When former Pittsburgh Steelers Lynn Swann achieved the pinnacle of success for every NFL player—when he was voted into the Hall of Fame—he used his induction speech to say some things that had been on his mind for a long time.
The reason he wasn't voted in sooner, he explained to the audience, was the fault of Terry Bradshaw (the Steelers quarterback). "Bradshaw did not seem like he wanted to throw the ball in my direction," he said. "He has four Super Bowl rings...but could he read a secondary? I doubt it. What made Bradshaw decide not to throw more passes at the end of my career; I have no idea, no idea."
Isn't that a shame? Instead of using the day to enjoy the honor that is due him, he used it to unleash pent-up anger.
Many people go through their lives hanging on to hurts. In fact, many pastors are still nursing wounds from long, long ago. They say, along with David...“Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.”
There's a way to deal with resentment and hurt. Dwelling on it, talking about it, reliving it—this isn't the solution. Looking for ways to get even isn't the solution. But I'll tell you what has worked for me. When I find myself reliving past hurts (and sometimes they date back to the 80's) this is what I remind myself to do.
Don't talk about it. Most of us have been told that talking about such things will help with the "healing process" but in my case, it only makes things worse. The less I talk about offences, the easier it is to get through them.
Do pray about it. I ask God to change my heart, and I ask him to pour blessings on whomever it is I resent.
Look for a chance to do good. I know a preacher who sends a check each year to a contentious church he served years ago—it's a step towards saying "I regret the hard feelings that developed between us."
Most of all, Let it go. We have to make a conscious decision: "I am not going to hang on to that any longer.” Sometimes we have to "let it go" 10, 15, 20 times a day. However many times it takes, keep doing it until it works.
Resentment isn't worth it. Hanging on to hurts won't help those hurts heal any faster—but it will rob you of joy today. Let it go.
Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. (Psalm 73:1)