Anxiety, Guilt, and RESENTMENT
Three of the most powerful emotions
Why is it that some people grow spiritually and others donít? Why do
some yield fruit thirtyfold, some sixty, and some hundredfold? (Matt
The reason is to do with your
receptiveness. Too many are not receptive, because they are
proud, stubborn, arrogant, self-reliant, and hold onto various wrong
approaches or attitudes for selfís sake.
I canít go deeper than that in the
answer. Only God can tell you more about why some people react one
way, and others react differently. One day you will see the reasons
why Ė in the spirit realm. For now we must be content with knowing
only so much. It is enough for Godís purposes with you and me.
What Makes People Ugly
Whatever God is able to do with you,
depends upon your heart Ė your inner self, your motives.
We have met some nasty people in our
time. Iím sure you have too. Why do people want to be like that?
Theyíre not likeable; they donít make friends; theyíre repulsive to
others! In one word: selfishness. Their lives revolve around
themselves. They love themselves, and are not bothered about
changing to be more likeable. That takes too much effort.
They may care what others think about
them, but they donít care to please others. They just live to
Self-orientation makes them ugly. It
reflects in all sorts of ways Ė the way they talk, walk, eat, and
behave in general.
Itís the same spiritually, toward
God. What makes you ugly to Him is centred on your heartís response.
If itís uncaring about the things He cares about Ė and that care is
His love Ė you are ugly to Him.
God canít dwell with sinners. Sin is
based on selfishness Ė doing what you want, not caring about
its impact on others, especially on Godís feelings. But God is love.
If you want His acceptance, you should begin to reorientate your
life in line with the way that He is. Become like Him. Start
developing outgoing care for others Ė firstly for Him. Then youíll
start to become pleasing to Him, and many things in your life will
begin to change Ė for the better!
Jesus described such ugly selfish
people, in parable, like this:
These are the ones by the
wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes
immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their
hearts (Mark 4:15).
How does Satan manage to pull these
souls away from Godís wonderful plan for them? Through temptation.
He appeals to something within them. He appeals to some sinful
desire, or some wrong attitude that they know they must give up in
order to accept Godís Word. But Satan works on the personís mind,
inflaming the passion, or accentuating the power of the attitude, so
that it seems more right to hold onto it than to give it up. He
makes wrong seem so right.
If itís hatred, he works on your mind
tempting you to hold onto that hatred, justifying it with various
excuses and reasons, telling you why so-and-so deserves to be hated.
He causes you to dismiss Godís simple warnings that you need to
change your attitude for your own good.
If itís fear, he exaggerates that
fear by instilling some electrical charge of his own to make it more
Satan is a spirit being, so he knows
how the human body works, and the human mind. He knows the
electrical impulses that course up and down your nervous system. He
knows how to increase such impulses to do wrong. He can make you
feel good or feel bad. He knows the Ďbuttonsí to press in you.
Of course, he can only do that
insofar as God lets him. God has the final say about what He allows
in any individual. For that reason, you need to turn your life over
to God, completely! Because only God can protect you from Satanís
Some Give Up
The problem with all of us is that,
humanly, we donít want to turn our lives over to God completely. We
want to be our own masters. So, the Word of God doesnít take root.
Thatís why many are unreceptive. Itís their own carnality which
prevents it (Rom 8:7).
In Jesusí parable of the sower, He
wasnít just referring to unconverted people. The analogy goes on to
include people who do begin to accept what God says, and start to
change in line with His will. But they also become resistant:
These... are the ones sown
on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately
receive it with gladness.
[But] they have no root in
themselves, and so endure only for a time... (Mark
Difficulties arise (4:17b) that
induce them to give up. If you are going to endure to the end, you
must stay receptive, and humble like a little child. If you stay
that way, no temptation will be able to slay you (1 Cor 10:13).
Therefore, my beloved,
flee from idolatry (1 Cor 10:14).
Where does idolatry start? In worship
of self. In some way, you put self before God. You make what you
want to do more important than what God asks.
The powerful emotions of anxiety,
guilt and resentment all revolve around self being put first. Letís
take a look at anxiety. Jesus explained that you worry about your
life and about the things to do with your life. Itís in
Matthew 6:25-34. Please look at these passages. I donít have space
to include them in full.
