DEAR REV. GRAHAM: With God’s help I think I’ve truly forgiven my ex-husband for all the problems he caused us, but our four children (who are all adults now) say they’ll never forgive him. How can I help them get over their bitterness and anger? Or should I even try?
— R.McK. DEAR R.McK.: You should do everything you can to help them overcome their feelings. As I’ve often said, bitterness and anger are like poisons to our hearts and minds that will destroy us if we let them, and they never solve anything.
And you have already taken the first step to help them overcome these by dealing with your own emotions. After all, they may reject your words when you try to talk with them about this — but they can’t deny your attitude or your example. Divorce almost always brings with it feelings of deep hurt, betrayal and anger. Don’t be surprised if it’s hard for them to overcome these — but it can happen, with God’s help.
Elsewhere in your letter you mention how you came to realize that you needed to turn your bitterness and hurt over to Christ — and once you did, He helped you replace them with His peace and love. Encourage your children to do likewise — even if it’s only small steps at a time. The Bible says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger … forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).
The most important thing you can do, however, is to make Christ part of your life every day. The past is past; you cannot change it (and neither can your children). But the future can be different when Christ becomes the center of our lives. May this become true of you — and of your children. billygraham.org