“Nothing on this earth consumes a man more quickly than the passion of resentment” -Fredrich Nietzsche
When there are past hurts that we haven’t overcome and we do not release the pain through forgiveness, we may be inclined to rehearse it over and over in our heads. We then become driven by this resentment and it starts to control our lives.
There are two types of resentment-driven people; some “clam up” and internalize their anger while others “blow up” and explode others. Both responses are not helpful nor are they healthy. I happen to be one of the resentment-driven people that “blew up” on people. Anytime there was an argument between me and another person, I would totally lose my cool and freak out on the person and say all kinds of nasty things. I might have not even meant some of them, but I said it anyway just to hurt the other person. I can even remember trying to get physical with some people because I was so full of anger for what had happened to me. I didn’t care what I said or who I hurt by what I said. Of course after I cooled down I would think back on what I did and get so mad for responding negatively. I would then feel guilty for my behavior.
After having two children and finding myself “blowing up” in front of them on a few occasions I knew I had to break the cycle. They were two innocent people that had no idea what was going on and why mommy was so mad all the time. I couldn’t even explain or understand the feeling myself at times, but I was not going to let my anger from my past hurts spew onto my children. They did not deserve that and I certainly did not want them to pick up my behaviors and bring them into their adulthood. So, I decided to take the necessary steps to get emotionally healthy.
Resentment always hurts you more than the person you resent. While you continue to agonize over the things of your past, prolonging the pain, your offender has probably forgotten all about the offense and moved on with their life. You hold the power though. Those whom have harmed you or hurt you cannot continue to hurt you unless you hold on to the pain through resentment. You may be a product of your past, but you are not a prisoner of it. I realized the past is the past you cannot change it. You are only hurting yourself by holding onto the bitterness.
Happiness is a choice. You’re as happy as you choose to be. Memories of shame, guilt, anger; they may never go away, but you can choose what you think about and overwrite these thoughts. It is never too late change. You can learn from it, then let it go. Job 5:2 says “to worry yourself to death with resentment would be a foolish, senseless thing to do.”
We may not desire to forgive a person, but we must forgive anyway. They say unforgiveness is like a poison and a bitterness in your soul and your life will always be bitter until you get rid of that poison. But, God does not want you to sit around “hoping” things will get better. Don’t keep wounds open and active. Living in past experiences of pain prevent new experiences form being able to happen. Holding onto resentment does not make us feel better or heal our hurt. It just prolongs it. But, it is never too late to change. For those of you waiting on God to take away all your pain and hurts, he’s waiting on you. When you choose to forgive and move forward God gives you a winning hand.
Talk it over:
- Are you holding onto hurts that you never let go or got over? If so what are they?
- If you had the power to improve one area of your life today, what would it be?