The root of worry is that you are not
serving Him (see Matt 6:24) but serving yourself. You donít live for
Him; you live for yourself. Or, your faith in Him is not developed
sufficiently because you are too physically-minded. Your heart is
still tied up with the things of this world Ė mammon (Matt 6:19-21).
Your motives and your outlook on life
Ė what Jesus symbolised as your Ďeyeí Ė are self-orientated. That
causes your Ďeyeí to be bad, spiritually speaking, and so your life
is still full of darkness (Matt 6:22,23). Yet, you think you
are spiritual, because you have some head knowledge of God and
mentally accept Jesus. Oh how great is your darkness! (Matt 6:23.)
Because of that wrong motivation, you
are low in faith:
O you of little faith!
Therefore do not worry...
How can you not worry? He explains:
change your approach; change your motivation; change your way of
thinking; change your priorities. Do this:
Seek FIRST the kingdom of
heaven AND His righteousness, and all these physical things
will be added to you (Matt 6:33).
Yet many Christians donít do it. They
know it, but they must grow it, too. You must grow righteousness,
goodness, meekness, etc. Ė all the traits Peter mentions in 2 Peter
What is guilt based on? Self,
once again. If you feel unloved by God, think you are unforgiven, or
feel guilty about your past, you need to make changes. Iíve
mentioned them already. They are the same. Most spiritual problems
have a common root.
When your life is turned around and
you fully commit to God, to obey Him irrespective of the cost to
yourself, and you give up living your life from self- motivation, He
comes to live within you. The amount of His Spirit is small to begin
with, but it increases as you continue in faithful submission,
yielded to His will.
Enlightenment, inner strength, and
faith (which is confidence in Him) all come in, too. They are
aspects of His spiritual make-up, so as He comes in, they come in
As the Word of God takes root in your
life Ė because you are humbling yourself, laying down your ambition,
self-will and pride Ė so do the attributes of God find a home and
expression in and through you.
Guilt is an aspect of fear. Not a
healthy fear of God, but an unhealthy fear. John wrote about our
heart condemning us. Read 1 John 3:16-24.
There you see that self-condemnation
and lack of confidence before God is due to selfishness. ďHow do you
get that out of that text?Ē you may say. Serving self, or loving
self, is the opposite of loving with Godís love. Thatís why John
urged us to love, not only with words, but with deeds and in
sincerity (1 Jn 3:18). Love must be practical and real, not theory.
You can only love with Godís love if
you are converted Ė changed Ė turning away from living a life that
revolves around getting for yourself, or pleasing yourself. Your
selfish ambitions must die. As they do, as you let Godís love come
in, guilt will disappear.
Likewise with resentment. Itís a form
of hatred. You hate someone for saying something or doing something.
Generally itís something against YOU. Again, self is the
centre of your offence.
You took offence at what they
said or did. It hurt you. Better not to take offence. Better
to leave it. Donít take on board negative input. Only imbibe
the love of God. Then you can give it out, canít you?
Someone with resentment that they
donít want to release will be saying, ďItís all very well for you to
say it, but itís not so easy.Ē I know, but itís possible and you
MUST do it if you are to survive spiritually. If you donít struggle
with your mind (God will help you if you do), Satan will use your
unforgiveness to take you to hell where there is much more misery!
Either you release it and let the
Lord carry the burden, or you carry it all the way down. The choice
is yours! If you donít change, God is angry at you. You think Iím
exaggerating? Read it yourself in Hebrews 3:7-19. So, donít harden
your heart. Soften it by humbling yourself. Youíll find it much
easier then to cope. God will then come in to help you.
The more you resist, the harder it
gets, and the more miserable your life will become. Learn from
Paulís words in Hebrews 2:1-3; 3:1; 4:1,11-16; 5:7-9; 6:4-6,9-12;
7:25; 10:7,16-17,19-31,35-39; 12:14-15.
God is faithful. You must be also.
Malcolm B Heap
Healing Inner Wounds (75p).
in Articles of Faith, Vol 2