Individual Thorn part 2

Rousseau said, “Man was born free and everywhere I look I see him chained.” Resentment is a destroyer of individual lives and family ties. We are told what hurts a relationship is not what is on the table, it is under the table. Resentment not dealt with grows and festers over the years. It infects, affects and ultimately destroys so, many relationships. Rightly, does O’Donohue call it a canker. That is why the “R” of Garbage is resentment. It could also be rebellious, but that is a whole different blog.

Resentment can and does destroy our own lives, our relationships, our marriages and our ability to “have life and have it to the fullest.” Let us then begin to look at our lives through the eyes of a health love which is patient and kind, takes no offense and is not resentful. Let us look at ourselves and our lives through the eye of God’s love which frees us to be ourselves, free, authentic, human beings. This is a perpetual, personal process demanding we treat ourselves with love, respect and forgiveness. The change which results from this will allow us to have healthy boundaries. The downside of this which really is a gift to yourself is you will be giving resentments, not getting resentments. How much resentment builds up when we do not treat ourselves with love, respect and forgiveness? You will find opposition to your new way of thinking and your new way of living.

Resentments are burdens we don’t need to carry; we don’t have to carry. Let us again remind ourselves of what St. Paul writes in his epistle to the Corinthians, “love is patient, love is kind. Love takes no offense and is not resentful.” Let us journey inside of ourselves and see what events and areas of our lives in which we feel resentful. In what things have we not forgiveness ourselves? What is the area that we are still growing in reconciliation? Because we are human beings in the process of becoming fully human with all of the subtleties of what it means to be human.

“Resentment is the poison of the spiritual life. The word means, literally “feeling again,” in the sense of “feeling backward.” The emphasis is on the a clinging to the past, a harping on it that becomes mired in it. Resentment goes over and over an old injury. Revisiting the hurt, the powerlessness, the rage, the fear, the feeling of being wronged. Scraping the scab off the wound, resentment relishes anew its pain. It is the particular kind of memory that reinforces the vision of self-as-victim. Resentment is the refusal, out of fear, to cross the bridge of sadness and let ourselves back into the impermanent world of relationship. Anger as resentment refuses relationships, slashing at everything and everyone that comes close. But our pain can be healed only by some kind of closeness, some kind of connection with others. Sadness opens us to the need for unity and community. (The Spirituality of Imperfection by Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham).
“Without forgiveness life is governed by an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation.” Someone, else wrote, “Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.” So then continue the Feeling work. Do your writing and burning. May you come to peace and acceptance this Lenten season.

Leave a Comment

*