A Bitter Taste
I don't like to give in to resentment, but right now I'm losing the battle. I've even made a list of my day's resentments:
I resent my work for piling up all at once.
I resent my three-year-old for not napping.
I resent my husband for coming home later than promised.
I resent the laundry for needing to be done five days in a row.
I resent dinner for taking so long to make.
I resent the cold weather for making me hunch my shoulders outside.
I resent the cold weather for being so cold.
I resent my body for getting older and refusing to process fat efficiently.
I resent my house for being old and drafty, and chilling my fingers while typing.
I resent my friend Todd for beating me at online Scrabble five times.
I resent the dog. 'Trust me, I could go on.
I've come to believe resentment might be the eighth deadly sin. It seems far more dangerous than the other seven held up during the Middle Ages as the epitome of evil: pride, envy, anger, sloth, greed, gluttony, and lust. Resentment seems more harmful than envy, more hurtful than greed, and more poisonous than lust. (And, frankly, sloth shouldn't even be on that list. I could use a few sloth-y days.)
Resentment is an insidious threat. The self-pity that's at the heart of resentment feels good, even righteous. If I'm irritable with everyone around me, I tell myself I have that right because no one else is as put upon as I am. No one else carries the burdens I do. I have just cause to resent all the ways my life isn't what it should be.
On paper, that justification sounds ridiculous. But if you also struggle with resentment, you've heard that little voice in your head that echoes of entitlement, telling you that you deserve more than you have. It's the voice that convinces you that your tired, overworked life should be going better than it is now.
When I succumb to those rationalizations for resentment, I see only problems in my life. I see my children only as constant interruptions. I see my husband only as the relief childcare provider. I see my job only as a paycheck. And I see God only as … well, honestly, I don't see God at all.
When I home in on this bitterness, I have no room for God. Because God is present in all the goodness of my life: my relationships, my work, even my dog. When I can't see that goodness, I can't see God.
Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." The apostle Paul understood that when you turn your heart and mind toward all the pure and true and lovely things in your life, you have no room for resentment. You only have room for God.
Do you get stuck in moments of resentment? How do you silence the voice of entitlement and recognize the goodness in your life?
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A Bitter Taste
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