I just had a conversation today with someone I would consider a dear friend after a silence of 6 months. This quiet period bred two things in me: a wandering mind and the idea of bitterness. Without even realizing it, I was building a quiet cynicism towards this persons intentions and even their abilities.
Amazingly after talking, we both admitted to harboring almost the exact same resentment toward each other. The context’s were slightly different but the theme remained the exact same: injustice. Essentially, we felt that what happened to one of us should have happened to both of us.
It occurred to me that resentment typically comes from a sense of injustice. The notion that fairness should be an overarching theme to my life has rapidly revealed itself to be an illusion. Just like the illusion of control this myth of fairness seems to offer a system of false hope. Real injustice breeds social change whereas perceived injustice potentially breeds resentment.
I know I’m being somewhat cryptic here regarding my own situation but would feel it a betrayal to reveal our conversation completely. Still, he made an astoundingly discerning statement: “I guess resentment crept in because our relationship never got beyond the surface.” This saddened me…I’ve known him for 10 years.
How could someone I’ve known for so long so easily resent me? I think it’s because we didn’t practice that most difficult of tasks: accountability. In our professional and personal lives we never held each other to a level of accountability that would sustain our relationship through the rough times.
The fact is, all long-term relationships have good times and bad times. It’s in those bad times that we have to polish our ‘confessional’ skills. It’s hard to bear resentment toward your brother and sister when we’re accountable enough to confess those seeds of indignation.
The irony is that I think God is capable of handling our resentments toward him, justified or not. I don’t think you or I are capable of holding resentments toward each other though. It’s like trying to breathe through a straw when you are around someone who causes a subtle anger in you.
What are some triggers for resentment? Recurring thoughts of injustice, unfairness, failed expectations and frustrations. What is the answer? Confession. I use ancient and liturgical terms but their remedy is no less effectual. From the CEO to the cleaning crew, the executive to the cashier, find relief from resentment. Find healing and hope in your honesty.
Maybe your expectations were wrong. Maybe you got passed on the raise or the position. Or maybe, just maybe, you did do everything right and everything you possibly could.
My hope for you? Don’t be resentful, be free.
- Letting Go of Resentments (theinbewtweenbalancegirl.wordpress.com)
- Daily Leadership Thought #184 – Learn To Let Go (via Ed Robinson’s Blog) (mysterycoach.wordpress.com)