Harboring resentment is the spiritual equivalent of ingesting minute quantities of arsenic or cyanide over a long period of time. Resentment/bitterness builds up until it begins to destroy the fabric of our relationships from within.
Yeah, yeah, yeah... we know that, after all, we're pastor's wives! We would no sooner cling to resentment toward our husbands than we would lie, cheat, or steal. Right?
I wouldn't knowingly (or willingly) leave a restroom with my skirt tucked into my pantyhose. Or smile for a photo with a big chunk of lasagna stuck between my teeth. But those things happen, don't they?
Toilet tissue trailing behind you on the bottom of your shoe.
A seam that that has separated without our knowledge.
The list is endless. Sometimes you just can't SEE the problem from your perspective.
The author of Hebrews recognized resentment as one of those kinds of problems.
"Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look [after one another], to see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God's grace (His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing), in order that no root of resentment (rancor, bitterness, or hatred) shoots forth and causes trouble and bitter torment, and the many become contaminated and defiled by it--" Heb. 12:15 AmplifiedSo in the spirit of looking after one another, here's a brief litmus test for resentment.
1. When was the last time your husband asked you to do something, or told you he was doing something, and (with your back to him) you rolled your eyes in disgust, frustration, or annoyance?
2. Does your husband have a hobby or habit that irritates you? Something that takes up time, money, or energy you think would be better expended elsewhere?
3. When you and your spouse have a disagreement, do you reopen old wounds, bring up old offenses, and find yourself saying things like "you always..." and "you never..."?
4. If someone overheard your internal conversations while you do the dishes, vacuum, balance the checkbook, or get ready for bed, would they hear a laundry list of grumbling complaints about your beloved?
5. Do you find yourself making excuses to avoid intimacy - whether physical or emotional?You're all intelligent women of God. You get the idea.
Now, if you searched your heart and honestly found no root of resentment, congratulations. (Pray for the rest of us.)
If, however, you unearthed some little seed of frustration, indignation, or pique just waiting for the right time to spring up into a vile weed, you can praise God for His rescue! His correction is a blessing from heaven!
Locating those stinky seeds is half the battle. Neutralizing them requires a simple act of will: forgive. Take that thing that has produced those angsty emotions and lay it at the foot of the cross. As an act of your will, forgive (release from all offense and injury, real or imagined). If those feelings try to creep up on you again, turn them around by thanking God for all those things you love about your wonderful spouse.
Resentment is sneaky and dangerous. Frequent check-ups and openness to hearing from your friends in Christ, will prevent the destruction resentment and bitterness would bring.