Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Twas On That Night"1 (Lyrics)
1 Timothy 2:8 – So I want men everywhere to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from sin and anger and resentment. (TLB)
Matthew 6:12 – And forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us. (TLB)
A friend told me that he was looking for a new therapist.
"I thought you were happy with the one you had," I said.
"Oh, I can't go back to him," he said. "When I thanked him for helping me, he replied that talking to me had been a big help to him, too. The nerve! I told him I would no longer require his services!"
I didn't get it.
"Well," my friend said, "Here I am paying good money for his help, while he's getting my input for free!"
"But he's a trained professional with years of experience," I said.
"Yes, but where did he get that experience?" he said. "Probably from helping me!"
Now, he'd lost that help and had a resentment that grows bigger with every memory. Yet, we know that helping relationships are usually mutual.
Another acquaintance showed me a notebook of names of those who had "done her wrong". "What about forgiving them and moving on?" I said. "And let them get away with it?" she answered, closing the book — in which my name and inability to agree would no doubt be shortly appearing.
I was raised to be polite while being critical and judgmental underneath. Such a life generates bitterness, turns to hate, and eventually leads us to become what has been termed an exploding doormat, full of resentments which push God right out of our lives as we dwell on wrongs done to us. We cannot have both God and hate.
Thankfully, there is a way out. We take the name of the person being resented and pray everything for them that we'd like for ourselves — even if we don't mean it, even if we are only saying words at first. We just go ahead and do it anyway, in faith, for at least two weeks. This prayer might be familiar to some. It comes from Alcoholics Anonymous, since resentments are one of the biggest excuses to isolate and drink. It has been working for me for years now. Yet still, I am always surprised that when compassion begins, anger and desire to get even melt away. Soon, I am able to forgive, to see the resented one as just another person that God loves, like me, and love them, too.
Ephesians 4:27 – And do not give the devil an opportunity [to lead you into sin by holding a grudge, or nurturing anger, or harboring resentment, or cultivating bitterness]. (AMP)
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for becoming human like us. Because of Jesus, we know that You met the anger, injustice, rejection, and hate of our world with forgiveness, understanding, kindness, and love. Thank You for using all the difficult people in our lives to teach us humility and to give us opportunity to grow and change to be more like You. Amen.