Resentments often get “Returned to Sender”
I once tried to send an email to my friend, only to have it repeatedly bounce back to me as “undeliverable.” In frustration, each time it happened I would precisely retype the email address and click “send” again, only to have the same maddening results. As the tedious process continued throughout the next couple of days, my anger rose proportionately. A few days later, when I finally saw my friend again in person, I blasted him with my now full-on annoyance: “Did you change your email address or something?! I’ve been trying to get a message to you for days!” He looked at me with complete befuddlement and genuine innocence and said, “I’m sorry – I had no idea you were trying to send something to me.”
Isn’t it the same way with our resentments? Think about the word: RE-SENTment. It implies that I am continually trying to “re-send” my anger, pain, bitterness, and vengefulness toward the person who has wronged me. The problem? Much like the email described above, my RE-SENTment keeps bouncing back to me with the cruel message, “Return to Sender.” So all the venom I intended to unleash on the one who hurt me so badly instead bounces back and lands squarely on my shoulders. I am the one who suffers. I am the one whose pain grows deeper. I am the one whose peace is stolen and whose life remains “on hold” as I stew in my anger and hurt. And the most bitter irony? The person to whom I was trying to “re-send” my pain is completely oblivious. HE isn’t hurting. SHE isn’t in turmoil. HE isn’t losing sleep or peace of mind. In fact, that person is probably completely unaware of how much I am hurting or how hard I am trying to communicate that pain to him or her.
So what to do? One good option is to reach out to the person who hurt you in a spirit of reconciliation. That doesn’t mean that what he or she did to you is OK. It doesn’t mean that you will choose to continue to be in relationship with that person. It doesn’t even mean that you feel completely ready to forgive the person. It just means that you’re no longer willing to have your pain returned to you with no resolution. You’re willing to take a step toward peace. You’re willing to LET GO.
Of course, if it’s not possible to reach out to the person who wronged you, you can ALWAYS reach out to God. When you share your pain with Him, he will never be oblivious. He will never change His email address. He will never allow your pain to be “returned to sender.” Rather, He will open his arms and receive you, and He will absorb your pain for you. As you relax in His grace and rest in His love, you will soon find that you have no bitterness, anger, or pain left to “re-send.” Such is the power of a loving God. Will you accept His peace today? Or will you continue to let your pain and resentment destroy only you?
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