I’ve experienced the need to forgive plenty of times – yet, I’ve not allowed those times to fester into resentment. Were previous life injuries (perceived or other) not deep enough to warrant resentment? Whatever the reason – to date, there has not been a reason, or an excuse worthy of harboring emotions leading to resentment!!
Resentment is an invitation and an initiation into hatred. Hate, according to scripture is murder! See 1 John 3:15 (NLT)
Resentment is resulted from prolonged unforgiveness, it’s relentless. Resentments can take root when offenses are repetitious in nature, with no apologies…no acknowledgment of wrong from the offender. How long does it take for resentment to set in? I don’t know. Our personal experiences vary. I can tell you this – whenever we allow hurts to go unacknowledged, ignoring them as if they will simply go away – we further injure ourselves (mind, body, spirit).
My experience with resentment was a result of having not faced, nor dealt with an unhealthy situation in the first place. Thinking that things will get better is false hope, especially if there’s no light of insight encouraging change. Had I been spiritually/personally responsible, taking the necessary steps…sooner than later, no doubt – resentment would have been avoided. I learned a powerful lesson from resentment – it was possible to turn into someone that I did not want to be, a bitter and unpleasant person! I too have caused offenses.
We have choices – resentment does not support, nor sustain a life of healing and well-being. ~Stormie Steele More Works from Storm
Image by Fine Arts of America
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