“Forbearance or Resentment?”

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When I ran across “forbearance” in one list of virtues, I had to think about where I ever heard the word used. For years I had only heard it in terms of bank loans being cancelled. But such an old fashioned sounding word deserved deeper consideration, and I found the definition as “the quality of being patient and being able to forgive someone or control yourself in a difficult situation.” This certainly sounded like a challenging virtue.

I think I find it easier to pretend to control myself in a difficult situation while seething with resentment. Being patient and being able to forgive someone in a disagreement seems more difficult. I have heard resentment described as “anger with a history,” which aptly puts words to that lingering feeling seeking revenge or retribution. I put the picture of me mowing the lawn(without shoes–a dangerous practice) since I am smiling while I was typically completely uninterested in the lawn work. In fact, I imagine I resented having been taken from my reading to help in the yard. I could have used help in understanding that it is possible to do something one resists with patience.

Having spent some time with this virtue(two days in fact) I will remain attentive to the difference between forbearance and resentment. I hope to experience more of the first and less of the second!

11 thoughts on ““Forbearance or Resentment?”

  1. I find my forbearance often comes from numbness, which is perhaps not any better than seething resentment. My friends at first marvelled at and then become confused by and then anxious about how little I react to things. I think with a past like mine though, you can either choose madness or numbness and I chose the latter.

  2. This comment might not be mainstream. Some time ago, I listened to a scripture preacher explain the meaning of forbearance. He said forbearance is the virtue that takes once step beyond forgiveness. According to him, when we forgive as humans, we never forget. Not forgetting makes us to develop a coping mechanism for the history that replays in our head. As such, we would not tolerate some things which we previously tolerate. We harbor some resentment, as you put it. This is simply because of the “forgiven” offence. If we develop forbearance, it means we are able to accept the offender as though they never wronged us. It is almost like we offer them a completely clean slate despite what they have done .
    To be honest Elizabeth, it is a difficult virtue. In my opinion, one needs a deeper level of spirituality to practice this.
    The Bible teaches forbearance. Finding examples of actual christians that practice it is a huge challenge. Of course, there must be people who practice it or aspire to do so.
    One religious group that seem to exemplify forbearance in their practices is the Bhuddist religion. For instance, they readily accommodate ex-convicts as equals. They see them as people who did wrong things but not as people who are wrong doers. They are not just forgiven and given the hope of second chance in heaven. They are given a fresh start right here.
    I am not advocating Bhuddism.But the love they offer to those who have made poor judgement is pious to say the least. I am a Christian. And I may be wrong with any or all of these.

    1. I appreciate your expansion of my thinking. I realize that there are instances, such as with my former husband, where I actually have forbearance as you describe it. It has taken 40 years!

  3. That was quite a yard you had to mow! No wonder you were not completely happy with the task. The silver lining, of course, was that it gave you an opportunity to practice virtues.

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