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Sermon Illustrations on resentment

Background

A Hungry/Thirsty Soul

The soul can also manifest physical symptoms of need. I like to think of it this way: Just like my stomach growls when I’m hungry for physical food, my spirit tends to growl when I’m in need of spiritual food.

When a checker at the grocery store seems overtly irritable or grouchy, I sometimes grin and think to myself, “I bet her kids woke up before she had a chance to have her quiet time!” I can certainly assure you that my personality is distinctively different when I haven’t had the time I need with the Lord. My soul can do some pretty fierce growling!

How about you? Does your hungry soul ever manifest physical symptoms such as irritability, selfish ambitions, anger, impure thoughts, envy, resentments, and eruptions of lust? Here’s a similar analogy. When a soul is thirsty for the Living Water (John 4), just as my mouth gets dry when I am thirsty, my spiritual mouth gets dry when I need the satisfying refreshment only God can bring.

Beth Moore, Breaking Free: Discover the Victory of Total Surrender, B&H Books, 2007.

Stories

Not Going to Church

As was the normal routine on a Sunday morning, a wife got ready for church. She got up, had breakfast, showered, got dressed, put on makeup and was ready to go. It was just as she was ready to leave that she noticed her husband was still in his robe and pajamas. She asks him what’s going on, “I’m not going to church” he says. “What do you mean, you’re not going to church?” Give me one good reason why you’re not going to church?“

The husband responds, “I’ll give you three good reasons why I’m not going to church. Reason number one, the church feels cold. Reason number two, no one likes me. And reason number three, I just don’t like it there. Is that good enough?” he concluded quite proudly.

 “Well, what if I give you three reasons why you should go to church.” the wife answered. “Reason number one, the church is actually quite warm and friendly. Reason number two, there’s a few people there who like you. And reason number three, you’re the pastor sweetheart, so you better get dressed and get to church.”

Original Source Unknown, Stuart Strachan Jr.

Not Until After My Death

Frederick William I was a king of Prussia in the early 18th century. Personality-wise, he was described as exacting, frugal and austere. He was known to beat his children when they disappointed him. His eldest son, the future king Frederick William II, along with two friends, attempted to run away to escape his father’s ire. One escaped, but the other was imprisoned, and after a season, executed in front of the son in an attempt to reform the child’s wayward path.

As he lay on his deathbed, the pastor attending him told him he must forgive all his enemies. Immediately he thought of his brother in law, George II of England. “In that case,” he told his wife reluctantly, “write to your brother and tell him I forgive him, but be sure not to do it until after my death.”

Stuart Strachan Jr.

R.C. Sproul & The Social Paraiah

The pastor R.C. Sproul was studying in the Netherlands in the last 1960s and randomly struck up a conversation with a Dutch woman. The conversation was a common, enjoyable interaction, but when it was over someone nearby came up to him and asked, why were you talking with that woman?

His response was something to the tune of, why wouldn’t I? And their response was quite telling. It was because she had collaborated with the Nazi’s some 30 years go. She had become a pariah, an exile of sorts, in her own city because of a decision she had made decades before. This was the kind of animosity that one could expect when you collaborated with a foreign power despised by the local population.

Now working for the Nazis is no small matter, and it was probably quite understandable for people to resent her decision to work with them. But does that also mean she should never be forgiven? 

Stuart Strachan Jr.

Tearing the Leech Off

There’s a story about a traveler making his way with a guide through the jungles of Burma. They came to a shallow but wide river and waded through it to the other side. When the traveler came out of the river, numerous leeches had attached to his torso and legs. His first instinct was to grab them and pull them off.

This guide stopped him, warning that pulling the leeches off would only leave tiny pieces of them under the skin. Eventually, infection would set in.

 The best way to rid the body of the leeches, the guide advised, was to bathe in a warm balsam bath for several minutes. This would soak the leeches, and soon they would release their hold on the man’s body. When I’ve been significantly injured by another person, I cannot simply yank the injury from myself and expect that all bitterness, and emotion will be gone. Resentment still hides under the surface. The only way to become truly free of the offense and to forgive others is to bathe in the soothing bath of God’s forgiveness of me. When I finally fathom the extent of God’s love in Jesus Christ, forgiveness of others is a natural outflow.

Gary Preston, Character Forged from Conflict, Bethany, 1999.

Analogies

A Hungry/Thirsty Soul

The soul can also manifest physical symptoms of need. I like to think of it this way: Just like my stomach growls when I’m hungry for physical food, my spirit tends to growl when I’m in need of spiritual food.

When a checker at the grocery store seems overtly irritable or grouchy, I sometimes grin and think to myself, “I bet her kids woke up before she had a chance to have her quiet time!” I can certainly assure you that my personality is distinctively different when I haven’t had the time I need with the Lord. My soul can do some pretty fierce growling!

How about you? Does your hungry soul ever manifest physical symptoms such as irritability, selfish ambitions, anger, impure thoughts, envy, resentments, and eruptions of lust? Here’s a similar analogy. When a soul is thirsty for the Living Water (John 4), just as my mouth gets dry when I am thirsty, my spiritual mouth gets dry when I need the satisfying refreshment only God can bring.

Beth Moore, Breaking Free: Discover the Victory of Total Surrender, B&H Books, 2007.

Tearing the Leech Off

There’s a story about a traveler making his way with a guide through the jungles of Burma. They came to a shallow but wide river and waded through it to the other side. When the traveler came out of the river, numerous leeches had attached to his torso and legs. His first instinct was to grab them and pull them off.

This guide stopped him, warning that pulling the leeches off would only leave tiny pieces of them under the skin. Eventually, infection would set in.

 The best way to rid the body of the leeches, the guide advised, was to bathe in a warm balsam bath for several minutes. This would soak the leeches, and soon they would release their hold on the man’s body. When I’ve been significantly injured by another person, I cannot simply yank the injury from myself and expect that all bitterness, and emotion will be gone. Resentment still hides under the surface. The only way to become truly free of the offense and to forgive others is to bathe in the soothing bath of God’s forgiveness of me. When I finally fathom the extent of God’s love in Jesus Christ, forgiveness of others is a natural outflow.

Gary Preston, Character Forged from Conflict, Bethany, 1999.

Humor

Mrs. Louis Calhern

Ilka Chase (1903-1978) was a celebrated American Actress who performed on stage, in television and radio, and several films, including Fast and Loose (1930) and Oceans 11 (the original, in 1960). In her twenties, Chase married her summer-stock co-performer, Louis Calhern in 1926. It didn’t last long. 

Just six months later they were divorced. Soon thereafter Calhern remarried another actress, Julia Hoyt, described by many at the time as a “great beauty.”

Shortly after this, Chase was looking through some boxes and found a box of fine stationery with the name, “Mrs. Louis Calhern.” Deciding it would be a pity to let them go to waste, she mailed them to her successor with a short note: “Dear Julia, I hope these reach you in time.” (In reality, they lasted about five years before they too were divorced)

Stuart Strachan Jr.

Not Going to Church

As was the normal routine on a Sunday morning, a wife got ready for church. She got up, had breakfast, showered, got dressed, put on makeup and was ready to go. It was just as she was ready to leave that she noticed her husband was still in his robe and pajamas. She asks him what’s going on, “I’m not going to church” he says. “What do you mean, you’re not going to church?” Give me one good reason why you’re not going to church?“

The husband responds, “I’ll give you three good reasons why I’m not going to church. Reason number one, the church feels cold. Reason number two, no one likes me. And reason number three, I just don’t like it there. Is that good enough?” he concluded quite proudly.

 “Well, what if I give you three reasons why you should go to church.” the wife answered. “Reason number one, the church is actually quite warm and friendly. Reason number two, there’s a few people there who like you. And reason number three, you’re the pastor sweetheart, so you better get dressed and get to church.”

Original Source Unknown, Stuart Strachan Jr.

Not Until After My Death

Frederick William I was a king of Prussia in the early 18th century. Personality-wise, he was described as exacting, frugal and austere. He was known to beat his children when they disappointed him. His eldest son, the future king Frederick William II, along with two friends, attempted to run away to escape his father’s ire. One escaped, but the other was imprisoned, and after a season, executed in front of the son in an attempt to reform the child’s wayward path.

As he lay on his deathbed, the pastor attending him told him he must forgive all his enemies. Immediately he thought of his brother in law, George II of England. “In that case,” he told his wife reluctantly, “write to your brother and tell him I forgive him, but be sure not to do it until after my death.”

Stuart Strachan Jr.

More Resources

Related Themes

Click a topic below to explore more sermon illustrations! 

Anger

Betrayal

Bitterness

Conflict

Criticism

Emotions

Revenge

& Many More