By Michael Griffith, Contributing Writer
I know of no other relationship where God can show you His grace, love, and mercy more prominently than within a marriage.
When I was single I believed that forgiving someone was not blowing my horn at the stranger on the freeway that cut me off. How good I felt when I knew that on my pedestal I “forgave” them for making a wrong turn without looking. As I thought to myself “Go in peace my friend, and drive safely”.Then I got married. And, oh what little I realized I really knew about forgiveness.
This is not due to my Wife’s failings.
This is due to my childish understanding of God’s incomprehensible ability to forgive, and He is trying to teach this wretched sinner to do the same.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” ~Ephesians 4:32
The reality of being married to a sinner:
Your spouse will sin against you. You will be sinned against, you will sin against your spouse. They will hurt your feelings. They will make you feel less-than what you are at times. They will make you feel unwanted, unloved and alone. This will happen in your marriage.
I’m not wishing this upon you, I’m stating a reality. I can say this confidently because I know that not one of us is perfect. We are all sinners, in need of His grace!
The inability to forgive is what ultimately rips apart relationships. With the intimacies that come with being married, we are bound to one another. We must remember what our God did for us. He forgave us, sent His only Son to die on that Cross, for our sins. For my sins. For your sins.
We forgive because we have been forgiven.
Forgiveness has to be tightly bound into a marriage, in my mind it impossible to separate the two at any moment.
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times” ~ Matthew 18:21-22
Forgiveness is the most God-like act a Christian can do
Miriam Webster defines Un-forgiveness as “unwilling or unable to forgive, having or making no allowance for error or weakness”
We have a God who has been infinity more offended, sinned against more than any of us can do to each other. He, the glorious Creator, has forgiven the greatest offenses of ours.
Remember this when you feel as if you cannot forgive your wife or husband, for something they did (or didn’t do).
We can forgive one another. Or are you holier than Him? I know I’m not.
Let’s also remember what Matthew 5:22 says. “everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment”
Un-forgiveness is a hate attitude, it is an angry attitude in our hearts. It’s not a loving attitude, it’s not a neutral attitude.
Un-forgiveness does no good to any relationship. Christian or not.
“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” ~ Colossians 3:13
But what if I just can’t get what so and so did to me?
Forgive and forget. That’s a popular saying that is referenced with in respect to forgiveness. But can we really forget something? I don’t know about you, but I don’t suddenly become an amnesiac and forget things (as much as I wish I could, and try to). I could still remember things from when I was two and three years old if I choose to.
So, how do we deal with this part, the part that stays in our heads?
We don’t re-call them into our thoughts, into our present time, nor into our future. We don’t hold the issue over the other persons head for any amount of time.
Once forgiveness is extended, that is it.
“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it may become defiled” ~ Hebrews 12:14-15
The heart of forgiveness is eager. Eager to let.it.go.