What is justifiable resentment? And more importantly, how can someone get rid of it in their life?
Real resentment over real damage by a real person produces is what is known as justifiable resentment. It becomes such a massive part of a person’s life that it feels like a vulture sitting on top of them—a dark and dangerous presence that affects everything they do.
If the resentment were not justifiable, another person could talk them out of it. A friend could tell them things like:
- “Stop being so negative.”
- “Look at the bright side of things.”
- “Be more positive.”
But none of those things apply to someone with justifiable resentment because they have a reason to be resentful. They were a victim; it was not their fault. Anyone who knows of their terrible ordeal supports their feelings of resentment. Yet, that is the problem because no one questions their feelings. Everyone feels horrible for them, so it is easy for a victim to hang on to the resentment. Anyone would have a right to feel sorry for themselves, but someone who wants to heal can’t hold onto those painful feelings
If a person holds onto their pain, it will eat them alive. Justifiable resentment threatens to destroy their life, keeping them from living their best life possible. It will hurt their relationship with God and others. They will be firmly rooted in their past and trauma if justifiable resentment grows within them. Everything they do in life will lean up against their grudge, and it will come to define who they are and give the enemy a foothold. Ephesians 4:26-27 (NLT) says, “don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.”
Although it might be tough to imagine, anyone whose life is gripped by the vulture of justifiable resentment can be freed from it. How? It is possible to let it go and experience the healing power of forgiveness. Choose to heal by walking the path of forgiveness. To know which steps to take, read Healing is a Choice.
Once someone is on this path, something incredible is going to happen in the future.
One day, they will wake up and realize that everything in their life has changed. They will sense that they are no longer rooted in their past. What used to define their life and inner thoughts is no longer relevant to how they live their life. And once the vulture of justifiable resentment that once sat atop their head is gone, they will finally be free.
Adapted from Healing is a Choice by Stephen Arterburn