It seems all I have been doing over the past three days is harboring resentment. It wasn’t so much that I lost sleep over it but it was festering inside of me, slowly and constantly, until I felt I needed to go and talk it over with the person(s) who were the causes( in my mind).
Just as I was about to do so, I saw a Guideposts post by Elizabeth Peale Allen which talked about this very topic. I am so thankful I saw this before I did anything.
The first point she makes about how to handle resentment is :
- When you are hurt, allow yourself to be hurt. Say it aloud, talk to yourself or write something that brings it out. “I was getting irritated by a coworker who has a habit of popping into my room and talking non stop for many minutes not bothered about whether I was doing something or not. Last week in fact as she ” passed by” she asked me whether at the Staff meeting, someone else had indirectly brought it up that she had just ” arrived” at office ( at 11 am). I had to confess yes as I was there and the other coworker who brought it up did it while I was there. She ranted and raged at me that I hadn’t told her that this happened and she had to hear it from someone from another section of our unit. Even though I was not one of the wronged parties, it bothered me that this coworker was venting her rage on me, instead of talking it over with the “sneaking” colleague. I told her so in fact. Psalm 73:26 says : My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. The fourth point Elizabeth Allen made was to ” Extend peace to the other person”. I was doing just this and praying for her, with great difficulty, yesterday when she happened to pop in to my office and stayed for a very long time and we had a talk in which we shared our mutual feelings and parted in peace. So resentment 1 resolved.
- This morning I woke up again with that slow, low level resentment feeling again, this time to another coworker( who works in the other section of our department), who had a way of talking nastily and a tad with hidden meaning( to my mind). Again I was thinking this morning of confronting her and then planning my confrontation as we humans are so apt to do, when the thought struck me that I am a child of God and would Jesus behave this way. There were James and John, disciples of Jesus who wanted to call fire from heaven and destroy a village that did not receive Jesus hospitably. ( Luke 9: 54). Jesus turned and rebuked them. I thought about how I was exactly like the disciples and wanting ” fire” ( not literally) to come down and harm that coworker. How horrible of me ! I was reminded again of how to handle resentment and what Elizabeth Allen mentioned– Extend peace to the other person.Pray Psalm 29:11 over the other person but in reverse. The verse says : The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. Instead Elizabeth advises us to pray with a ” twist”- Lord give strength to this person who hurt me , Lord bless this person with peace. Difficult but did it. Did it all the way while I drove to work this morning. As I was parking the car, I assessed myself- resentment index a little down. Riding in the elevator to my room, I could manage a smile at the person who travelled up with me and even start up a conversation- better and better. Then into my room, where I started my work and continued with the prayer. This led me to point 2 of what Elizabeth Allen advised- ” Take a brisk walk”. ” Anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. We can frequently step out of that darkness with a bit of vigorous exercise. If you can pray while you walk, even better”, she advises. So I decided to walk around the corridor and try to add to my daily 10 K- my steps led me ( don’t ask me how to that coworkers’ office corridor, where I chatted for a few seconds with her supervisor who told me she was in the office. I looked over but found the door closed. The supervisor told me to knock as she must be inside. I did( don’t ask me why I did it- I think I was led to do it). After a few timid knocks, no one opened the door, so I started walking away. And then the door opened. The coworker came out, hair disheveled and looking dazed. I told her ( again, don’t ask me why), I was led to pray for you today- I didn’t mention the circumstances, of course, but I told her I had been praying for her while driving to work. Unbelievably, she came over and gave me a hug- her eyes poured out tears and she started weeping. I returned her hug too and then told her- I was led to pray for you and whatever it is, remember God is with you. She said thanks and I went off sensing she didn’t want to talk about whatever what in her mind. But think of it – I wanted confrontation and settlement and revenge and open discourse and God wanted me to pray for her and let her know that she was being cared for. Don’t we have a marvelous God ?