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What are the Effects of Bitterness?


Enmity is darkness in whatsoever abode it dwell.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Baha’i World Faith, p. 216)

Destruction and Dispersion:

If enmity and hatred exist within [a family] destruction and dispersion are inevitable. This is likewise true of a city.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Baha’i World Faith, p. 229)

The fierceness of the flame of enmity and hatred cannot but result in strife and ruin.  (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 95)

For strife and warfare are the very destroyers of human foundations.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 98)

Therefore, as strife and dissension destroy a family and prevent its progress, so nations are destroyed and advancement hindered.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 157)

Destructive to Truth:

Antagonism and contradiction are . . . always destructive to truth.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 72)

Health problems:  Bitterness and unforgiveness are the number one blocks to healing. They have been implicated in many health issues, including ulcers, heart attacks and some forms of cancer; or can lead to addictive behaviours (drugs, alcohol, smoking, sex outside marriage, driving too fast . . . ) or even ultimately to suicide.

. . . anger doth burn the liver: avoid [it] as you would a lion.  (Bahá’u’lláh, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 460)


. . . think ye of hostility and hatred as the torments of hell.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Bahá, pp. 243-246)

Loss of Respect:

Mutual respect will not come about through separatism or antagonism.  (Baha’i International Community, 1988 Aug 01, Rights of Indigenous Populations)

Spiritually Corrosive:

However, to continue dialogue with those who have shown a fixed antagonism to the Faith, and have demonstrated their imperviousness to any ideas other than their own, is usually fruitless and, for the Bahá’ís who take part, can be burdensome and even spiritually corrosive.  (The Universal House of Justice, 1992 Dec 10, Issues Related to Study Compilation)


If we are caused joy or pain by a friend, if a love prove true or false, it is the soul that is affected. If our dear ones are far from us — it is the soul that grieves, and the grief or trouble of the soul may react on the body.  Thus, when the spirit is fed with holy virtues, then is the body joyous; if the soul falls into sin, the body is in torment.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 65-66)

Veils between us and God: Bitterness creates veils between us and God.  Holding on to it is like drinking poison and hoping it will corrode someone else.  The result is separation, and separation from God is too high a price to pay.  It subverts our purpose in life, which is to “know God and worship Him”; to draw closer.

Nearness to Thee is the true life of them who are Thy lovers. (Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 77)


For more in this series:

Introduction to Bitterness:
Examples of Bitterness:
Bahá’í Quotes on Bitterness:
The 7 Underlings of Bitterness:
How Bitterness Works:
Causes of Bitterness:
Estrangement as an Outcome of Bitterness:
Warning Signs for Bitterness:
Solutions to Bitterness: