"What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ." --2 Cor. 2:10
Love forgives. What a challenging hurdle to learn--jumping through all your pain and forgiving. Freeing the one who hurt you of justice being served by you. Practicing the very act that Christ painfully acted out for us. He forgave each of us depite how many times we willingly disobey Him, hurt Him, go against Him--deliberately. Needless to say, "if there is to be any hope for your marriage, this is a challenge that must absolutely be taken seriously...forgiveness has to happen, or a successful marriage won't" (Kendrick).
In Matthew 18:23-35 we learn about the slave who was forgiven his debt by the king, and then immediately goes out and demands his debt to be paid by his servant. When the king heard of it, things changed dramatically in his arrangement with the slave. "And in anger, his master delivered him to the jailers until he should pay his debt" (vs 34).
Are we not also confined within the walls of a prison when we refuse to forgive? That prison is a room in your heart, also confining everyone who has ever hurt you--parents, siblings, friends, even your spouse. Jesus is standing there, extending to you a key that will release every inmate...but you would rather turn your back on Him then see Him set your enemies free. You'd rather find another way out for yourself--a way that would leave everyone else locked inside.
"But in trying to escape, you make a startling discovery. There is no way out. You're trapped inside with all the other captives. Your forgiveness, anger, and bitterness have made a prisoner of you as well. Like the servant in Jesus' story, who was forgiven an impossible debt, you have chosen not to forgive and have been handed over to the jailers and torturers. Your freedom is now dependent on your forgiveness."
I believe it is hardest to forgive when we believe it allows someone to get away with it. It makes it harder when the one who hurt you is not even sorry for what they have done. As long as we hold on to our resentment of the person in question, we can dwell on their punishment. But 'forgiveness doesn't absolve anyone of blame. It doesn't clear their record with God. It just clears you of having to worry about how to punish them.' Forgiving someone means you are turning them over to God who promises that vengeance is His and He will repay (Romans12:19). Forgiveness allows you to be free. To let go. It gives you the opportunity to feel God lift the burden. Take it from your shoulders. "It's like a breath of fresh air rushing into your heart."
Great marriages are not created by people who never hurt each other, only by people who choose to keep 'no record of wrongs' (1 Cor. 13:5).
Dare 25: Search inside yourself. Whatever you have not forgiven, forgive today. Let it go. Forgive your debtors. It will make great strides to ensuring a healthy, loving marriage.
Dare 24: Kill lust.
Dare 23: Love protects.
Dare 22: Love your spouse. Period.
Dare 21: Be satisfied in God.
(For previous dares, refer to earlier entries.)
--Inspired by "The Love Dare," Kendrick.