November 19, 2018
The older brother was so angry that he would not go into the house; so his father came out and begged him to come in. But he spoke back to his father, ‘Look, all these years I have worked for you like a slave, and I have never disobeyed your orders. What have you given me? …. ‘My son,’ the father answered, ‘you are always here with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be happy, because your brother …. was lost, but now he has been found.’”
(Luke 15:28-29,31-31 GNT)
Resentment Clouds the Air
Our kids presented us with 50th Wedding Anniversary certificates from the Prime Minister and the Premier – creating a variety of humorous and cynical responses from our assembled friends. They know how much I like that sort of thing.
Lately I have joked that I am going to glue them together face to face as my contribution to national unity. Behind the jokes and laughter however is a serious challenge we face in our culture. There is resentment in the air from all spectra of our society – and that is destructive for us all.
In Francis Fukuyama’s new book “Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment” he looks at three drivers of this resentment – our craving for recognition of dignity, the demand to be equally respected, as well as a desire to be seen as superior to others. It’s a toxic mix in which no one is satisfied.
In my morning reflections one barometer of my spiritual health is my level of resentment. When I talk to Jesus about it, my perspective gets adjusted somewhat. There are serious issues we face and there are real people facing real problems. The quiet resentment that then lashes out in anger doesn’t help with solutions.
I don’t want to be like the older brother of the prodigal son parable and have my resentment estrange me from the heart of the Father.
A Prayer for Today
Patient God you know how easily resentment can well up in me. I get tired of a lot of the trends in our civic and political discourse. Help me first to be grateful for what you have given me, my place in your love and the opportunities you have given for service to you and our world. Let me be angry about injustice but not resentful of others who take their place in my comfortable world …. For Jesus sake