Here at Biblical Counseling Center, we deal with many relationships that are broken. Two of the most painful we deal with are broken marriages and parents and their children. Let me say this to begin with – the pain you feel is real. The frustration you feel is real and can be debilitating. The questions you ask yourself daily about “what did I do wrong here” is a painful time in your life. You may be in agony as you read this article. You may be mad as you read this article. Please keep reading.

Something I have learned is you cannot make a decision for someone else

Every person is responsible for their own decisions. You cannot make decisions for people. When you try to do that, bitterness and anger will be the result. I tell our counselees that we give you God’s tools. You are responsible to apply them to your life and use them. We cannot do that for you. We do not have a magic wand where we can slap you on the head and make you super Christian!  Everything in life is a choice and you are responsible for your choices. In our society right now there are a lot of people feeling they have been hurt. I have listened for many years to hurting parents who are asking themselves the question, “What is wrong with my child that they would live this way? What did we do wrong?” The agony the parent feels inside and the questioning of themselves as to what happened can create problems in their marriage. The child feels hurt, angry, and desires to do what they want to do. They want to go their own way. Many people who go their own way are because they are living for their lusts and do not understand even why they are making the decisions they do, James 4:1-6. They are lust driven.

What about when a husband or wife says, “I do not love you anymore and I am through with this marriage?” The other partner will be angry, hurt, feeling they have been deceived, etc. The partner who decides to go has been hurt, feeling unloved, and many other feelings, and just wants out. Everyone feels justified in their position to be angry, bitter and they are lost in their emotions. Conversations have been hurtful to each other, mean, an attitude of not caring. There can be many contributing factors. Many times we hurt the people we love the most.

God wants our behavior to be honoring to Him

Most people who are in the position of broken relationships many times do not care what God wants. But notice what God says.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20, What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  (20)  For ye are bought with a price: (the blood of Jesus Christ) therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

When we Biblically counsel people who are at the end of their rope, I always take them to this passage of Scripture. I ask the people, “Do you believe your behavior has been honoring and glorifying to God?” The answer is always no and a look of reality and soberness comes across their face. They certainly have not been honoring and glorifying to God in their behavior. Thus, poor decisions have been made. Sadly, poor life decisions have been made.

The way back starts with learning how to be controlled by the Holy Spirit

Ephesians 5:17-21, Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.  (18)  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled (controlled by) with the Spirit; (19) Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; (20) Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; (21) Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

So, did you notice that if I am not a Spirit controlled person, I will not know what the will of God is? What is the will of God here? To be a Spirit controlled person rather than be an emotion controlled person. A Spirit controlled person will learn submission in their life. You cannot submit to another person until you first learn to submit to God. It starts with learning how to submit to God. Emotion controlled people are led by their emotions in their decisions and make poor self-serving decisions. Many times hurtful to others. There is no other option for a Christian but to be a Spirit controlled person.

Non Spirit controlled people are bitter and angry people

Ephesians 4:29-32, Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.  (30)  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.  (31)  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:  (32)  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Bitter and angry people grieve the Holy Spirit. They make emotion led decisions. They are easily offended and hurt. They rationalize their anger, their bitterness and many times they feel very justified in the decisions they make to hurt other people because in their mind they deserve it.

Bitterness is designed by Satan to destroy your life

Hebrews 12:15, Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

I want to encourage you to realize the devastating effects your bitterness will have in your life and the lives of others. It will defile you and it will defile those around you. Poor decisions will be made and relationships will be broken and great harm will come to many.

We cannot trust our own heart, Jeremiah 17:9-10. God is the only one who can search our heart. So, the way back also means to ask God the question each day, “Is there any bitterness in my heart Lord against anyone, or any situation?” If God shows you there is bitterness in your heart, ask for his forgiveness, and then ask Him to remove this bitterness from your heart. You may have to apologize to someone as well. However, it is very important to make sure you have no bitterness in your heart daily. Bitterness is a root sin and fuels all the other areas in Ephesians 4:31: wrath, anger, clamour (public quarreling), evil speaking, and malice. God says, “We are to put these off in our lives.”

The way back is to be a Spirit controlled person, which is a kind person

Ephesians 4:32, And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Many times I have asked a couple if they loved one another what would you do for him or her? The answer generally comes from one of them, “I would be kinder to them.” My answer is, “Then go do that.” Pray and ask God to show you ways to be kind to this person. Don’t come back and say, Well, I was kind twice and nothing happened.”  This is a process and impatience here does not work. In fact, it probably was a part of the breaking of the relationship.

In the matter of a broken relationship with a child who is now an adult and not living for God, and is living a wicked life, you have to start somewhere. The way back is started by kindness. I realize the relationship may be bad. Things can be very strained.

I was in a preaching meeting in a northern state. After the morning service a father of an adult child not living for God came to me in tears. “I do not understand why she lives this way.” He said he was going to invite his daughter to the service that night. He came back to the service and told me he told her she needed to get her life right with God and quit living this immoral life and be in the church service tonight and she would learn what she needed! He was pretty proud of his anger and what he had told her. I am sure she was just greatly encouraged to come to the service!

I asked him if that was really what he said. He said, “Yes, she needs to hear her life is wicked and she needs to get her life right with God.” I asked him if that worked. He was angry and said, “No”. I asked how many times he had told her that. He said, “Every time I talk to her!” I told him, “She turned you off a long time ago. Your approach to this is just moving her farther away from you.” He said, “Well, someone needs to tell her.” I said, “She already knows that and she is not listening to you anymore on this subject.”

Folks, do not think for a minute I am saying compromise your life with her sin. Not at all. But confronting her on each occasion you talk with her is not the answer. Getting angry is not going to help.

Remember to be a Spirit controlled person. Be kind! Kindness is the start to the way back.

1 Corinthians 13:4,  Charity (love) suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

Love is kind! A short text that says, “Just wanted you to know I was thinking about you today. Love you, dad!” “Hope you have a good day today! Love you, mom!”  Maybe you find something that you can say your child did well. Yes, there is something they did well.  Give them some positive encouragement.  Small steps are important.

I believe Dr. SM Davis said this, “Listen, you may not love what your child is doing, but you can always love your child!”  Profoundly true! Kindness is the start of the way back. After a while the child is thinking in their mind, “What is wrong with mom and dad, they are not blasting me anymore.” The door starts to slowly open. When it does, don’t think that is the opportunity to lay into them again. Broken relationships are about lost hearts. Godly kindness helps to heal broken hearts and open doors. Remember, we have to start somewhere.  Don’t give them money to practice their sin or support them in it, but ask God to help you be as kind as you can possibly be.

I would encourage you for more information on this subject, to get our booklet, How to Deal With Hurt, on our website at

Ephesians 4:32, And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Maybe you have lost hope in your relationship(s) today.  Remember this, God wants you to have hope. There is always hope if we follow God’s principles.

Romans 15:13, Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Stop and submit yourself to God and ask Him for direction in your life today. 

“Lord, I want to submit myself to you today. Please give me the next right step.” 

James 4:7, Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

May God help you and encourage you today is our prayer. There is hope for you today. For more and in depth help, please visit our website.