GRANTING FORGIVENESS IS TOUGH

6 Mar

GRANTING FORGIVENESS IS TOUGH

As difficult as it is to ask for forgiveness, it can be even more difficult at times to grant forgiveness to someone who has wronged you.  And this is every bit as true in marriage—maybe even more so—than it is in any other relationship.

I often advise married couples to take out a joint membership in the Seventy Times Seven Club.  This club began when Peter asked Jesus how many times we must forgive one another.  Peter wondered if seven times would be enough?  Christ answered, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (Matt.18:22).  In other words, forgive an infinite number of times, not just when you feel like it.

You can tell when you have forgiven your spouse by asking yourself one simple question:  Have I given up my desire to punish my mate?  When you say aside that desire and no longer seek revenge, you free your spouse and yourself from the bonds of your anger.

Forgiveness cannot be conditional.  Once you forgive, that’s it.  Feelings may still be raw, and it is not hypocritical to feel as though you don’t want to forgive your spouse.  If someone has hurt you, you can choose to forgive immediately, but still be processing feelings of disappointment or rejection.  Forgiveness is a choice, an act of the will—not an emotion.  It may take a while for your feelings to catch up with your will.  But your will needs to respond to the scriptural mandate to forgive your spouse.

If you’re not careful, you may dilute the power of forgiveness.  How many times have you heard someone say, “I’m sorry I offended you; will you forgive me?”  And the other person quickly says without apparent reflection, “Sure, I forgive you!”  The two people move on, but then the offender offense again, and the scenario repeats, perhaps many times.

Such behavior mocks authentic forgiveness.  I believe tough love must break this cycle by saying, “You know, if you are really serious about being sorry, your actions need to show some believable repentance.”

While a mate can administer this “love with teeth,” outside help may also be needed, particularly in the early years of marriage. Most churches offer counseling to couples experiencing marital stresses.  Or you may ask an older couple to serve as marriage mentors.  If problems persist and forgiveness is absent, tell someone.  Seek help!

Forgiveness is one of the disciplines in marriage that must be practiced for a lifetime.  No marriage can be all that God intended without it.

NOTE:  This article was taken from the book “Family Life and Marriage Bible” by Dennis and Barbara Rainey.

NOTE:  Daily there is a new post to help your marriage be a success.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: