Don’t Let Bitterness Fester and Grow
by Joanne Troppello
“Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes are uncertain. People are irrational.” – Hugh Mackay
Unless you’re living stranded on an island, you are interacting with people each day. When the Coronavirus pandemic hit last year and stay at home mandates were enacted, you likely spent more time with family members than you had in a while.
Spending a lot of time with people in your circle of family and friends can cause even more tension than usual. It can be difficult to deal with people’s quirks, tendencies to annoy you, and other behaviors.
Relationships matter. Don’t let bitterness fester and grow.
Relationships from a Christian Perspective
One of the best pieces of relationship advice I’ve ever received was from my brother, Corey. He and his wife Erika sent my husband John and me a wooden plaque with our names and the date we got married.
On the back of the plaque, he wrote “In bocca al lupo!” For some background, my husband is Italian American. His mother and her family immigrated to the US from Italy. His father’s family is also Italian. My brother was in the Army and was stationed in Italy. He met and subsequently married his wife, an Italian. I do not know Italian, only a few words. I had to look up the meaning of that phrase. It means “into the wolf’s mouth”, which is an Italian idiom, originally used to wish an actor or singer in the theatre or opera good luck.
Those well wishes were nice. However, the next statement is the advice that has stuck with me for all the almost 17 years of our marriage. “Never go to bed angry – the key to success!”
“In your anger do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your anger,” and do not give the devil a foothold. – Ephesians 4:26-27 (NIV)
My brother’s words brought to mind the verse from Ephesians chapter 4, verses 26 and 27. You can have a righteous anger about something, but you shouldn’t sin in your anger. It is very easy to sin when angry. That is why God’s Word urges you and me not to sin in our anger.
Throughout the years I’ve been married, I have tried to put that scripture verse and my brother’s advice into action. Yes, I’ve failed many times. Other times I’ve been successful. However, there were times when I pushed too hard to talk it out and that was not received well with my husband.
There have been rifts in extended family relationships. However, God has been faithful and is connecting the dots and healing those relationships.
The truth still remains, that relationships are so important. God values His relationship with His children. He sent His Son to die on the cross to bring salvation to the world. God values marriage between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:24). God values family relationships (Psalm 127:3).
If God places so much value on relationships, shouldn’t you?
This is a life lesson that I have learned throughout my Christian walk. I’ve grown in my relationships with family on both sides (mine and my husband’s). The most important lesson I’ve learned is that grace and forgiveness are two important gifts we can afford to others—because God has given us grace and forgave us—and continues to do that each day.
Do you place value on relationships?
About the Author
Joanne Troppello is an author, writer, and poet. She is the publisher of the online Christian lifestyle magazine, Mustard Seed Sentinel. Connect with Joanne on Twitter. You can find Joanne on these social media channels—Twitter, Facebook, Parler, Spreely, and Clouthub—with the same username, @JoanneTroppello—and @joannetroppello.mseedsentinel on Instagram. Visit the Mustard Seed Sentinel YouTube Channel. Check out MSS Live Well Corner.