Resentment is the cocaine of the emotions. It causes our blood to pump and our energy levels to rise.
But, also like cocaine, it demands increasingly larger and more frequent dosages. There is a dangerous point at which anger ceases to be an emotion and becomes a driving force. A person bent on revenge moves unknowingly further and further away from being able to forgive, for to be without the anger is to be without a source of energy.
That explains why the bitter complain to anyone who will listen. They want...they need...to have their fire fanned. That helps explain the existence of the KKK, the skinheads, and other hate organizations. Members of these groups feed each other's anger. And that is why the resentful often appear unreasonable. They are addicted to their bitterness. They don't want to surrender their anger, for to do so would be to surrender their reason to live.
Take bigotry from the racist, and what does he have left? Remove revenge from the heart of the zealot, and her life is empty. Extract chauvinism from the radical sexist, and what remains?
Resentment is like cocaine in another way, too. Cocaine can kill the addict. And the anger can kill the angry.
It can kill physically. Chronic anger has been linked with elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure, and other deadly conditions. It can kill emotionally, in that it can raise anxiety levels and lead to depression.
And it can be spiritually fatal, too. It shrivels the soul.
Hatred is the rabid dog that turns on its owner. Revenge is the raging fire that consumes the arsonist. Bitterness is the trap that snares the hunter. And mercy is the choice that can set them all free.
Let me be very clear. Hatred will sour our outlook and break our back. The load of bitterness is simply too heavy. Our knees will buckle under the strain, and our heart will break beneath the weight. The mountain before us is steep enough without the heaviness of hatred on our back. The wisest choice...the only choice...is for us to drop the anger. We will never be called upon to give anyone more grace than God has already given us