Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A Way out of Resentment

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A Way out of Resentment

Article excerpt

"I resent that!" Many of us may have resorted to saying or feeling something like that at one time or another. Perhaps we even felt our resentment was justified under the circumstances.

If you are treated unfairly or wrongly, do you feel resentment is a reasonable and merited response? After all, maybe the wrong that precipitated the resentment wasn't at all your fault.

Webster defines resentment as "a feeling of anger or displeasure about someone or something unfair." That definition hints at the righteous indignation that's often a component of resentment, which might try to convince us that resentment is only a minor, subtle subset of anger, and is therefore OK.

But is resentment ever constructive? Or is responding with resentment actually a way to be part of the problem rather than the solution? Is there a better way to react to an unfairness or injury, a way that can lead to healing the whole situation?

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, saw resentment as a state of mind to be avoided. In an address to church members she said, "The Christian Scientist cherishes no resentment; he knows that that would harm him more than all the malice of his foes" ("Message to The Mother Church for 1902," p. 19).

That's quite a statement. If resentment can harm us more than the situation that elicited the resentment, it certainly would be wise to relinquish it.

I've found that resentment is often an aspect of a "two wrongs don't make a right" scenario. Resentment can inflame a situation, agitate emotions, or lead to negative outcomes, such as revenge. It gets you further involved in what precipitated the problem - like stepping down into the mud with whoever attempted to wrong you in the first place.

So responding with resentment is actually often a step toward making a negative situation worse. From a Christian Science perspective, a healing response instead would show that the entire scenario is not derived from God, good, and therefore has no power to hurt. In the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mrs. Eddy wrote, "It is error even to murmur or to be angry over sin" (p. …

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