No heart for resentment

Recently I was moved by a podcast interview with Congressman John Lewis, a former leader in the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. In response to a question about how he dealt with the vicious verbal and physical abuse he faced during nonviolent protests, he said: “In all of the years since, I’ve not had any sense of bitterness or ill feeling toward any of the people. I just don’t have it” (On Being with Krista Tippett, “John Lewis on the Art & Discipline of Nonviolence”).

Most of us have never faced anything that could begin to approach the level of maliciousness the Congressman experienced decades ago, but we likely have had a difficult experience for which we would be considered justified in feeling wronged or resentful—and may have given in to those feelings.

While hatred and bitterness might seem like natural responses to injustice, the Congressman’s words remind me that they are not part of the true essence of who we are, and we should challenge them. As Congressman Lewis said later in the interview, “Hate is too heavy a burden to bear.” 

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A mother’s prayer for refugees
June 27, 2016

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