Why It Is Important to Overcome Resentment

Daily Devotional: Day 229

“For John [the Baptist] had been saying to Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.’ And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not . . . But an opportunity came . . .” (Mark 6:18-19, 21, ESV).

Today’s message is related to yesterday’s, which was about praying for those who don’t deserve it. We briefly touched on hate and grudge. But today, we want to give a little more attention to why it is important to entertain good thoughts and overcome resentment. The story in today’s passage about John the Baptist and Herodias will teach us valuable lessons about this subject.

John the Baptist was known for his fiery preaching. He confronted Herod Antipas over his illicit affair with Herodias, who was the wife of Herod’s half-brother. John most likely based his rebuke on Leviticus 18:16 which prohibited a person from marrying his brother’s wife – whether the brother was alive or not. The only exception was if the brother had died without leaving any children. In that case, the Law required that the brother of the deceased should marry the widow for purposes of providing progeny for the deceased (cf. Deuteronomy 25:5-10; see also Luke 20:27-40). John had just stirred up a hornet’s nest.

Herodias did not take John’s rebuke kindly. According to the Bible, “Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death.” Now Herod had already put John in prison for the latter’s condemnation of Herod’s behavior. John, therefore, posed no further threat to the unholy affair between Herod and his paramour. One would think that at this point Herodias would let it go. Her enemy, after all, was locked up in prison, possibly for life. But she held so much grudge in her heart that she desired to kill John.

She couldn’t, the Bible says. But one day, the opportunity came, and she swiftly unleashed her wrath on John by suggesting to her daughter that she ask for John’s head (cf. Mark 6:21-29). Several lessons can be drawn from this story, but let’s focus on just one: the importance of entertaining good thoughts and avoiding grudge.

Herodias’ problem involved three stages: first, she held a grudge; then she desired to kill; and finally, she killed. We can see this pattern in the events leading to Jesus’ crucifixion by his enemies. A further example is what happened between Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1-11), as well as what ensued between Joseph and his brothers (Genesis 37:1-36). 

Your thoughts are like the steering wheel of a vehicle. Where you turn the steering, that is the direction you go. Likewise, your thoughts give direction to your life. Where you turn your thoughts, there your life will go. Bad thoughts will lead you in the wrong direction, but good thoughts will take you in the right direction. This is why it is important to entertain only good and positive thoughts, especially regarding yourself and other people.

No matter what people have done to you – whether they are wrong or right – it is important that you don’t entertain grudge or resentment against them. The reason is, when grudge persists, someone always gets hurt. Resentment is just the first step in the process. Over time, resentment breeds hate. Then, when hate matures, it begins to wish serious harm (even death) on the person (or people) resented. 

There is enough evil in the world. When you get an opportunity, do something to make this world a little more brighter. In Romans 6:12-19, God tells us to yield the members of our body, not as instruments of unrighteousness, but as instruments of righteousness. Satan needs an instrument to propagate evil. Don’t let that instrument be you.

Be an instrument in the hands of JesusLet Him use you to bring peace where there is no peace; to bring purity where there is impurity; to bring healing where there is hurt; to bring salvation where people are lost; to bring truth where people are deceived; and to bring freedom where people are bound.                

May the God of peace let His face shine upon you today, in the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: Genesis 37:1-36

Praying for Those Who Don’t Deserve It

Daily Devotional |Day 228

 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28, NASB).

Love is the most powerful weapon you have. Have no doubt about that. You will never win by hating or even disliking people. Keep your heart free from all resentment. The condition of your heart determines the condition of your whole life. If your heart is pure, your whole life is pure. If your heart is bitter, your whole life is bitter as well. You don’t want to make resentment your friend. Listen to what Jesus is saying today. It will liberate and strengthen you.

You will be tempted again and again to resent people, but you must say “No” to resentment and hate. The kind of love Jesus is talking about in today’s Bible passage is possible through faith. Jesus wants you to take, not just the highroad, but the divine road. Specifically, Jesus says, pray for those who mistreat or abuse you.

Being able to pray for those who hate or hurt you, identifies you with Jesus. Do you want to be like Jesus? Start by doing what He tells you. Prayer connects you to the Lord in a special way. When you pray for people who don’t deserve it, you are glorifying God and shaming the devil. The enemy wants you to hate; he wants you to resent. In short, he wants you to be like him. Don’t be like him, because you are a child of light (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:5). The truth is, when you hate, you lose. Haters are losers. Hate weakens you. Hate never wins anything. Love, and love alone, empowers you. When you pray for those who mistreat you, the power of Jesus will flow mightily through you

What you need to realize is, the spiritual realm, just like the physical realm, operates on laws and principles. You can’t hold on to anger/grudge/resentment and hold on to the grace of God at the same time. One has to go. As Christians, we are beneficiaries of God’s abundant grace which He lavished on us through His Son and the Spirit. We, in turn, are called to be ministers of graceWe give grace because we are grace people.

Identity and behavior go hand in hand. They are two sides of the same coin. You are from grace (identity); therefore, you show grace (mission). One prominent way of extending grace to people who mistreat you or hate you is to pray for them. Jesus wants you to pray for them, not against them. 

Jesus’ teaching is deep and radical. You need to receive it with faith and a spirit of submission, even when your feeling is pulling you in the opposite direction. Keeping Jesus’ teachings will fill you with life, because His words are spirit and they are life (cf. John 6:63).

Take Jesus’ message to heart. You may not feel like praying for people who have hurt you. But be led by the Spirit of Christ, not your feeling. Feeling is just feeling. If you follow your feeling alone, you may never do what is right.

Do what Jesus tells you, your feelings notwithstanding.

May the Lord grant you victory over every adversity through The Power of Love! Amen.

 For further study: Romans 12:9-21