The Pain of Resentment

Proverbs 26:23, 26

LEONARD WAS A PARAGON OF RESPECTABILITY. The middle-aged, hardworking lab technician had worked at the same Pennsylvania paper mill for nineteen years. Having been a Boy Scout leader, an affectionate father, a member of the local fire brigade, and a regular churchgoer, he was admired as a model in his community.

Until Leonard decided to mount a one-man revolt against the world he inwardly resented. He stuffed two pistols into his coat pockets before he drove his station wagon to the mill. Parking quietly, he gripped a gun in each fist, then slowly strolled into the shop. He filled several of his fellow workmen with two and three bullets apiece, firing more than thirty shots in all.

Total bewilderment swept over the neighborhood. Puzzled law enforcement officers and friends finally discovered a tenuous chain of logic behind his brief reign of terror. Down deep within the heart and soul of Leonard rumbled intense resentment. The man who had appeared like a gentle soul on the outside was seething with murderous hatred within.

Beneath his picture in Time magazine, the caption told the truth: “Responsible, respectable—and resentful.”

So it is with resentment. Allowed to fester through neglect, the toxic waters of hatred foam to a boil within the steam room of the soul. Pressure mounts to a maddening magnitude. By then it’s only a matter of time. The damage is always tragic, often irreparable.

None of this is new. Solomon described the problem long ago:

Smooth words may hide a wicked heart, just as a pretty glaze covers a clay pot. . . . While their hatred may be concealed by trickery, their wrongdoing will be exposed in public.

PROVERBS 26:23, 26

The answer to resentment isn’t complicated, but it is exacting. You must first admit it’s there. Then you must confess it before the One who died for such sins. It is often necessary for you to make it right with those you have offended out of resentful bitterness. Finally, it requires vulnerability—a willingness to keep that tendency submissive to God’s regular reproof, and a genuinely teachable, unguarded attitude.

Are you resentful? The first step to resolving it is admitting it.

Devotional content taken from Good Morning, Lord . . . Can We Talk? by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2018. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved. The full devotional can be purchased at

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Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.