Love Is Not Resentful

The Wednesday feature of the Worldly Saints blog is a Scriptural meditation whereby I take a verse or passage I have been pondering lately and seek to edify my readers with it’s promises, encouragements, warnings, rebukes, etc.

Defining Resent

The origin of the word “resentful” comes out of the accounting world. It means “to credit to someone account” and was a word used in a bookkeeper’s ledger. It is holding something against another person when w shouldn’t be. Love keeps no record of wrongs. Love doesn’t make a memory out of evil; he is quick to forgive and not resent someone who has sinned against him. John Chrysostom would say,

“As a spark is quenched when it falls into the sea, an injury that falls upon a loving Christian is just as surely drowned. That’s the way it ought to be. Offenses ought to be drowned in the sea of love.”[1]

A loving person is not resentful. He is quick to forgive.

If we are the most forgiven people in the world, and we are, then we should be the most forgiving people in the world. Jay Adams, who is a well known counselor and has written a book called From Forgiving to Forgiven, says that “when we forgive another, you declare that you are canceling his debt, removing his guilt, and promising that you will never bring up his guilt, and promising that you will never again bring up his offenses to use against him.”[2] To be forgiving is to not be resentful.

A Biblical Example of Resent

The Corinthians probably were resentful to one another in Ch. 6 with suing one another. Resentment was likely in Ch. 3 when they were showing preference to certain leaders and didn’t appreciate the other ones. Paul said there was strife among them.

A Biblical Example of One Who Is Not Resentful

An example of someone who shows restraint and the lack of being easily angered is Daniel. I marvel at the powerful example of the lack of resentment is Philemon. While imprisoned, Paul met a man Onesimus and led him to Christ. Onesimus was a former slave of a man named Philemon, who was a member of the Colossian church. Paul wrote to Philemon to encourage him to receive Onesimus back – not as a former slave but a brother in Christ –

17 So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. 18 If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account” (Phile 17-18).

Did Philemon show resentment to this former slave? Punish him in some way? Not at all. It would be hard to imagine this book being accepted into the Bible if Philemon held a grudge against his former slave. It would be hard to imagine a book such as this written from Paul would fall on deaf ears and Philemon, his family and the church in Colossae just saying, “Eh, we don’t need any of this. Turn Onesimus away.” There is no reason to doubt Philemon did exactly what Paul was hoping for and Onesimus was forgiven.

Final Thoughts

There is one item I learned a few years ago in an archaeology magazine that relates to Onesimus and Philemon. In Laodicea, which was not far from Colossae, there was an inscription found dedicated by a slave to the master who freed him. You want to guess the master’s name? The master’s name is Marcus Sestius Philemon.

And church history tells us that a few decades after Paul wrote this letter to Philemon, Ignatius of Rome wrote three epistles to the Ephesian church. He addressed them to their pastor as “Onesimus, a man of inexpressible love.

Love is not resentful.



[2] From Forgiven to Forgiving, pg. 82


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s