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How can I make my son understand that he is causing himself harm by harboring ill feelings?

Mar 21, 2019

From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Q: My son and his closest friend since childhood shared everything through college. They competed against one another and remained friends. Today, however, these two guys are in the same business but my son has not been as successful as his buddy. I try to help my son overcome his bitterness. Is there anything I can say to make him understand that he is causing himself harm by harboring ill feelings? — S.D.

A: Resentment is a killer. If it doesn’t kill physically, it can kill emotionally. Resentment leads to bitterness. Lord Byron and Sir Walter Scott were gifted writers in the 18th and early 19th centuries. They were both lame. Byron bitterly resented his infirmity and constantly grumbled about it. Scott was never heard to complain about his handicap.

One day Scott received a letter from Byron and said, “I would give my fame to have your happiness.” What made the difference in their reactions toward their disabilities? Byron was a man who took pride in his dissolute lifestyle. His moral standards were doubtful. Scott, on the other hand, was a Christian whose courageous life exemplified his values.

Jealousy often leads to bitterness that can strangle a person. The Bible cautions us to refrain from letting the root of bitterness spring up and cause trouble (Hebrews 12:15).

Resentment develops when we persist in resisting what God has allowed to happen to us. We must take our eyes off “self” and look to the Lord. The Bible tells us to lift up our eyes because our help comes from the Lord (Psalm 121:1-2).

A muscle becomes weak if it is not used. To become strong, a muscle must push against something — a person must learn how to take advantage of difficulty and give glory to God in all things. It strengthens us for what is ahead.


(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)


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