As a Life Coach one thing I see over and over again in women is the feeling of resentment.
The feeling of resentment translates into anger and displeasure and will cripple and control you to the point of destruction. Resentment only has one outcome for you- death- the death of happiness, peace, hope and a future.
Resentment is like a disease; it continues to grow if you don’t cut it off. On the other hand, if you skip resentment and find a healthy way to process disappointment and pain, you will come out on the other side free and full of contentment.
There is an interesting story in the Bible about two women who had resentment toward one another. They both were women who wanted the same thing. The problem was it was with the same man. In Genesis 16 we read the account of Sarai and Hagar. Sarai was Abram’s wife and was deeply loved by him. She had his heart, attention and affection, but she did not have his child. The seed of resentment was planted by not being able to conceive. I can only imagine the tears and pain she experienced. I am sure she had a very serious talk with God about her concern. I mean, Sarai was told that her husband would be the father of many nations, yet she herself could not bear children. Now this was a problem.
There is nothing more frustrating than when God tells you to believe and trust Him for something; to just have a little faith; despite what your circumstances tell you.
Now to make matters worse, Hagar, Sarai’s handmaiden was more than happy to supply Abraham with a child. While Abram was planting his seed in Hagar, Satan was planting his seed in Sarai.
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Genesis 16:1
Talk about a set up for resentment! What was she thinking?
Sarai desired a family so badly that she thought she could manipulate God into giving her a child through her handmaiden.
Two different women thinking two different thoughts…
Sarai thought that Hagar could be used to give her a child…
Hagar thought Sarai might be kind to her if she could give her a child.
Resentment is written all over this story. The interesting thing about this story is that it is culturally relevant. The idea of a surrogate carrying your child is thought to be both chic and smart. Now I am not here to say whether it is right or wrong, just that like so many issues today, it has the potential to cause a spirit of resentment between women.
Let me share with you Seven Steps to Letting Go of Resentment:
Seven Steps to Letting Go of Resentment
Recognize the seed of resentment before it takes root
We must learn to capture the seed of resentment before it takes root. Resentment typically starts with a hurtful feeling that turns into anger. It is at that point you must recognize the emotion and deal with it. We all have experienced times of either misunderstanding or even rudeness; the insensitive comment of a close friend, or the forgetfulness of a special occasion. Once the seed is identified you must retract it and discard it in the proper manner. Stop the thought before it grows any deeper. Learn to discern the difference between anger and resentment.
The key to success is to stop the emotion between hurt and anger, and to recognize the seed before it turn into resentment.
Release the hurt you are feeling into the hands of God
Let’s be honest, even though a good friend can sympathize with your experience, they cannot do anything about healing it. God has the power and remedy to heal. Pain hurts; and God alone understands your deepest emotion. There is something very powerful about releasing your inner most conflicts to God. Not only are you admitting that He is capable of carrying them, but you are receiving the healing power that He alone can give.
3. Practice Grace
The truth is people hurt people. Yes, even you. Until you have experienced grace you cannot give it. Think of it this way. Have you ever been driving down the freeway and someone sped past you without a concern for the safety of others? You think to yourself, I hope a police officer is up a head to stop that reckless driver. Then two days later you are late for work and without a thought of your previous comment days earlier you take off like Mario Andretti. A police officer pulls you over. Do you want grace, or what you deserve? I think I know the answer to that question. To be free of resentment we must learn to offer grace to those that don’t deserve it.
Understand that resentment is a false feeling of control
We have enough trouble controlling our own life. What makes us think we can control another human being? I believe there are two reasons we try to exercise control over another person. The first one is we are power hungry. We think our way is right, the ONLY way something should be done. So we exert control to prove our ability. Second, we feel we are helping the situation with our knowledge and skill, so we just take control. The truth is we have no power over another person. We can advise, counsel, and even assist with input, but ultimately we all make the final decision on our own. A person makes choices from the inner core of their being, and no one can truly control another person’s thoughts and actions.
Admit resentment is a poison to your soul.
The affects of resentment to your body are alarming; lack of sleep, high blood pressure, hyperventilation, mood swings, eating disorders, and the list goes on. When we allow resentment to reside in our life we are hurting ourselves. Admit you are allowing another person to live in your body without your permission. Take action to release, forgive, and embrace your true identity.
Put yourself in their shoes.
Put yourself in the shoes of the offender. Does it look different from the other side of the room? Before we react and respond to our emotional feeling we need to think it through.
Forgive the person that offended you.
Forgiveness is the balm of life. In Colossians 3:13 we read: “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” I don’t know about you but I love to be forgiven. The feeling of release and freedom when I know someone has granted me forgiveness is a balm to my soul. I often hold onto the pain I have caused another, punishing myself for my actions. As we all have experienced at times, we are typically our worst enemy when it comes to forgiveness. Jesus said it best when He said, “Bear with each other”. That means help each other, carry the weight and feel the pain of the process. Then we must forgive one another. I think God understands the human heart better than all of us. He knew that it would take forgiveness on the part of both parties to truly experience freedom. The human heart only has so much capacity. Don’t fill it up with resentment toward another human being. Let go of the hurt, pain, and memory that you have experienced and make room for the goodness of God in your heart
Make a list of five people that have caused you hurt or pain.
Now write one paragraph telling each of them how you feel.
Ask yourself if you are willing to forgive them and be set free.
If you answered yes, then write them a letter telling them you forgive them.
Now destroy the letter. The exercise was for you to experience freedom.
Your actions of forgiveness will speak louder than any words you could ever write.
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