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I will be having a huge announcement about my book, “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World,” coming up in about a week. That’s all I’m telling you for now. Be sure to come back often to see when it pops up.
This book reaches out to those who may be suffering from anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, self-doubt, hopelessness, and the many other usual suspects.
I have another excerpt from the book, “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.” This chapter is about resentment. Resentment only hurts the person who is full of resentment.
The Most Precious Things in Life Cannot Be Bought
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together imperfect unity (emphasis mine).
Have you ever walked around balancing a chip on your shoulder? It’s heavy on one side of your body and makes you walk funny. Have you had an argument with someone and then never spoken to them again for years? You have to put on an unhappy face every time that person comes by. That is very difficult.
I felt resentment against my father for over 60 years! He gambled and played poker, which sometimes left our family without grocery money. This went on for a few years until my mother divorced him.
I had a great deal of resentment against him for what he had done to our family. He didn’t keep in contact with my brother and me very often—maybe once a year for a special function or a trip of some kind. He had married a woman with several children. I thought he didn’t have time for us. I didn’t think he loved us. This went on for years.
I used the word resentment in my short description of my father. The word resentment literally means “to feel again.” I spent 60 years filled with resentment. I kept reliving the past. I felt abandoned. I felt unloved.
Philip Yancey, the renowned Christian author, wrote in his book, What’s So Amazing About Grace?: “Not to forgive imprisons me in the past and locks out all potential for change. I thus yield to another, my enemy, and doom myself to suffer the consequences of the wrong.” 1 He then goes on to quote Lewis Smedes, who has written extensively on forgiveness and interpersonal relationships: “When we genuinely forgive, we set a prisoner free and then discover that the prisoner we set free was us.”2
My father was not my enemy. I should have put the word father in the quote. He was my father, and I desperately wanted his love. I needed a father like the other kids had. My heart ached when my friends told me about their fishing trips with their dads or about their dads taking them camping.
My resentment grew to a point where I didn’t care if I ever saw my father again. I hurt even more when I saw him with his stepchildren, joking and laughing with them.
Then the worst happened. My father had a massive stroke. He lay on his bedroom floor for several days without help. Finally a concerned neighbor called 911. Someone called me and I rushed to the hospital, arriving just as the ambulance got there. My father was awake and coherent. He was aware that I was there as they ran various tests. He seemed upbeat and even smiled. I began to feel saddened by his demeanor. This was a man I had spent 60 years resenting, and he was trying to make me smile!
They moved him up to a room and I spent many hours by his side. He lived about a week longer. In those few short days, we drew extremely close. I held his hand as we talked about the past. When I’d return after a short break, my father would hold his hand up, waiting for me to come back and hold it. He seemed to know he wasn’t going to make it.
He wasn’t supposed to have any water because the nurse said that people his age (he was 86) get pneumonia very easily, and the water might fill up his lungs. He begged me for water. I knew he didn’t have much time left. I went ahead and gave him some ice to wet his lips. He smiled a very big smile and called me his water boy. He told all of his visitors the same thing: “This is my water boy.” My father was a sports fanatic. To use the term water boy was a gesture of affection.
My heart nearly broke. I was his water boy. I can’t tell you how wonderful those words sounded to me! He was not always the most tender in his words of love, but to call me his water boy was his way (at least to me) of saying I was special to him, and that he loved me.
I wanted to talk to my father about Jesus—to tell Him how he could have eternal life. I went out in the hall and prayed for God to give me the words to say. When I opened my eyes after I prayed, I turned to my right, and walking down the hall was the pastor of my church! I couldn’t believe it. How could that be? He was at the hospital at the right time, on the right floor, and coming down the hall just as I prayed for help? Was this just a coincidence?
Of course it wasn’t. God sent him, and he went in and asked my father some questions. My father assured him that he had accepted Jesus as his personal savior. My father died two days later.
I was very saddened by his leaving. It is all right to grieve for your loved ones, but if you know they are Christians you have tremendous comfort. You know you will see them again one day.
Yes, I totally forgave my father that night when I heard that he had accepted God’s gift of eternal life. I probably would have forgiven him eventually, but knowing he was a believer made it so much easier to forgive him right then and there. I tossed out my resentment like yesterday’s lunch, and we had a wonderful time the last two days of his life.
Now my resentment is that I wasted 60 years of love and understanding of my father that I could have shared with him. If I could have taken the first step and overlooked my resentment for my father, I could have spent many years as his water boy.
As Christians, we have the comfort of knowing that we have eternal life. My father had that comfort once he accepted Christ. Death comes to all of us. (See Romans 5:12.) We have to go through the process all living things must go through. However, we can be assured that we will have new bodies and be in heaven with God at the end of that process. Being with God, and having new bodies at the same time. Can’t have anything better than that on this earth—or in heaven!
He who loves a quarrel loves sin;
he who builds a high gate [around himself] invites destruction.
Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
When you have a loved one die who is a Christian know that they are waiting for you in heaven. My father is there, and when I go to meet him, we will have eternity to catch up on all the years we lost here on earth. I see pictures of him golfing and fishing. I love to do both. Maybe there will be a special golf course in heaven that we can play on forever.
I had played with my dad on a couple occasions. He was a wonderful golfer. He had three holes in one over his lifetime. He can teach me all the good things about how to hit the ball and putt when I see him in heaven. When I play now, I will remember him telling me to concentrate on what the goal is (hitting the ball) and to keep my head down.
You and I do that all the time. It is called praying
Something to Ponder
Wouldn’t it be nice if whenever we mess up our life we could simply press “Ctrl Alt Delete” and start over?
You are never alone.
You are never forsaken.
You are never unloved.
Above all….never, ever, give up!