Jonah 4:6-9: Then the Lord provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine. But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered. When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.” But God said to Jonah, “Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?” “I do,” he said. “I am angry enough to die.”
The aforementioned verses would give the impression that God can be messy. He messes with us. He provides comfort and then allows the comfort to wither or fade. In doing so, we discover where our affections lie and toward whom or what. So, whatever we may be undergoing may simply be God’s way of revealing to us what He already knows about us.
I have been told that if a rattlesnake is cornered, it will become so angry that it will bite itself. Maybe if someone that reads this has ever cornered a rattlesnake, you can tell me if that is true. I personally attempt to kill a rattlesnake or if that is not possible give it space. However, is that not what occurs in harboring hate and resentment? One is biting, devouring, or harming oneself while fantasizing about harming others. The deepest harm is to oneself. If you desire to drink or drug, the resentment provides fodder for self-pity and justification for using again and again and again. The new brain can be fed truths or lies, accuracies or errors and the old brain will formulate around truths or errors in adaptation. Consequently, the resentments are fed into the old brain and the old brain begins to adapt to the anger and resentment resulting in havoc. The word Spirit can equate to breathe. When one harbors resentments, it actually can paralyze the nerve fibers contributing to breathing and one is suffocating oneself with the resentment.
Someone once asked a husband why he got drunk. He replied, signifying or motioning toward his wife, “It is the only way that I have of getting even with her.” Resentment and anger can dim the spiritual vision so that one’s inner life can become blurred. The old brain embraces the resentment and anger as the norm and that becomes the standard for one’s life. The Southern Medical Journal, old research, November 1940, p. 1237, Jones, Abundant Living, edited copyright version by Dean Merrill, 2010) reported a experiment done on mice. How to me is unknown, but the mice were kept angry for an extended period of time and opaque films began to come over their eyes. The old saying “blind with rage” may have some accuracy to it. Resentments and anger blinds a person mentally, spiritually, and physically.
I regularly hear about persons relapsing from not letting go of resentments. Regardless of the foundation of the resentment, whether we desire to blame God for our comfort level not being constant and/or some person has done a major violation to us, one may desire to ask is the resentment actually building a shrine to the very one or ones that you resent? Are you sacrificing yourself for the one that you resent? Is the resentment justifiable? Is the bitterness and hatred your own journey into suicide? Jonah’s reply was, “I am angry enough to die.” The God of my understanding is on the side of the suffering. Resentments toward God just places one in an adversarial role with God. I never found that to work. God would allow me to keep whatever feelings and attitude as long as I wanted to hold on to them. Have you considered asking God to forgive you for introducing the disorder of hate into the very delicate fabric of your being? Are you drinking or drugging to attempt to live with yourself while the resentments and anger are occupying so much space? Is it working? If not, maybe we could help. Please, contact us at Woodlake Addiction Recovery Center. Thanks for reading this and your reflections and comments are always welcomed.
Thomas Estis, PhD, NCC, LPC, LPC-S, LMFT, LMFT-BAS, LAC