Step 4: Why I hate people!
“Hate” is a strong word. When attached to people it becomes even stronger. Hating people is equated in the Bible to murder.
In the fourth step of Celebrate Recovery, the task is to write down everyone you have ever built up resentment for throughout your life. Whenever I had previously heard about 12-step programs, I always felt that going back into your life was useless and unbiblical. I felt the gospel was all about looking forward, not back. I still think there is some truth to that but at the same time, the Bible says “Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD!” (Lam. 3:40)
My understanding is that God is in the business of renewing our minds through an understanding and application of Scripture. However, throughout our lives we pick up wrong thoughts, ideas, conclusions, etc. So, in order to correct those we may need to examine them and test them according to truth. That is not necessarily DWELLING in the past but simply going there momentarily to do some cleanup. I was relieved to find that Celebrate Recovery does not promote dwelling in the past or the future. I believe that is sound.
Resentment: “the feeling of displeasure or indignation
at some act, remark, person, etc., regarded
as causing injury or insult.”
“Resentment can result from a variety of situations, involving a perceived wrongdoing from an individual, and often are sparked by expressions of injustice or humiliation. Common sources of resentment include publicly humiliating incidents such as accepting negative treatment without voicing any protest, an object of regular discrimination or prejudice, envy/jealousy, feeling used or taken advantage of by others, and having achievements go unrecognized, while others succeed without working as hard. Resentment can also be generated by dyadic interactions, such as emotional rejection or denial by another person, deliberate embarrassment or belittling by another person, or ignorance, putting down, or scorn by another person.”
So, on to step 4 I went! As I began this step, my initial thought was that I was pretty easy to get along with. I at first thought of maybe one or two people who I considered I might harbor some resentment for. I took an entire afternoon and just prayed and asked God to reveal any resentment that might be inside me. When I was finished, I had a list of 23 people who I had harbored resentment and hatred for at some point in my life! Wow, that was kind of shocking to me!
Another thing that was very revealing was that there was a similar common thread that seemed to weave among them all. Most of them were people with strong personalities who had made me feel small in some way or another. It was very much about control and as you might recall I have a tendency to want to be in control. When someone threatens my control, I become intimidated. I don’t know how to handle it. So, I shut down and resentment takes over.
So far, I’ve only identified the problem. I would be very curious to get some feedback from anyone who reads this post about how you might prevent building up resentments toward people. What are the positive ways to handle these kinds of situations? Have you learned any valuable tools in this area? I am very open to advice and/or practical tips. I guess I don’t feel like I’m an overly hateful person, but I do identify that it has been an issue I’d like to completely eradicate from my life.
Resentment and hatred build up anxiety, are unhealthy, destroy relationships, and allow complexes to continue. They are the enemy and must be destroyed.
Obviously, I have insecurities that I must deal with. If there are people who make me feel small, it must only be because I have decided it to be true in my mind. People should not have that power to make me feel that way as we are all equal. No amount of success, strong personality, intellect, power, money, or anything else changes that fact. So, why do we decide in our own minds that this is not the case?!