Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dealing with Resentment - part 2

Yesterday we saw the first stage of resentment that Ephesians 4:31 calls bitterness. Today we see the other five stages. If you did not read yesterday’s entry, I would encourage you to go back and read it before continuing on with today’s writing.

Stage 2 – Wrath

When the smoldering resentment of bitterness is missed or ignored, it grows into wrath. This is a moment of hot, internal anger that comes quickly and often leaves as quickly as it came. It can even surprise yourself as you question where that brief yet intense inward feeling came from. We see this in the response of the Jewish people after hearing some of Jesus’ teaching in Luke 4:28. We also see it in Acts 19:28 as a silversmith named Demetrius riles up the people against Paul resulting in their being filled with wrath.

Stage 3 – Anger

This is an internal smoldering that cannot be extinguished. Unlike wrath which is a passing feeling of anger, this is an abiding condition of the mind. It is the strongest of all inner passions spoken of in Scripture. Anger is almost always bent on getting revenge. If resentment is not dealt with here, it will without question come out in our actions.

Stage 4 – Clamor

This is one of those words that sounds just like it means. When you say it correctly in its original origin it has the sound like the cry of a raven. This is a verbal shout or outcry. It is a public outburst showing a lack of control. Here, you can no longer hold the feelings inside. You can see this word used to describe some of the religious leaders in Acts 23:9

Stage 5 – Slander

This is a compound word in the Greek made up of the words translated “to injure” and “speech.” This describes speech that is meant to injure. It can also be translated “railing.” While Jesus hung on the cross, his enemies hurled railing insults at him. Now folks, listen, once you begin to speak words toward or about someone with the intent to injure their feelings or character, you are just one step away from the final stage…malice.

Stage 6 – Malice

This is simply a general term for viciousness. Once you hit this stage of resentment, you are liable to do just about anything…even that which seems totally unimaginable. So the key is to reject resentment as soon as it rears its ugly head. If we can pluck it out of our lives while it is yet a seed, it is much easier than pulling out its roots after it has matured into a tee of full blown malice. In tomorrow’s entry we will talk about replacing resentment.

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