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Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting manyHeb. 12:15 (NLT)

Resentment kills a foolJob. 5:2 (NIV)

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Eph. 4:31-32 (NIV)

Dear heavenly Father, these Scriptures cut to the chase and bring conviction to our hearts. We are your beloved daughters and sons, but today we are also your “busted” daughters and sons; for resentment can well up in our hearts as soon as someone gets our parking place, or eats the piece of cake we hid in the “frig.” It’s amazing how quickly a little sleight can launch us into a big spite. Have mercy on us, Lord, and grant us fresh grace, thicker skin and bigger hearts.

But Father, being slighted is one thing, but being pummeled by betrayals and failures, deceit and lies is an altogether different matter. These aren’t things to "shake off," but raw wounds and real pain to bring to your throne of grace. Indeed, you’re not calling us to denial but to yourself. Have mercy on us, Lord, and grant us wisdom, strength and grace.

Through the power of your Holy Spirit, the truth of the gospel, and the gift of community--don't let our healthy anger morph into destructive revenge. Don’t let our hurts become a band of vigilante marauders--not just bent on getting even, but upping the ante--repaying harm for harm, evil for evil, and death for death.

Don’t let our vulnerable hearts become gardens for the planting of roots of resentment and bushes of bitterness; and keep us from medicating our pain foolishly. Father, as Jesus has forgiven us, so help us to want to forgive others. Make the gospel more defining than our pain. Write stories of redemption and restoration with the ink of our hurt and your grace. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ tender and triumphant name.

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One thought on “Avoiding Resentment, Bitterness, and Revenge”

  1. Bonita says:

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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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