Come on! All of us have been there and we have all done it. The ultimate example of resentment comes from the life of Esau. “So Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him, and Esau said in his heart, ‘The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will kill my brother Jacob.’” (Gen. 27:41) Esau did not mince words.
We may not be harboring “murderous” thoughts in our heart, but resentment challenges all of us from time to time.
Consider the wrong displayed by Jacob: he stole from Esau; he violated a sacred trust; he disrespected his brother; he treated his brother as a nobody; he bruised his brother’s future. We could go on and on. You have your own lists of what happened.
Jacob’s wrong and Esau’s resentment drove the brothers apart and resulted in years of separation. The wrong drove Esau to marry inappropriately. It would be nice if we could detail a spiritual plan in their reconciliation, but we cannot. They seemed to be reconciled, to a point. But history seems to record their division never reached the level scripture teaches.
So, what do we do with resentment? Jacob and Esau’s division reminds us of the serious consequences of harboring resentment. The pain, separation and hurt should be enough to motivate us to release this heavy burden.
Paul said, “Repay no one evil for evil...If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” (Rom. 12:17-19)
Paul teaches us to leave judgment to God. We have enough problems without trying to settle the score.
Also, we need to be reminded that resentment creates bondage in our hearts. If I am resentful of another person, I am his slave.
My prayer is that when I am wronged, I would follow Jesus’ example, as He faced abuse. He prayed for His abusers. WOW! Things may become difficult, but my goal is to pray for the good of those who abuse me. That is what you do with resentment!