I have a friend whose wife spent them into bankruptcy. He claims he does not resent his wife. He does have a rather extensive list of her shortcomings, or as he likes to say, “suggestions for her improvement”. He reports feeling very sad, even depressed. He keeps a notebook filled with all the ways she has hurt his feelings. My friend has resentment but is not quite ready to own it. He has also accidentally completed his resentment list for Step Four as it relates to his wife!
As a child he was taught that anger is a sin. FYI - Feelings are not sinful. They are warning lights to let us know we need to pay attention. (We know they can become shortcomings if we do not appropriately deal with them, but that is a different kettle of fish.) Because he received bad intell about emotions and was punished if he did express his anger, he has no skill sets for processing his anger and frustration. He also thinks that good Christians do not feel anger. Wrong. Even Jesus got appropriately mad when circumstances called for it!
As we work through our inventories, we may need to push the pause button time and again and ask for feedback and help sorting through our emotions - particularly if we have repressed ours or been taught that our feelings are wrong. In fact, our inability to express and respond in healthy ways to a wide range of feelings may contribute to our daily problems. It certainly makes our daily life more difficult. The Fourth Step allows us to grow and learn and figure out not only our emotions, but other key information about ourselves too.
Lives of careless wrongdoing are tumbledown shacks; holy living builds soaring cathedrals.
~Proverbs 14:11, The Message