(By: Norm Rasmussen)

Before addressing resentment(s) and bitterness -- trained professionals know that anger is the number one emotion that is the most lethal of all emotions if not dealt with wisely. Bible students know that God tells us to not let anger get a hold of us, because if we do, it will give legal ground for evil spirits to afflict (oppress) us when they otherwise would be not be allowed by God to do so.

"Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil." (Ephesians 4:26-27 NKJV).

Anger is a normal emotion and is not sin, but how we deal with our anger CAN become sin against God and others. When we take matters into our own hands in retaliation (revenge) - no matter to what means and degree we execute it - against the one(s) who have made us angry (hurt, offended, used, lied, or betrayed us, etc.), we can easily cross over into committing sin, which thereby can give Satan legal ground to have at us in ways he wouldn't be able to otherwise.

Harboring resentment and bitterness, God considers to be sin because God sees it as the one harboring it in becoming their own judge...acting as though they are God without realizing it - whereby self-justifying their right to be their OWN executioner.

God wants every created being to understand He alone is the ultimate judge and executioner: It's a HUGE deal to God. (Remember: Satan at one time not only wanted to be equal to God, which got him kicked out of heaven forever, but demanding one's right to be equal with God displays to God that rebellious person or angel is demanding to be both supreme ruler AND judge and executioner. The One who created us alone deserves the right to be our sole judge and ultimate executioner, the way God sees it, and the way God sees things is ALL that matters on the judgment day.)

We may not try to outrightly destroy a person who has hurt us, but our human mind likes to cuddle up with resentment as an acceptable substitute to pacify the anger we have because of that hurt. Resentment can be so subtly slippery, so subtly deadly. It's can be a slow growing spiritual cancer that can imprison you until it's nearly too late to do anything about if preventive measures are not employed in the early stages to keep it away from getting its deadly poison into us.

Resentment runs a close second to anger (click to read) in being emotionally and spiritually deadly. Bitterness runs a close third. If anger is not dealt with properly and in a timely fashion, resentment and bitterness can begin to sprout out of it. Thus resentment and bitterness are the dual results of unresolved anger.

Heb. 12:15 (KJV):  "Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled."

Evil spirits love it when a person gives place to resentment, because like anger, resentment also can give place to evil spirits in our lives when they otherwise would have no legal grounds to influence us.

Resentment likes to imprison its victims through any number of ways. Children can begin resenting their parents for different reasons, for example, yet don't realize they are, if they are not covered with love. Children can resent teachers, classmates, the very school they attend and the community they live in, yet never consciously be aware of it because no one having positive influence in that child's life was either aware of it happening - perhaps too immersed in their own painful circumstances of life - which then results in them not caring enough to do anything about it.

Children or adolescents carrying around stuffed, buried anger are more vulnerably enticed (tempted) by evil spirits to resort to something to mask (soothe) their emotional pain. Drug abuse, promiscuous sexual encounters, chronic masturbation, overeating, crime, isolationism, gang involvement to feel a sense of power and control, reject caring about Christ-centered spiritual matters although attraction to the occult sometimes ensues. These are some of the more common ways younger people deal with their stuffed anger. Of course, adults often do these very same things when hurts (stuffed anger) deep inside them start stacking layer upon layer...with resentment and bitterness adding fertilizer to their stuffed anger.

Before moving on: Adults have more options at their disposal than do most adolescents to try to find some peace from their stuffed anger issues. Getting married is common. Landing a job is another. Joining the military can be another option. In and of itself, there is nothing wrong about moving in any of these three directions, but we must realize that we carry our stuffed anger around with us wherever we go and whatever we do. And when we do that, because we are wounded emotional victims of our stuffed-anger, we can be some of the most irritable, unlikeable people to be around whereby we can potentially set ourselves up for even GREATER anger issues to have to deal with.

Let's do ourselves a HUGE favor! Let's resolve to deal with an angry - resentful - bitter spirit. God our Heavenly Father lovingly and protectively screams at us in the following scripture that they are deadly poison to us, and then gives us some of His remedies to help destroy their grip on us:

"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).

An interesting yet sad sidebar: Professionals pretty much agree that probably upwards of 75% of the people in prison have ended up there because of stuffed unresolved anger'most likely starting back from their childhood days. Satan and the evil spirits that do his bidding have one agenda: To rob - kill - and destroy. (See: John 10:10)

The progression of emotional pain, if not stopped, goes pretty much like this: Anger, Resentment, Bitterness, Hatred, Rebellion. Rebellion can take many different forms, though a common thread is rebellion against authority. Evil spirits love 'spiritually - emotionally wounded rebels', because they are so easily manipulated to do evil (oppose authority) that no one else would do.  Of course, Satan likes to manipulate a wounded child into believing that nothing can be done about their hurtful situation(s), and so that child can bury their hurt through various means...only for it to continue to fester and manifest later on.

