Resentment

“1610s, from French ressentiment (16c.), verbal noun from ressentir (see resent).”

    resent (v.)  

"take (something) ill; be in some degree angry or provoked at," c.1600, from French ressentir "feel pain, regret," from Old French resentir "feel again, feel in turn" (13c.), from re-, intensive prefix, + sentir "to feel," from Latin sentire (see sense (n.))

 

:To re-feel, to feel again a pain. 

Resentment is always about feelings. Resentment, resenting, to resent is always about feeling a wrong that has been done to me. The idea behind resentment is that a wrong has been done, and it either has not been atoned for, the wrong has not been righted, and/or the wrong has been committed again either maliciously, ignorantly, or indifferently.

Resentment is expectations, wants, or needs not being met in the way I want, when I want, where I want, with whom I want. Resentment looks to the past and dreams of a different outcome, wishing to be in a different present than one is in. Resentment is not based on who people have shown you they are, nor is it based on the grace given to humans who make mistakes. Resentment is about self. My needs, wants, desires were not met when I wanted, how I wanted, where I wanted, by whom I wanted. 

Resentment can birth hatred, and hatred can birth violence. This can lead to verbal abuse, physical abuse, or the violence of neglect. I say the violence of neglect because, instead of the emotional and physical outbursts of pain-based anger, there is the intentional deliberate withdrawal, removal of affection, kindness, love, patience. In many relationships this turns into withholding sex, silence, bills not being paid, children not being fed, elderly not being changed, etc. Resentment at some point in time ceases to want the other to fulfill my needs, and wants only for the other to feel my pain, and then some. 

The funny thing is that most times resent-ers are cowards. Resent-ers lack the courage, to actually confront the one who has let them down, expressing their anger and disappointment. Instead then internalize it. This is done for 2 reasons. The first is fear…fear that a confrontation will lead to a broken relationship (which relationship is already strained, and the silence is deception that all is well). The second is power. If I resent you, I have something on you. I feel powerful. You will never hurt me again, and if you do…WHAM! I will slam you with the power of your mistake magnified beyond reason and the specific incident that occurred!

Resentment justifies my pain, but does not sooth it. There is no healing in resentment. There can be no relationship with resentment present. 

 

Forgiveness

forgiveness (n.)  

Old English forgiefnes "pardon, forgiveness, indulgence;" see forgive + -ness.

forgive (v.)  

Old English forgiefan "give, grant, allow; forgive," also "to give up" and "to give in marriage;" from for- "completely" + giefan "give" (see give).

The modern sense of "to give up desire or power to punish" is from use of the compound as a Germanic loan-translation of Latin perdonare (such as Old Saxon fargeban, Dutch vergeven, German vergeben, Gothic fragiban; see
pardon (v.)). Related: Forgave; forgiven; forgiving.
 

 

If I have accepted that people are human, and people are who they show me they are, then my resentment based on expectations (which, by the way, is very human and normal) can be soothed by forgiveness. 

Forgiveness says I give up all hope that the present would be anything other than what it is. 

Forgiveness says I give up my right to punish you for hurting me.

Forgiveness says I give myself the right to feel my pain, not mask it behind resentment. 

Forgiveness says I give myself the right to be a vulnerable human…I am not a robot.

Forgiveness says I give myself the right to not be controlled by the pain others inflict on me. I am still free.

Forgiveness does not demand that things remain the same. 

Forgiveness does not demand that the relationship stay intact. There may be a need to renegotiate the relationship, set some boundaries, and move a little more cautiously. It may be time to break relationship. However, forgiveness says that when I break relationship I leave the power of the pain where the pain happened. I may feel the pain, but the power of the pain is left when I leave the relationship.

Pains power is expectation. If you hurt me, I expect you to fix, sooth, the hurt. However, if you have shown me that all you can do is hurt me, and if I have accepted that this is who you are, then I can forgive you for hurting me, I can forgive you for being who you are, and I can take my hurt out of the power of expecting you to heal me, and I can walk on with my life toward healing without you. My healing becomes my responsibility, not yours.

However, forgiveness can be a step toward relational restoration. If I hurt my wife, and I feel terribly sorry, and confess, and repent, I as the wound-er have done all I can do. It is up to my wife to forgive me, and restore me to a place where I can do better. Her forgiveness empowers me to implement the changes we both see I need to make. 

Forgiveness changes hearts. The hard-hearted can become affectionate, the negligent responsible, the philanderer committed. But those changes are their choice. Forgiveness is mine.

Forgiveness is the oppressed’s power against the oppressor. Many times the oppressor is stronger, and has more resources. Therefore when I hate them for oppressing me, I am acknowledging and agree that they have power to create me the way they want me. However, when I forgive I demonstrate that I am still here, I am not their toy to be manipulated. I still have a choice. Forgiveness informs the oppressor that they are actually wrong, have been judged, and have not been punished.

Relations without forgiveness are doomed to fail.

Relationships based in forgiveness created and explore new worlds of possibility, create new opportunities, and change family, neighborhoods, cultures, nations, etc. Why? Because to forgive is Godly…

Eph 1:7  …In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace

 


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