Perhaps the greatest enemy of any relationship is bitterness. Within a family, the problem of bitterness becomes even more magnified. If it is not addressed appropriately and quickly, it can lead to the utter destruction of the family relationships.
In Women Under Construction, I describe how many storms can threaten us in life. A storm of bitterness may present the greatest danger. The destructive potential of bitterness has been shown to be severe. There are accounts of brothers who have not spoken to each other for years because of an offense that neither one can remember. There are daughters who have been estranged from their fathers because of bitterness over something that was said or done decades ago, and it has affected every relationship they have had since.

Bitterness can destroy family relationships while negatively affecting other relationships, too. Your experiences at home influence how you relate to every other person you encounter. The family should be the training ground for developing good, healthy relationships, but failure in that environment can follow you throughout life.

This problem is not insurmountable, though. Nor is it irreversible.

Ideally, you will avoid allowing bitterness to set in at all. However, even if bitterness has already had a devastating effect on one or more of your family relationships, you can still make amends. It may not be easy, but it is possible. No matter how much damage has been done, with the proper attention—and perhaps some necessary counseling—a broken relationship can still be salvaged.

Instead of holding on to bitterness, learn to release it. Bitterness offers no benefits for anyone (including yourself), so let it go and seek reconciliation instead. “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32, KJV). Replace that bitterness with tenderheartedness, kindness, compassion, understanding, and forgiveness. If you refuse, it has the power to destroy your family and to rob you of the happy and joy-filled home you could be experiencing.
3/14/2012 02:18:02 am

Excellent advice on bitterness. It is something that I practice with my siblings...our mother passed recently and there were many opportunities for bitterness, arguments, strife but Bless God we came through it..funny how times of death and grieving breeds bitterness.


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