In his novel, Great Expectations, Charles Dickens illustrated the power of resentment.
He wrote of a Miss Havisham, jilted at the altar many years before.
Long ago, she was preparing for her wedding at nine o’clock, which included a lavish reception. However, at ten minutes before nine, she received notice that the groom was not coming, and had run away with another woman.
At that moment, her life changed forever.
Filled with resentment, from that day on, every clock in her house registered ten minutes to nine.
Neither did her wardrobe change. She continued to wear the wedding dress and veil, though faded and aged over time. She covered the windows of her house, blocking out the sunshine.
Year after year, the cake and refreshments rotted and decayed on the tables, most of which was carried off by rats and spiders. The rats could be heard moving behind the walls. She even admitted, “Sharper teeth than those of the rats have been gnawing on me!”
Of course, she meant the teeth of resentment, slowly cutting away at her soul.1
1 Corinthians 13:5 states, “Love . . . thinks no evil.”
The word “thinks” is a bookkeeping term, meaning “to calculate or keep record.”2
We are admonished to keep no lists, no records and tabulations of wrongs.
Lewis B. Smedes wrote, “We make believe we are at peace, while the furies rage within beneath the surface. There, hidden, and suppressed, our hate opens the subterranean faucets of venom, which will eventually infect all of our relationships in ways we cannot predict.”3
“Resentment is like taking poison, and waiting for the other person to die.”4
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- David Jeremiah, Slaying the Giants in Your Life, W Publishing Group, A Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001, p. 121
- ibid, p. 123
- Lewis B. Smedes, Forgive and Forget, (New York: Pocket Books, 1984), pp. 40 – 41
- Readers Digest, November, 1998, Malachy McCourt, quoted by Alex Witchel in New York Times