Forgiveness can be a hard, hard thing. And yet, it’s such an important thing in relationships, especially in marriage. Our human nature defies forgiveness–even very sweet and forgiving people can find it hard to forgive under difficult circumstances. Our natural tendency is to scream out for fairness, justice for the wrongdoing, and attention to detail on all the ways we were wronged ourselves.
But that is not God’s way. God is a god of grace, mercy, compassion and forgiveness — and we were created in his image which means that we are capable of these traits as well.
Grace – a kindness not deserved.
Mercy – not seeking the punishment one does deserve
Compassion – a loving act extended toward someone who is hurting (who may or may not “deserve” it.)
Forgiveness – choosing to not hold a person’s wrongdoings against them, but letting them go – forever.
Oh but these things are HARD sometimes, aren’t they?? ESPECIALLY when we’re talking about our spouse because oftentimes being wronged by our husband in more painful, more difficult to let go.
You’re probably familiar with the Lord’s Prayer (in which, you know, it says “forgive us our debts (or sins or trespasses) as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Did you know that the next verses, Matthew 6:14-15 reads:
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
And of course there’s Matthew 18:21-2:
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.
And also Luke 6:36-38:
Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you..”
I could go on and on. Again and again we are told to love one another, forgive each other, treat others the way that we want to be treated, be kind, be compassionate, be merciful. So we know what we are supposed to do, but how do we do that in the middle of feeling so hurt and betrayed?
It’s not easy, I’m not promising it’s easy, I’m just promising that it’s worth it. First we have to go to God because we need His strength and wisdom. And then:
- Take a deep breath, a minute, a little while, do what you need to calm down and let your own anger go.
- Decide in your heart not return anger for anger but extend forgiveness. Choose not to hold anything against your husband and let it go.
- Loving and biblical rebuke may be necessary: “It’s not okay to talk to me that way. You need to consider that.”
- Or it may not be necessary, if it was an oversight. You might simply say, “You know, it really hurt my feelings when you said that.”
- Do what can you to restore peace. Ask for forgiveness for your own part in the fight (if any) and extend forgiveness to your husband.
- If your husband is angry at the moment it may be difficult, but you can offer peace, and be at peace on your end, and pray for him to find peace as well. It’s harder for a husband to keep up a one sided fight. (If you do find yourself in a situation where your husband is trying to keep a fight going – be loving, kind, respectful, and as hard as it can be, do not participate in the fight!)
- Once you’ve made peace, whenever that may be, give assurance. Tell your husband that you love him, give him a hug. End on a positive note.
- Resolve to put this behind you and never bring it up again, ever. Forgiving someone means putting what they did in a vault and sealing it up forever, never to be opened up and brought out and held against them.
- Learn from this experience! There is always something to learn.
It’s so important to be quick to forgive, but especially with your husband. I can’t even begin to tell how important it is. I know it can be hard, you have to believe me. I know that you don’t know my whole story and you don’t know I know but really.. I KNOW. But forgiving your husband when he wrongs you, intentionally or unintentionally is not only important for the health of your marriage, but it is also a witness to your husband and most importantly, it’s important for your own relationship with God. God wants us to be forgiving, as He is forgiving. Even when someone wrongs you without apology or regret, you can still choose to forgive and let it go.
So it’s my challenge to you this week, whether it’s your spouse or someone else, to practice Grace, Mercy, Compassion and Forgiveness in the face of adversity.
It’s my goal as a wife and mom to learn to be a more forgiving person, extending the love of Christ to them to the best of my ability. If you’ve written a post about forgiveness, or an encouraging post about marriage, feel free to link up below. Please link back to this post and please visit the other posts that link up, too. Thank you so much.