The High Cost of Resentment

The High Cost of Resentment

Part 2

The Pain of Empty Promises and Betrayal

Everyone can tell you stories about “empty promises.” Maybe it involves something as simple as being stood up for a date or being denied an expected promotion or raise. It might be something more heartbreaking, such as betrayed marriage vows that leave a lifetime of trust shattered.

There is happiness in seeing a trusted friend’s integrity proved true with a promise made and delivered; it is reassuring, a testament of faith, and you overflow with gratitude. Instead of appreciation, empty promises may overwhelm the betrayed with disappointment, hurt, and anger, and plant the seeds of long-term resentment.

There is a high cost to pay for such resentment, and the longer it churns inside your heart, the toll compounds like interest on a loan shark’s dollar. Resentment blossoms with thorns of bitterness, choking out your joy in Christ and suffocating your ability to share God’s love with others.

Resentment even brings depression that can affect your health, starve your friendships, stress family relationships and drag down your performance on the job.

I have gone through a few betrayals, hurts, and times of resentment in my life. But my story is not the first. God had to take one of His children by the hand, turning tragedy into hope and betrayal into blessing. His name? Joseph. His story begins in Genesis 37:1.

At age 17, Joseph had it made. He was his father, Jacob’s, favorite son, the offspring of his true love, Rachel. The brothers did not like Joseph, and that was not all their fault. Lots of preachers, recounting the story, make the brothers into devils incarnate. No doubt what they ended up doing to their own kin was devious – but considering the roots of their resentment, you might cut them a little slack.

After being sold into slavery by his brothers and the events that took place following that, bitterness and resentment must have hovered around Joseph like ghosts, whispering about betrayal, seething with fear and anger, and even the beginning thoughts of revenge.

It is what Joseph did with those feelings of fear, abandonment and hopelessness that made all the difference.

He turned to the only remaining constant, the sole foundation in life left to him: his faith in God.


Arni Jacobson, Director of Church Expansion, Grace International

This post is derived from Arni Jacobson’s book THE HIGH COST OF RESENTMENT. A more in-depth version of this blog can be found in the book. If you’d like to order a copy of the book for $10, please email Brooke Pierce –


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