Taking Repentance Deeper: Dismantling REsentment
Now, I know, you are probably thinking, “In the midst of the stay safer at home order, the last thing I want to read about is repentance.” I get it, probably would not be anything I would be excited over, especially during the earlier part of my life. But now, we see repentance is to change my way of thinking (metanoia in Greek; meta - change; noia - mind),I get excited when I am asked to repent. Repentance now is the invitation to God’s goodness, life, righteousness and kingdom.
So how do we take repentance deeper?
By dismantling strongholds. Strongholds are simply entrenched ways of thinking that provide a “resupply” in our life. They can be strongholds of the enemy or the kingdom. It all depends on how we direct our thoughts and imaginations. Here is what the Bible says about strongholds in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
Let’s look at one area that is a rapid developer of strongholds, resentment and bitterness. (I know technically that is two, but let’s assume they are deeply related - conjoined twins, as it were.)
Resentment - n. bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly. Resentment is something we can be tempted to use as a stronghold builder every day! So many of us have stories where we felt we were treated unfairly, what we did next determined whether we moved into bitterness, which the scriptures describe as a “root” that causes trouble (literally to be crowded into a small place) and defilement. Sounds fun, yeah?
The problem of resentment is the problem of justice. When we feel that we have been treated unfairly, our cry to anyone who will listen is for justice, and in doing so we tell the story over and over again, letting people know in shinning detail just how badly we were treated.
Sound familiar? Sure it does. We’ve all been there, including your's truly. Did you know that the word from which we get “resent” comes from the Latin word “resentle”, meaning to cut open again. In French, it meant to “feel it freshly again”. The problem never heals, because we never let it!
In situations I have personally encountered, I can feel a sickness of soul coming when I rehearse over and over again what happened. I screen God out from being my Defender and my Justice. There was a song that we sang years ago during the revival at Toronto called “At the Cross”. One of the lines that slays me in it says that the cross was for “the wrongs we have done, and the wrongs done to us, were nailed there with Him, there on the cross.”
That’s my doorway to dismantle the stronghold. To realize that my resentment has put me in both categories - the one who had wrong done to them and the one doing wrong. There’s only one way out, adherence to the cross and changing my mind about my personal defense system - (yep, that's repentance!). I have to drop the charade and lie that God cannot make this into good and embrace the truth that He can enter into everything and work good. It’s who He is. It’s what He does... if He is invited.
Take a moment. Look at that story you tell yourself and others all the time. You know, the one where you were hurt and were treated unfairly. Lay it down. Exchange your little perspective for a greater truth. Let go of the lie that God can’t turn it around. Release forgiveness and receive it from God for yourself. Go ahead and break the unhealthy relationship you’ve had with those people, that event and the lie. Break partnership with curse you have been speaking over them. Oh, and bless those people, really well…even enough to counter the curse you’ve been releasing over them, because none of us want to partner with the enemy. Instead release God’s grace over them.
Now, watch that nasty stronghold become dismantled! As you continue to pray, surrender and bless, watch a new stronghold be built that is worthy of the King and His child. Then say like extreme home makeover, “Move that bus!” Stand there and look at it! Repentance started this. It’s the way into the kingdom and the way on.