Resentment and jealousy are cancers that can destroy. In it’s most complete form it can lead to actual murder…in its lesser form it can bring about broken relationships, stilted spiritual growth, the crushing of potential in the person involved, anxiety, etc. It often spreads from one relationships to another. It’s like having bamboo in your yard… it can continue to grow despite efforts to control it.
There is nothing good about resentment and jealousy. In the book of Samuel we see how it destroyed King Saul. His jealousy of David sprung into being as they returned from battle against the Philistines… “Saul has killed his thousands, David his ten thousands”. “From that day on, Saul was jealous of David” (1Sam. 18:6-9) Read through those passages and you will see how this demon plagued Saul until his death.
Well, what about us? Have we ever been jealous or resentful of someone? Hmmmm, I have to admit that I have. Thank God it never developed to the place of active hurt, but it can be subtle and passive…still doing harm to another and to myself. While I may keep my mouth shut about the person’s flaws, nevertheless I may not be there to actively praise their good deeds… and maybe secretly rejoice when they are not honored. This resentment can nag at me causing me to experience imagined slights from others…. why am I not being honored.. don’t people realize what a great person I am…. what about me….. bla,bla,bla.
What’s the remedy to this cancer …. how can it be defeated in our life ? We get a clue in the passage mentioned above. Saul’s son Jonathan tells his father “ Let not your majesty sin against your servant David , for he has committed no offense against you, but has helped you very much by his deeds.” We can bring to mind the goodness of the person we are tempted to resent….. this person is good and has done good things for many and for me…. he has overcome obstacles in his life…he has experienced many trials…. he is worthy of praise. And where he has faltered, he deserves my prayers and mercy, not my condemnation….. speaking the truth to ourselves.
I remember a friend giving a talk many years ago about someone who had hurt him; he experienced the Lord calling him to ask for a blessing on the person….”Lord, bless this man, help him, heal him, give him good things…” As he did this, he felt a love and compassion for the person and the resentment left. We are called to “love one another with brotherly affection; to outdo one another in showing honor.” (Rom . 12:10)
I have to say that praying for those we may feel resentment against is a great remedy. Lord bless them, help them, honor them. In doing this we can often develop a great affection for the person and in the process experience God’s consolation and blessing. And this is very good news.