Psalm 73:21-22 When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.
This Psalm is a very interesting exposition of the dangers of resentment. Verses 25 and 26 have been nicely set to music, but these two verses are what grab me this morning. Whether this Psalm was written by Asaph himself or by one of his descendants, it expresses a level of understanding that can only come from God. Verses two and three point out how dangerous envy and resentment are, and here we have the express statement that such emotions make us less than human. A lot of evil in the world can be traced directly to envy and resentment. Even when resentment doesn’t lead to rioting and looting, as it has done in very recent memory, it poisons our relationships and rots our spirits. Looking at someone else and striving to achieve what they have achieved can be a good thing, but striving to take what they have achieved away from them is directly from the devil. That’s exactly what he wants to do. He can’t have the peace and joy that come from a right relationship with God, so he tries to take our peace and joy away from us, interfering as much as he can with our fellowship with God. That’s what Jesus was talking about when He said the devil comes only to “steal, kill, and destroy.” (John 10:10) When we yield to resentment we yield to the devil, and as the Psalmist says, we become animals. As James said clearly, we are to submit to God and resist the devil. (James 4:7)
I don’t think I’ve ever let resentment consume me the way I see happen with some people, but I’ve certainly had my moments of loss because of it. From my experience it can be very subtle and insidious, and I’ve got to be on my guard. The antidote is recognizing God’s grace to me and being grateful. Gratitude is the opposite of resentment. Giving God thanks and praise is the very best antidote to the poison of resentment. If I yield to resentment I destroy my ability to lead others to Christ, because I’m facing away from Him myself. As the Psalmist realized, I’ve got to yield everything and everyone to God, trusting Him to sort it all out correctly in the end. I need to realize and remember that He already gives me better than I deserve, and give Him the sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15) even when my circumstances seem less than ideal to me.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for reminding me just now of the friend whose mouth was filled with ulcers while they were on chemotherapy, to help me endure the three or four I have at the moment. Thank You for getting us through the past few days of exhausting activity, and that You will get us through today’s full schedule as well. Help us indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, giving You the thanks and praise You deserve, so that we may walk in all that You intend for us, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!