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Get Rid of Resentment

Helpful tips to put faith first and respond to those who have hurt you with love.

woman resting her head on a bench in warm sunlight

Job 5:2 warns us, “Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple.” Paul admonishes that “the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful“ (2 Timothy 2:24). Letting go of resentment is something we need to do for our own peace of mind—and to improve our relationship with God. As people of faith we can’t afford to get stuck blaming others for our unhappiness. Even when others have done wrong, we’re called upon to examine our hearts and to respond to others in love.

So how do we get started?

1. When you’re hurt, allow yourself to feel hurt.
Say out loud, away from the hearing of others, what it is exactly that hurts. “I feel hurt that she looked down on me” or “I’m hurt that he didn’t care enough to listen.” Then offer the feeling to Christ, who knows oh-so-well what it is to feel pierced. “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26).

2. Take a brisk walk.
Burn off some of the emotion so that your head is clearer. Scripture tells us that, “Anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness” (1 John 2:11). We can frequently step out of that darkness with a bit of vigorous exercise. If you pray while you walk, all the better!

3. Focus on the kind of person you want to be.
Will you let resentment get in the way? Review the list of qualities of a Christian in 2 Peter 1:5-7, and see if your feelings are compatible with them. If not, ask the Lord to show you how to reconcile your hard feelings with your desire to serve Him.

4. Extend peace to the other person.
You don’t have to do this out loud, but you do have to do it in your heart. If that seems impossible, pray Psalm 29:11 with a twist, “Lord give strength to this person who hurt me; Lord bless this person with peace.” You can’t go wrong praying for the good of others! For “if someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you” (Luke 10:6). We have far more to lose by holding onto resentment than we do by spreading peace.

Ask God today to help you get rid of any resentment you may be lugging around, so that “Grace and peace be yours in abundance” (1 Peter 1:2). And then pass that grace and peace on to others.

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