The Words of the Mathison Family

Lesson on Resentment Solving

James Mathison
June 11, 2001

Who doesn't have resentment toward someone sometimes? Not a one among us. Here's a long story (sorry) about how I solved my righteous resentment one time:

I once had a center director, a famous leader in our church, who was IMO so heartless that the atmosphere in the center was like a mausoleum and the young members were like frightened rabbits.

For the one and only time in my life of faith, I prayed that, if it was OK with HF, it would be just fine with me if I could be transferred out to another center. But I didn't say anything about it to anybody else.

Sure enough, one day this leader, who happened to be Japanese, held what could only be called a "loyalty oath" meeting for all the members in his care. As we sat before him in a large room, his voice grew louder and louder, until suddenly he made a strong demand that we raise both hands in total agreement with whatever direction he might give to us or whatever he might ask of us in the future.

Of course, all the members around me put up their hands, as if to cry, "BONSEI." But for me, time began slowwingg doowwnn, and in the split second as all hands around me shot up, I was thinking: "If it was TF asking this, I trust him enough to comply, because I trust TF is a true man of God who wouldn't ask anything unprincipled of me. But before I pledge to obey this imperfect church leader, it seems to me I'd better wait to see what he's going to ask.

I was sitting in the middle of the group, and everybody put up their hands except me. So he shouted, "You, you've got three days to get some money, pack up your things, and go to Atlanta (1000 miles away)." He was rude and angry, and I was shocked to my socks-- but my prayers were answered!

OK, the point of all this is that I had resentment. Maybe he resented me, too. I felt he owed me an apology, but hell would freeze over first. My wife suggested I give him a going-away gift!!! "Ha!!!" But after a day or two, I cooled down enough to agree with her.

Just before I departed the center, I went to confront him in his office. He looked at me like he knew karate and was ready for anything. So when I spoke a few kind words and handed him the little gift, a book with an uplifting inscription inside, he was literally open-mouthed and speechless. Then I said good-bye and left him standing there like a statue.

We didn't see each other for years. But now, whenever we meet, we have a special good feeling for one another instead of hating or harboring festering resentments toward each other. In fact, I actually look forward to seeing him again!

Lesson: If you feel resentment, you are like Cain, and sin is couching at your door. Don't expect an Abel whom you resent to solve your problem. He may not be as shrewed as Jacob. In fact, he probably thinks you owe him an apology.

How? There's always a way if you look for it. Probably the key is humility, kindness, and having a giving heart -- and being as wiley as Jacob, who knew how and when to give without getting hurt.

The point is to unhook yourself from resentment first. Once that is done, it might later become possible for you and your antagonist to mutually embrace one another in love.

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