Training for Reigning - 14 - Resentments can be overcome

AS NOTED IN THE LAST chapter, it is how we look at things that settles, every time, how we are going to react when "self-assertion is thwarted." Resentment may arise when our intentions are "frustrated," our ideas rejected; or because we feel slighted or rebuked; or possibly we, or our friends may have sustained an injury at the hands of others -"after all we have done for them." There are hosts of such possibilities; but whatever the cause, usually we feel sure we could be happy if only things would go the way we wish them to go. Therefore we generally think it to be no wonder that we are resentful so often . . . and sometimes indulge in self-pity.
Yet all such reactions were unknown to the Lord Jesus. That He was divine I do not forget when I say that one reason for this appears to be the way He was able to look at things - a way you and I can learn to use (in our measure) if we will take His yoke upon us and learn of Him (Matthew 11: 29). Here it is as best as I can describe it: Whenever anyone did Him a wrong, He saw in that wrong a sign that the guilty person had a great need in his life as a sin-sick sinner (Matt. 15: 18 with Luke 5: 30-32). When wronged, His understanding of men (John
2: 24-25) enabled Him to minister to that need according to grace and truth (John 1: 17), and often in great compassion. If these things be so, then all we need to do to find out why resentments are ruining the lives of some of us is to compare what we see in wrongs done to us with the Way He looked at wrongs done to Him.
Cain’s resentment, directed toward an unreachable God, was taken out on Abel - a common resentment reaction. "Frustrated," Johnny kicks the cat. The ‘teenager mutters and slams doors, inwardly vowing what he, she, will do when he, she, gains supposed freedom. The adult decides it will be a long, long time before he forgets what So-and-so said or did. He will forgive him - yes; but he won’t forget in a hurry. Thus the spirit of Cain still lives on.
We noticed, also, Sarah versus Ishmael (Genesis 21: 9-10). Said to have been about seventeen years old, Hagar’s son would be climbing "Fool’s Hill" about that time, hence probably was hard to endure. At any rate Sarah felt her little one was being wronged. Very far from showing an understanding of the sin-spoiled youth’s need, manifested in his disrespectful behaviour, she only could demand that both he and his mother should be cast out. Clearly, she had plans for Isaac’s life, and did not intend Ishmael to "thwart her self-assertion." Thus she stepped out of her usual exemplary position (1 Peter 3: 6). But I mention the incident only as an illustration of the common reactions to vexation of the natural man.
By-passing the Old Testament examples, let us "consider Him," as the Man, Christ Jesus. And in doing so may our hearts be warmed as well as instructed as we catch glimpses of the glories of His understanding of men and of his absolute unselfishness, and grace coupled with truth, always.
Of course there could be no such problem as the "thwarting of His self-assertion" (John 6: 38). But there was yet another angle: how He would react when people would seek to thwart His doing of the will of God. Would resentment be shown then?
At the time of the visit to the Temple (Luke 2: 41-52) He was just about to enter His ‘teens. His mother’s question and complaint (vs. 48) may have been tinged with resentment, especially since they did not understand His answer. Yet it is not so with Him. "He went down with them," uncomplainingly, even though it meant a return to evil Nazareth. And He, "was subject unto them." Thus even as a Lad He was making allowance for their limitations, as affecting persons who "understood not."
Luke 5: 20-24: the Scribes and Pharisees charged Him with speaking blasphemies a serious and most provocative accusation! But not for a moment does any resentment appear. Knowing their reasonings, yet seeing well below the surface of their words and actions, He saw their ignorance of His Divinity as its cause. Therefore, and in grace to them also, He manifested His power by healing the palsied man in order to supply their need for understanding the truth that "The Son of Man hath power upon earth to forgive sins."
Mark 6: 31-34: We search this account in vain to find any complaint of having been "frustrated." No resentment is shown - only compassion for needy ones, who felt no concern for His need of rest!
Understanding and Compassion ever; Resentment never. For as the perfect Servant of Isaiah’s prophecies (let me repeat) the Lord sought to look beneath the surface of men’s evil attitudes toward Himself, seeing in them (in every form of wrong intended or done to Him) SOME KIND OF UNSATISFIED NEED, product of a sin-spoiled nature, as the true cause of it. Calmly, then, and devoid of selfish interest, He compassionately ministered in grace and truth to that need. This He did in every case, unless we except those whom He knew to be already "booked through for Hell" (Matthew 23: 13-33).
Luke 23: 34: In this case - the ultimate expression of guilty man’s rebellion and hatred - will He still search beneath the surface of their attitude toward Him to discover some unsatisfied need? or will He consign them all to the pit? Let His own words be the answer: "Father forgive them; for they know not what they do." He has recognized theirdeepest need! It is deliverance from sin’s darkness, and forgiveness. Thus resentment found no place in His life.
What shall we say to these things? "Love taketh not account of evil" (1 Corinthians 13: 5, R.V. )-that is, it keeps no record of injuries received. Hence it becomes convincingly plain that the Lord Jesus’ word in Luke 6: 27-30 gives us the cure for resentment. Will you join me in prayer that we may learn to make use of it? For learning to see beneath the surface of men’s words and deeds (Mark 7: 20-23) appears to be the first step.