How do we let go of resentment horizontally in relationships?
The Apostle Paul wrote: “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” (Ephesians 4:31-32).
First, we must pour out the bitter poison of resentment and let go of all condemnation or license toward the offender (Ephesians 4:31; Proverbs 24:17-18).
Second, we must drink in the sweet antidote of God’s restoration in Christ. We recall how the offender has honored us in his heart: (see Gideon and the Ephraimites in Judges 8:3). This frees us from seeing the offender as malicious 100 percent of the time. Then, we exhibit mercy, sharing God’s sweetness, (kindness and compassion flowing from our hearts) to the offender, implementing wise boundaries, including justice (Ephesians 4:32; cf. 2 Timothy 2:23-24).
Pray daily for the next month that God’s Spirit will empower you to pour out all condemnation or license toward the offender:
“God, through the power of your Holy Spirit, please help me to let go of all condemnation or license toward __________ for __________. I can’t do it on my own, but through Christ in me, You can. Give me wisdom to establish boundaries that might be necessary for freedom.”
Type Ephesians 4:31-32 in your PDA or smartphone, so you can carry it with you. Read those verses aloud each day, allowing the words to penetrate your heart in an effort to memorize them. Pray the verses to God, asking for His Spirit to empower you to be kind and compassionate toward the offender with whom you have held on to resentment. Next, do it — actually forgive horizontally. Wisdom works best when you memorize these freeing verses and meditate on them.