There are many people suffering from a canker in their soul called resentment. Resentment can be caused by many differing circumstances such as neglect, offense, abandonment, abuse (verbal, physical and/or sexual), envy, jealousy, covetousness, rejection, etc. When the name of the offender comes up the person with the canker in their soul is more likely to say something negative than positive. A feeling of anger may manifest itself. Telling others about the hurt may result. A subtle desire to see the offender pay for what was done lurks within.
One of the best definitions I have seen for resentment is found in Crabb’s English Synonymes; “a brooding sentiment altogether arising from a sense of personal injury; it is associated with a dislike of the offender as much as the offense, and is diminished only by the infliction of pain in return; in its rise, progress and effects, it is alike opposed to the Christian spirit.”Obviously it is the nature of Christian counsel to help such a person identify their resentment, deal with it, and get back in the Christian spirit by loving their neighbor (the offender). Mark 12:30&31
One illustration of a deep resentment from the scriptures is Saul’s jealousy of the young shepherd boy, David. David prevailed over Goliath, the giant from Gath of the Philistines. Abner, the commander of the army, brought David before Saul with Goliath’s head. As a result, Saul promoted David and set him over men of war. “Upon returning home from the slaughter of the Philistines, the women came out of all the cities of Israel singing and dancing to meet King Saul with tambourines and with joy and with musical instruments. So the women sang as they danced, and said; ‘Saul has slain his thousands and David his ten thousands.’ Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him. So Saul eyed David from that day forward with an envious eye, casting furtive glances at David, full of malice and ill will.” I Samuel 18:6-9 Two incidences are recorded in scripture where Saul cast a javelin at David attempting to kill him (I Samuel 18:11, 19:10) Looking back at our definition of resentment, we can see that Saul’s brooding sentiment of resentment towards David would be diminished only by inflicting pain in return.
May I make an analogy here concerning the canker of resentment? A canker is an ulcer-like sore that spreads, usually in the mouth. The canker of resentment concerns a sore from a personal injury associated with a dislike of the offender, as much as the offense. The injury spreads to the mouth using it to speak ill-will of another. Once this sets up in the mind, the feeling of ill-will will come alongside of feeling justified for being resentful. The sin of resentment grounded in unforgiveness is a mighty fortress to dismantle and disarm. Fyodor Dostoevsky in The Brothers Karamazov said of Fyodor Pavlovitch concerning his sinful lifestyle; “the person has been dead in his soul a long time”.
Maybe you have a resentment that you have neglected to repent of for a long time. You have been dead in your soul to this painful canker. What the canker needs is the healing balm of forgiveness. Make a list of the offences. One by one forgive each offense. Obey God’s Word; “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)
Will you do this? Ask God to forgive you your resentment. Subsequently receive the balm of forgiveness for your soul. Become a blessing to those who may have wounded you and God will bless you as you return to possessing a Christian spirit.