Friday, November 21, 2008

Nov. 9 2008 Sermon: Politics of Resentment

Jonah 3 and 4
Luke 15: 11-32

Sermon Notes:
Politics of Resentment:

Bible chock full of stories of people relating to one another in resentment:
Cain and Abel
Joseph and Brothers
Mary and Martha

Parable of the Laborers is a good example of how resentment is on the grid of low ego strength/low power, not low on the relationship.

They complain to the hirer—that takes some relational

In our Jonah story, we see Jonah complaining to God—telling God he’d be better off dead—when he sees his warnings to the Ninevans heeded. He resents them for repenting and for God changing his mind.

God uses the shade vine to teach Jonah about his own resentment.

.Ending of the prodigal son story is thought by some to be tragic, I think it’s beautiful. There’s God the Father, pleading with the resentful brother to join them at the banquet table. Jesus leaves the parable unfinished so that we can answer it.

You will notice if you look at Hand and Fehr’s diagram in your bulletin notes that exiting the resentment quadrant is not by connecting better to others, although intuition says so. A person in the bottom right quadrant is alre4ady a strong relater.

No--Leaving resentment requires growing in self perception, it requires gaining ego strength—it means coming to love yourself more.

When we do feel resentment, we should first admit the problem.
-Illustration: Rick Warren has a slogan: Revealing your feeling is the beginning of healing.

Focus on the fact that you are beautifully and wonderfully made

“All I have is yours.” Ask for love.

Humility is not a characteristic of low ego strength. It is a characteristic of high ego strength. Don’t confuse humility with low ego.

Find a practice that is life giving. Resentment is a toxic element of low ego. The Ken Burns PBS series on jazz music has a terrific quote by jazz great Duke Ellington. Duke was asked about his feelings at not being able, as a black man, to stay in the guest rooms of the hotels he and his band performed in because of segregation. He said, "I took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.";

It happens in group politics as well—people under the thumb of the oppressors so long that they’ve swallowed the stigma and can’t seem to let go of the resentment. They try to buy respect by claiming that they’ve suffered more.

It won’t work—we’ll never be free that way. God loves us all the same—early to work, late to work. God gives us all the same reward.

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