I think as we go through life’s trials, the hard ones, it’s easy to become angry. It’s easy to carry around grudges.

I heard it first by Rob Bell, who was quoting Malachy McCourt , “Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” … And it’s so true. Those people in life that carry around those old stories of pain and irritation from other people are simply some of the most unhappy people we’ll ever encounter.
I remember running into someone from high school a few years ago. She was quick to bring up some painful stories, over 15 years old, about other classmates. She obviously was still carrying around a lot of resentment and anger with some people and here’s the thing… even if her pain was warranted, what was it serving her 15 years later? Absolutely nothing! Instead, she had this splinter that was festering that she was giving control of to her offender. She would not let that splinter be removed by anyone except her offender which meant the pain would persist.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why must we hang on to resentments like army badges?  They are not medals of honor. On the contrary, they are tumors that grow… Tumors that will affect our every thought and action. Someone mentions that person’s name and sorrow or anger grow inside. We find out something bad happened to them and we get a sense of satisfaction. We find out they failed or did something wrong in life and we have some kind of “not surprised, serves them right” kind of attitude. This is not Godliness. This isn’t even from Him at all. This is not from the teachings of our Lord and savior.

Recognize that where anger grows, love cannot. Our hearts spread love naturally… So we should let them, rather than gather up those crappy badges we “earned” of bitterness, resentment and anger.  We need to keep the love flowing from our hearts.  Our hearts aren’t effectively doing their godly job if they are barricaded by resentment.

Lysa Terkerust’s new book is coming out called “Uninvited.”  I think for those of us who have experienced pain in our lives, some pain that’s 15 years old or more, this book speaks to us. The first three chapters alone have resonated with me about those times when people have broken my own heart and I’ve allowed them control over it… When I haven’t allowed God to heal those parts. 

I think, for some of us, we’re a little afraid that if we “forgive and forget” we set ourselves up for more pain in the future. Some of us have even lived it.  

We needn’t carry around the pain, we should move ON.  If we are carrying resentments, we aren’t shaking ourselves off as Jesus instructed. We are just laying there in the dust until we feel sufficient pain has been brought to those who caused us pain…  All the while the world keeps spinning and we miss out. Let’s not miss out. Our earthly lives are pretty darn short. We need to enjoy them.

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. – Romans 12:17