God tells us Satan is the father of lies: John 8:44. That means the evil spirits serving Satan are also masters of lying. An emotional wounded person is the easiest to tell a lie to and have it believed on their part to be as 'the truth - the reality of matters'.

People don't always need to be spiritually - emotionally wounded to believe the lies of evil spirits, however. Evil spirits used Hitler to tell lies to the masses, which they began to believe. History records for us the outcome of the masses believing the deceptive lies of Hitler. Be very cautious of believing what ANYONE initially tells you (including voices and thoughts inside your head). They may believe it's harmless and favorable to most if not all of what they are saying, but be wise in bouncing what they say off to the Holy Spirit before you accept believing it. God tells us to be wisely cautious about the thoughts and especially the conclusions inside our heads:

"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV)

Reality: If a person is uninformed and/or unfruitfully unresponsive of God's Word - His holy, sacred scriptures in the Bible - they are not able to take "every thought captive" as Christ would admonish them to do. Hence, if a person truly wants to be in obedience to Jesus Christ, they need to be keenly aware of what Jesus Christ desires of them. What Jesus Christ keenly desires of them has been recorded in the Holy Bible scriptures. One of our acts of obedience to Jesus Christ is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Trying to discern evil without the help of the Holy Spirit and then doing something God-glorifyingly positive about it is like trying to win the Daytona 500 race with four square tires.

Resentment can be so subtle. It can be so difficult to discern by oneself. Often it can only be detected by a trained professional who understands how lethal it can be. Our human pride can sometimes blind us to the fact that we are harboring resentment. Certainly our hurt(s) can blind us. 

Harboring low-level resentment happens when dealing with unresolved conflict in marriage all the time. A person in the marriage may come to the place where they resent ever getting married, or even resent being married at all, yet purposely bury their awareness that they are in a state of resentment over the matter usually because: "'Till death do I part.'

[A quick side-bar about being in a painful marriage. God hates divorce, but there's something I believe God hates even MORE: Victim spouses who stay in a persistently abusive marriage without healthy separation of both themselves and often-times their children.

Yes - at times, 'Abusive' is an overused word in our society, and it can be a catch-all word we latch onto to justify our 'need' to get out of that marriage. Nevertheless, a spouse who is constantly physically abusing their spouse is clearly guilty of abuse, and that abused spouse needs to seek competent counsel in what to do about it. Emotional - verbal abuse from a spouse becomes trickier to quantify. A spouse who believes he or she is being emotionally abused is wise to bounce it off one or more competent people they trust to help them realize the situation they are in, and then take corrective action.]

Sometimes one or both spouses can become imprisoned with resentment because they resent having children. Children puts a demand on parents' freedom like little else can. Especially having disobedient children (who are carrying around stuffed hurt - hence anger - more than likely).

Any time we regret making a decision we made, resentment can come knocking on our door. That's why so many marriages require so much work to keep evil out of them. Anger fuels resentment; resentfulness keeps fueling anger. One feeds the other. Evil spirits pour gas on the situation more than most realize, and only until the marriage ends in divorce and deep seated pain is driven in the hearts of both couples involved are evil spirits overjoyed, especially if children were involved in the divorce. That makes those evil spirits' victory even more rewarding STILL!

So what is God's solution to keep anger, resentment and bitterness from imprisoning us, constantly stealing our joy? Being both THANKFUL and FORGIVING. Being thankful is the antidote for resentment and forgiving is the antidote for anger.

It is so important to understand WHY God says so much to us in His Word about our need to be THANKFUL. You can liken BEING THANKFUL to the equivalent of the power of a mega nuclear warhead. It is a mega high-level weapon God gives us to keep us healthy: Body, soul and spirit. It is a spiritual weapon God gives His created beings to use to prevent them from coming down with the spiritual cancer of resentment and bitterness. Being thankful is the antidote to the effects of anger, resentment and bitterness. It's the spiritual serum for spiritually deadly snakebites.

If a person fails to realize that the weapon of thanksgiving is a means God gives us to use to keep us emotionally healthy, we are only hurting ourselves. Sleeping with resentment can keep us emotional and spiritual cripples the rest of our lives, robbing us of joy and peace that God wants us having to the fullest.

