Today, I want to talk about something that so often stalks us, as Christians. It is something that hides in churches, and it is something that hides in our lives. It is something that actually kills and steals so much of life.
It is resentment.
Resentment is almost a “Christian sin.” And, I say the word “sin” specifically in the sense that sin separates you from God.
Sin kills healthy things. Sin infects living things with death.
In this sense, resentment is a sin. It will infect your life, bring death to your soul, and separate you from God.
It’s also almost a “Christian sin,” because it’s such a temptation for Christians – a temptation to do the right action for the wrong reason.
Resentment is a particularly tough temptation for those drawn toward caring and helping others, because resentment builds when we don’t feel appreciated enough, valued enough, or noticed enough.
We do the right actions, but don’t see the “right” or expected reaction, and resentment builds.
This is why I said it’s almost a “Christian sin,” in that so many Christians choose to love and care, but then feel resentful afterward…
They serve and give to someone, who doesn’t seem to appreciate their effort.
They bend over backwards for someone, who seems to take it for granted.
They put way too many hours into a sermon, only to have it critiqued within five minutes.
Or, however else it works out in your life.
But, this is why resentment is both subtle and a sin. Because, ultimately, whenever resentment is present, what it reveals is that the right actions were done for the wrong reason. That we gave, sacrificed, or served not because it was right, but because we wanted the “right” reaction.
Resentment happens when sacrifice turns inward.
And so, while we often talk about lots of other “obvious sins,” this is one that goes unnoticed, slides under the radar, and then remains unchanged.
But, I think it does need to change.
Because, I know, at least in my life, that resentment is often right there under the surface. I can get resentful to God for all that I gave up for Him. I can get resentful for the sacrifices that I give that seem to go unnoticed. Surely I am owed something in return!
But, resentment can’t go unnoticed and unchanged, because a resentful heart isn’t a Christ-like heart.
So, what do we do with all of this?
Well, I think the first step is to reflect and ask: Is resentment hiding in our hearts?
And, if so, then I think what we do is confess and get back to giving.
We confess the sin, ask for healing and forgiveness, and then seek to get back to giving, serving, and sacrificing, but this time without the expectations or agendas.