Devotionals by Dr. James Dobson

The Cost of Bitterness

“I tell you, [forgive] not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” 
Matthew 18:22

Just as we must act on Scripture’s instruction to forgive, we should also consider the great cost of failing to do so. With‐holding forgiveness brings on bitterness, which Neal T. Anderson says is like “battery acid in the soul.” It leads to anger, resentment, depression, health problems, isolation, struggles with addictions, and more. It continues to haunt the person until he or she comes to terms with it. People who hang on to bitterness cause more pain to themselves than to the targets of their wrath.

A second cost is equally distressing. Jesus told a parable of an unmerciful servant who, after his master forgave him a large debt, demanded payment of a small debt from another servant. The master had the first servant thrown into jail and tortured. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you,” Jesus said, “unless you forgive your brother from your heart” (Matthew 18:35).

For couples who want to follow God’s way for marriage and who hope for His best in their relationship, forgiveness is not just a suggestion. It is a spiritual commandment!

Just between us . . .

• Why is failing to forgive more damaging to us than to the one who wronged us?
• Are either of us bitter about something today? Why?
• What steps of forgiveness can we take together?
• How can we avoid bitterness in the future?

Dear Lord, You have spoken plainly about the consequences of withholding forgiveness. Help us to hear You and obey. May we please You and bless each other with our quickness to forgive at all times. Amen.

Listen to today's broadcast of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk at OnePlace.com.  For more from Dr. Dobson, visit the resource center at drjamesdobson.org.

This devotional is taken from Night Light for Couples. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reservedUsed with permission.

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About Family Talk

Packed with the same wisdom Dr. Dobson has provided audiences for more than 30 years, Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk is designed to help families and influence the culture — all flowing out of a heart for spiritual transformation thru trust in Christ for every life. It's the voice you trust...for the family you love!

About Dr. James Dobson

About the Host:
Dr. James Dobson:

James Dobson is the host of Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk. He is also the founder of Focus on the Family, where he served for more than 30 years.

A licensed psychologist and marriage, family, and child counselor, he was an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California for 14 years. He invested 17 years on the attending staff of Children's Hospital Los Angeles in the Division of Child Development and Medical Genetics.

Earning a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, he's authored more than 30 books, including his most recent bestseller, Bringing Up Girls. Dr. Dobson has also been heavily involved in governmental activities related to the family. He was elected in 2008 to the National Radio Hall of Fame.

Dr. Dobson is married to Shirley, the father of two grown children, Danae and Ryan, and the grandfather of Lincoln and Luci.

 

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