Employing the weapon of THANKSGIVING is not easy for many people, starting out. However, if we want to become wiser, we will dig in and learn to use the weapon of thanksgiving when resentment and bitterness are trying to imprison us. Jesus Christ will assist us every step of the way if we'll relinquish control to Him, trust Him to overcome through HIS power He will freely give us, and learn to not try to do things we are incapable of in our own very limited strength.  

Let's look at just some important scriptures on being thankful. Keep in mind, we are talking about being thankful as a weapon God has given us:

"In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NAS)

1 Thessalonians 5:18 could be translated to read: In every hurtful, painfully adverse situation you face, be quick to employ the weapon of thanksgiving, so resentment, bitterness and anger don't imprison you.

The same above translation applies to Ephesians 4:20 (NIV): "Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

How often? ALWAYS!

Demonstrating our thanksgiving to God...ALWAYS...honors God. When we honor God, He is motivated to bless us. If you don't care whether God blesses you or not...chances are very good your heart is growing colder toward God. Don't let that keep happening, dear one!

The devil wants to try to persuade us that God is responsible for everything that happens around this planet, and/or happens to us. NOT TRUE! There is more than enough Biblical truth to clearly reveal to us that God has allowed Satan to have a HUGE influence in what goes on around this globe. A time will come when God stops that from happening, but until that future time comes, we need to learn to spiritually discern what evil spirits are doing vs. what God is doing.  

The devil desires so much to try to subtly trick us into resenting God. 'Why, God, did you allow such and such to happen?!' It is near the top of Satan's warfare strategies against us to employ, because it works so effectively for him. I need to say it again: When we don't realize the main reason God tells us to have a thankful attitude is to erect a defense shield around us for our own good ' to keep us emotionally healthy ' it's just a matter of time when Satan will allow us to feel like God can't be bothered with us; has not honored our trust in Him; has betrayed us; so resentment, bitterness and anger toward God gains a foothold. If it maintains a foothold, our faith and trust in God begins to diminish. Our prayer life diminishes, lacking faith and trust when we pray. Our desire to stay engaged in Kingdom advancement building dies. Left to continue to fester, we can be persuaded to turn our back on God and grow to be a hater of God through the fully trustworthy corrective guidance of the Holy Bible and the Holy Spirit.

The world is full of people who once considered themselves to be Christians, but have turned away from Christianity. Why? It often comes down to this very important issue: There is something that happened, or a series of things that happened, where they felt God let them down, was cruel to them, He couldn't be bothered, or maybe felt betrayed by God. They felt God let them down. They felt their trust in God was misplaced - not honored. They felt Jesus Christ could no longer be trusted. These are all some of the common subtle lies evil spirits want Christians believing: ALL people believing actually!

The other reason people turn away from Christianity, though those who have done so won't admit it to themselves usually is because God didn't satisfy their selfishness. God didn't give them what they intensely desired, or what they felt they deserved.

If I've learned anything about God, this I've learned through a lot of my own personal pain in my relationship with Him: To be on His 'good' side, to receive His maximized blessings and favor, you had better pass the tests of learning to forgive quickly, and to be wisely thankful often.

Yet don't get deceived into believing God's wants us to be thankful FOR evil. That is NOT what God exhorts us to do. God wants us to use the mighty powerful weapon of being thankful so evil isn't able to make us a victim of evil.

Dealing with anger, resentment and bitterness toward God is Satan's ultimate warfare tactic to try to take us out, dear reader, and so do yourself a huge, huge favor. Ask God to give you greater clarity, understanding and wisdom to get a firm grasp that being THANKFUL when we feel hurt, offended, betrayed, used, and abused is never to be optional from this moment going forward.

Clearly stated: When God gives us a weapon to use for OUR good, let us be wise enough to use it.

"God is not admonishing us to be thankful for people and/or situations that hurt us.  He's admonishing us to use the Weapon Of Thanksgiving so the hurts that come our way won't affect us as much, if at all."

Dear Reader - are you at peace with God? If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. You can even have that assurance RIGHT NOW! Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you...please don't make such a tragic mistake. 

To get to know God, to be at peace with God, to have your sins forgiven, to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity, to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help you understand the importance of being reconciled to God. What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one. Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life, because in Christ, it is impossible to put a value on the worth of your soul in light of eternity.


JESUS DID IT! and...


Remember:  All that we do in this life comes back to our God-given purpose which is to serve and glorify God. The money and assets we accumulate, the fame and power we've attained or seek to attain - all of the things of this nature will one day pass away, but those lives of others we impact for Jesus Christ will last for eternity, and we will be rewarded for the part we helped play by impacting those lives ... for eternity. (Matthew 6:19-20 is our assurance)