Listenings: Our Universal Challenge

As we resume the weekly “Listenings” posting, we return to Nouwen’s book, ‘Spiritual Formation’ (HarperOne, 2010), and we pick up our exploration of it in the midst of his call for us to move from resentment to gratitude.  Nouwen defines resentment as “the deep feeling that life has let us down” (p. 59).  That definition pretty well universalizes resentment, for there is no one who feels that life has been completely good or totally fair.  I’m guessing that Nouwen defined resentment this way intentionally.  For this definition will not let anyone bypass this movement in spiritual formation.
     In order to mature in the spiritual life, we must all face our jealousies and disappointments.  Otherwise, we get stuck there and those places become festering wounds of negativity, denial, and anger.  Resentment is one of the places where we need to seek forgiveness, so that the healing grace of God can flow into our lives.  When this happens, we become wounded healers, who can make use of the darkest places in our lives as instruments to give light and hope to others.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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