Emotional cancer stays hidden deep in your heart even when you think you are okay. It is infectious and spreads into other areas of your life, and it destroys your peace, joy, and righteousness (spiritual right thinking). God gave me this revelation last week when it was triggered by an email. It was hidden, and I didn’t realize I had it until it was triggered.
How did I discover I had emotional cancer?
Last week I received a layoff notice. I accept that I am getting laid off because of the hardship placed on the University from the COVID-19 pandemic, and I have a peace that God will provide for my needs and lead me to another job. In my last post, I describe how I was processing this difficult news and how I felt betrayed by the Department Head because she told us that all our jobs are secure and that everyone matters to her. So when I received an email from her, wanting to know when she could chat (her words), I became anxious, and for a lack of a better word, I felt this unsettling “grrrrr” inside my soul. I felt like the cat on my home page. Do you know that feeling?
I had forgiven her and put off my negative beliefs and turned it over to God, and I was doing good. So I thought. So, I read two of my blogs called “Being Thankful During Hard Times” and “Caution—How to Get Out of The Pit,” and they both helped me change my wrong thinking and refocus again on God’s promises. I didn’t know why I felt offended when I saw her email until I read a blog post about grief where the writer wrote about the need to tell your story and not to allow your grief to turn into resentment. As soon as I read the word “resentment,” I realized why I was still upset, it was resentment for being, well, betrayed.
What is resentment and how do we develop this emotional cancer?
The dictionary defines resentment as a feeling of indignation and showing displeasure toward a person, from a sense of being injured or offended by some act, remark, insult, etc. I felt injured by my Department Head and became offended. A person who has resentment will show anger and ill will for any real or perceived wrong or injury, which they believe is unfair. Resentments build up and grow in your heart throughout your life. These painful memories cause negative thinking and false beliefs, which continue to feed our resentment. When this emotional cancer is not exposed and healed, it leads to bitterness and hate. Job 7:11 states, “Therefore I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.” A bitter person only focuses on their pain and it prevents them from maturing. Have you noticed that the older a person gets, the more bitter they become? When my mother got dementia and could not remember her painful memories, she became a very pleasant, peaceful person for the first time in her life. Read, “Hope for Lasting Peace, Love, and Victory” to learn more.
How to know you have resentment.
Read the following questions. If you answer yes to any one of them, you have hidden resentment.
- Do you complain about someone or something?
- Do you dread being around a certain person?
- When you hear a person’s name do you feel irritated with that person?
- Do you feel something is unfair or someone was unfair to you?
- Do you become depressed and pouty, or angry and unkind when you are disappointed?
- Do you feel jealous or envious of someone because of that person’s rivalry, success, or advantages?
- Do you feel hurt by something someone did or said?
- Do you recognize you do not have peace, joy, and right thinking?
Why is feeling offended a sign you have the emotional cancer of resentment?
Most people do not realize they have offenses in their hearts. So be mindful of how you answer the questions in the previous section. When you experience emotional pain and displeasure from an unkind act, unfairness, mistreatment, disrespect, betrayal, unacceptance, and being ignored it creates a painful memory and an offense in your heart. Disappointment also creates a painful memory and causes us to be offended because we are not getting what we want and we feel it is unfair. Once you are offended, the seed of resentment is planted. We will always have disappointment, so resolving to maintain a forgiving and thankful attitude will prevent us from becoming offended and resentful. This is why it is essential to discipline your mind to stay on heavenly promises. Read how to develop heavenly thinking in the posts called Can You Be Too Heavenly Minded? and How to experience a heavenly life on earth.
Recall your last argument or the last time you were frustrated or disappointed. Using the definition of an offense, can you identify what you or the other person was offended about? Once you discover the cause of the offense, then you can work to solve it and heal the emotional cancer of resentment. My book called “Hope for Complete Healing” on my website identifies many causes for offense and the solution. I encourage you to read it so you can love well and have peace, joy, and right thinking. Also, read, “#1 Destroyer of All Relationships and the Solution” for a better understanding of how destructive being offended is.
How do I eliminate resentment?
I recommend the following actions. First, capture the offending thoughts by acknowledging they exist. The evidence is not feeling peace, joy, and thinking the right thoughts. Second, once you acknowledge you are offended, then ask God to show you why you are offended. Third, forgive the person or persons involved. You may have to accept the situation you are disappointed by and trust God’s promises. Fourth, ask God to remove the wrong thinking and false beliefs about the situation and then to take out the seed of resentment sown in your heart. You don’t know you have resentment until it sprouts and takes root in your heart. So as soon as you realize you are offended by a perceived unfairness that causes disappointment, then immediately ask God to remove the seed of resentment before it causes problems. If resentment is left go, it will become bitterness and hate, at which point, the emotional cancer is at stage 4. Hebrews12:15 tells us to “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.” Please read the Five Steps to Heal Your Heart and Purify Your Soul for the prayer model, you can pray to eliminate offenses and resentments.
You now know that emotional cancer is resentment and how it develops in your heart. I ask some questions to help you uncover the hidden resentments you may have. The key indicator you have this cancer is feeling offended. Eliminating emotional cancer is not easy but is necessary so it does not spread and affect your decisions and relationships. There is hope for healing resentment in your life, but you first need to ask God to expose it for Him to heal it. Jeremiah 17:9-10 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? 10) I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
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P.S.: Experiencing lasting change in your life depends on having a right relationship with God the Father through believing in His Son Jesus Christ and obeying His command to love (1 John 3).