RESENTMENT

by David Sisler

So many people thrive on resentment. They keep records of wrongs done to them real or imagined. It colors all of their lives and usually takes the joy out of living. They become like Napoleon, a man who had fame, glory, and success. Yet Napoleon said, "I have never known six happy days in my life!" Contrast that with Helen Keller, born deaf, blind, and mute. She said, "I have found life so beautiful!"

The man was a member of a trade union. The particular one doesn't matter because the incident could have happened in any union. The man saw the boss of the plant where he worked driving a new Cadillac. The worker was filled with resentment.

He started complaining to his fellow workers. "Do remember the last union negotiations?" he asked. "He said he couldn't afford to pay us any more on the hour. Now he has bought a new Cadillac!"

The man was deadly serious when he said, "If the money he spent on that car had been split up with us, think how we all could live."

He made such an issue over it that he was considering calling a wildcat strike. Then a friend suggested they figure the price of the car. "Let's figure what he spent on the Cadillac," the man said, "and see how much you would have gotten if the difference was divided between the workers."

When they concluded their calculations, they determined that every man in the plant would have received an extra $1.75. Not on the hour, but for the entire year.

Why do you think Cain killed Abel? Do you think Abel would have died if his sacrifice had been unacceptable to God? Do you think Cain would have killed his brother if his own sacrifices had pleased God? Resentment over being repudiated led to murder.

Before David became king of Israel, he played his harp for King Saul. His only thought was to please the king and soothe his frazzled nerves. Yet when Saul heard the women of Israel singing, "Saul has killed his thousands, but David has slain his ten thousands," Saul was filled with resentment for David to the point of attempted murder.

David confronted Saul and asked, "What have I done to offend you?" Saul was unable to name a single thing. It was resentment which had poisoned his heart toward David.

One day Jesus told Peter, "A day will come when men will lead you where you do not want to go" (John 21:18). He was predicting the manner of Peter's death.

Curiously, Peter made no comment about becoming a prisoner for the sake of Jesus, or dying because of following Jesus. He evidently did not worry about the affliction he would suffer. Instead, he pointed to John and said, "What about him? Am I going to have it rougher than he is?" Resentment.

Finally, the classic case. The prodigal son has returned home. A party has been thrown in celebration, the likes of which had never been seen in that area. The elder brother has worked faithfully in the field. He has never left his post. With great resentment he says, "Your son, spent your money on harlots and you expect me to come to a banquet for him. You've never even given me the smallest animal to have a party for my friends. I'm not coming."

Even more deadly than cancer or AIDS is resentment. If you are resentful, you are the one who is hurt. The people you hate are delighted because you are poisoning yourself. The worst resentment is caused by the fear that God isn't keeping tab, that even He won't give you a fair shake.

But you did get a fair shake. It happened at Calvary, where Jesus died for you. Why will you let resentment infect your soul when Jesus stands ready with the antidote an overwhelming dose of His love?

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Copyright 2002 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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