Overcoming Resentment

 I had my weekly physical therapy session today. I practiced getting off the floor and pushing myself up into a chair. That is still a difficult task. Just when I think my legs are getting stronger I have some reminders of how far I still need to go. However, I am making progress!

The last two days I have taken my “wheelchair walks”around the cul-de-sac. I basically move my feet and legs while I motor around. It is a good work out and will give me a baseline for improvement as the weather improves and I am able to get outside more often.

In this recovery process I have been reminded that it is important to measure progress in four to six week intervals and to not focus too much on the day to day. This is helpful because it seemed like my energy level has not been what it was a few weeks ago.

I was reading today the recovery story of Lou Gossett Jr. There was concept that he referenced that really stood out to me. He said, “I have to carry my own burden, I have to look at my own self and deal with that….the worst resentment that an addict or an alcoholic can ever have is the one he feels justified to keep.That is the worst poison in anybody’s system…”  (Lawford, pg. 162,163)

Resentment is the fruit of unforgiveness. Hurt, frustration, violation and harm can come to our lives from a number of sources. If it is not deal with in a healthy manner it can develop into a deep seeded resentment. This keeps us unhappy, miserable and sometimes not understanding why as we see relationships impacted and our  quality of life less than what God would want for us.

I think of my hospital experience. I ended up with a stage three (deep tissue) bed sore that was caused in the  first week of hospitalization when I was left too long on a bedpan. I don’t have any memory of the event taking place; however it was an issue that I had to deal with from the time it happened until after I returned home four months later.

The anticipated and seemingly delayed surgery that I knew I would need turned from an easier less invasive surgery to a major surgery requiring the removal of the lower lobe of my left lung.

The pneumonia and deterioration of my lung happened as a result of a procedure in the middle of the night when a nurse was checking for residual fluid that is a normal process when you have a feeding tube. Because of the condition of my digestive system air was being withdrawn instead of fluid which caused me to vomit and aspirate fluid into my lungs. The weakness of my lungs and the high doses of antibiotics caused that portion of my lung to become a cease pool of infection that destroyed the normal function.

There are inherent risks when hospitalized and sometimes you are not sure what will happen. This can be during a surgery or just the normal procedures for a high risk, high need patient.

I may have been too sick when all this happened to be able to process it as I normally would. That may be good. It helped me to be more accepting of the events that were happening and keep pushing to get well. However, it would have become easy to be angry and resentful over what took place.

What I experienced in many ways could be considered minor compared to the pain and suffering some have endured through the hands of others or as a result of life circumstances. In these situations forgiveness is difficult, but none the less important. Forgiveness is the pathway to freedom.Sometimes we need to forgive others; sometimes we need to forgive ourselves.

This is not a natural process, it is a supernatural process and that is why we need to trust the Lord and be obedient to His Word even when it doesn’t make sense. We need to realize that the resentment we hold on to is what is slowly destroying our life. When we realize the forgiveness we have received from Christ, we are in turn obligated to forgive others.

Matthew West has a song called, “Forgiveness.” One of the stanzas puts it well in these words:

It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what its power can do
So let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you

Here is a link to the song is you haven’t heard it:



Be kind and compassionate to one another,forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Ephesians 4:32

More of Ken’s posts and the events of his illness can be found at www.caringbridge.org/visit/kensummers


Lawford, C. 2009. Moments of Clarity, Voices from the FrontLines of Addiction and Recovery. New York. Harper-Collins Publishers