Released From Resentment

Bible Book: Joshua  6 : 1-3
Subject: Resentment; Grudge, Holding a; Anger; Bitterness; Feelings, Hurt

Job 6:1-3

What do the following have in common?

Your marriage partner has left you for someone else.

You were unjustly fired from your job.

You have had things said about you that were not true.

You had a parent who never spent time with you.

You had a life shattering tragedy in your family.

You had a bad experience in church.

You may say these things are hurts that stung very deeply. You would be right. They have something else in common. These and other hurts like them are fertile ground for the development of resentment. Resentment can be defined as hurt that has become infected. I heard someone say once, "It is the difference in a clean wound and a dirty wound." A clean wound hurts but the infection causing elements are washed from it. A dirty wound hurts but is further contaminated because it is not dealt with in a timely manner. Resentment is one of the most damaging and destructive emotions one can experience.

Today we are going to talk about recovering from deep hurt. We are going to learn how to avoid resentment or to be released from resentment if it has already set in. I dare say I am talking to many who have been hurt very deeply. As painful as the hurt may have been, resentment only intensifies rather than minimizes the pain. Our example will be Job. If anyone had the excuse or the right to be bitter it was Job. Job was one of the wealthiest men of his day. He had it all. Yet, one day he lost it all. His world came tumbling down. He was rich one day and bankrupt the next. His children were murdered. He contracted a very painful and nearly fatal disease. The only thing he had left was a nagging spouse who gave him unbelievable grief. Oh yea, he had some super spiritual friends who wanted to tell him it was his entire fault.

Look at Job 6: 1-3.

Now turn to Job 9: 18 "He fills my life with bitterness."

Are you bitter? Maybe your bitterness is:

Towards God.
Towards your spouse.
Towards a friend who has wounded you.
Towards a parent.
Towards the church.

You can be released, but in order to be set free there are some things you need to understand.

I. The Roots of Resentment

A. What People Say About You Can Make You Bitter

Job 12:5 - "You have no trouble and yet you make fun of me. You hit a man who is about to fall." Job essential said, "You say things about me that hurt."

Job had not asked these guys to be his accountability partners, but seeing the tragedy in his life they felt it was their goal in life to verbally set him straight. Later they would experience God's judgment. What people say hurts. The old nursery rhyme states,

"Sticks and stones may break my bones
But names will never hurt me."

That's a bunch of junk. Words do hurt.

Many of you as children had things said about you. You still remember them as an adult. That's why the Bible says the tongue is a dangerous weapon. There are some statements you never forget.

B. What People Think About Us Can Make Us Bitter

Job 19:5 - "You think you are better than I am and regard my trouble as proof of my guilt."

Job was really going through it. His friends lacked perception at best. They lacked sensitivity at worse. We often say, "I don't really care what people think," but most people really do care about what people think of them. It hurts when you are trying to please someone and they reject you or they ignore you.

C. What People Do To Us Can Make Us Bitter

Job 19:19-  "Those I loved the most have turned against me."

Those I have loved the most have hurt me the most. Often what makes resentment so painful is the people we are mad at are the ones we're really trying to love. It is not often that we are resentful towards strangers. That's why resentment is most common in a family setting. You are trying to love a parent who abused you. You are trying to love a spouse who neglects you. You are trying to love a friend who manipulates you. When those you care about most betray you it causes the greatest resentment.

II. The Results of Bitterness

A. Resentment Is Unreasonable

Job 5:2 - "To worry yourself to death with resentment would be a foolish senseless thing to do."

Ecclesiastes 7:9 - "It's foolish to harbor a grudge."

B. Resentment Doesn't Work

It will never change the past, nor can it ever restore a relationship.

C. Resentment Only Makes You Worse

Rick Warren said this about resentment, "It's like driving down the street with your eyes continually on the rearview mirror. You are always looking in the past, so you crack up in the present."

D. Resentment Is Unhelpful

Job 8:4 - "You are only hurting yourself with your anger."

Resentment always hurts you more than the person who has caused the resentment. Resentment is emotional suicide.

E. Resentment Is Unhealthy

Job 21:23-25 - "Some men stay healthy till the day they die. They die happy and at ease. Others have no happiness at all. They live and die with bitter hearts."

Dr. S. McMillan is a doctor who lived years ago and wrote a brilliant book entitled, "None of these Diseases." In that book. Dr. McMillan points out how destructive emotions, such as bitterness, can consume a person both physically and mentally. Concerning bitterness he writes, "The moment I start hating a man I become his slave. I can't enjoy my work anymore because he even controls my thoughts. The man I hate hounds me wherever I go. I can't escape his tyrannical grasp on my mind. The man I hate may be many miles from my bedroom; but crueler than any slave driver he whips my thoughts into such a frenzy my inner spring mattress becomes a rack of torture. I really must acknowledge the fact that I am a slave to every man on whom I pour the vials of my wrath."

Bitterness is like kudzu. It will eventually consume you.

Bitterness is like the lady who went to see a doctor for an examination. She felt terrible. The doctor said, "Ma’am, I am sorry to tell you this, but you have rabies.” She got out her notebook and started making  a list. He asked, "What are you doing, making out your will?" The lady replied, "No I'm making a list of people I am going to bite."

III. Release from Resentment

A. Be Honest About Your Hurts

Tell it to God.

Job 7:11 - "I can't be quiet. I am angry and bitter. I have to speak."

Job 10:1 - "Listen to my bitter complaint. Don't condemn me God."

God is not surprised by your emotional state. When it comes to hurt feelings, we can do one of three things.

i. Repress it.
ii. Express it. (Retaliate.)
iii. Confess it.

Someone said, "The best way to tell it to God is to write a letter." Everyone needs at least one person you can spill your guts to – someone who will not hold it against you.

B. Free Your Offender

You will never stop hurting until you learn to forgive. Jesus said, "Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you."

We don't forgive because it is fair. We forgive because it is for our own benefit.

C. Place Your Focus Elsewhere

As long as you focus on the person or thing that has hurt you, he or it controls your life. Whatever gets your attention gets you.


Job gives us three steps into proper focus.

i. Put your heart right.
ii. Reach out to God.
iii. Face the world again with courage.

The Lord blessed the last part of Job's life more than the first. That can happen to us when we learn to deal with our hurts God's way; and, when we learn to handle resentment according to God's plan.