This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure page for more information.
Forgiveness has become a somewhat touchy subject in our society.
As we become more and more individualistic- focusing on ourselves rather than others, looking out for own interests, protecting our hearts at all costs- we become less likely to forgive those who hurt us.
It has become the celebrated norm to walk away as soon as someone hurts you.
Leaving makes you tough and independent, staying makes you weak and needy.
As is so often the case, however, we, as Christians, are called to live differently. When Peter asks Jesus how often he is to forgive someone, the answer he gets is “seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22).
We read that and think, really?! Seventy times seven is a lot of forgiveness!
But that’s nothing compared to the forgiveness offered to us through the self-sacrificial love of Jesus Christ.
Here are some painful facts for you:
People are going to hurt and betray you. And people who love you very much will likely be the ones to cause the deepest wounds. Don’t believe me? Take a few minutes and read about Jesus’ last hours. Betrayed by Judas, denied three times by Peter, abandoned by His disciples. The crowds chanting: “Crucify Him!” If anyone had the right to walk away and say, “Forget all of you! You don’t deserve me!” it was Jesus. But He didn’t. He stayed to offer His life in exchange for our salvation.
Another painful fact:
Your husband is a sinful, fallible human who will likely inflict some of the deepest hurts you will ever experience in your life, mainly because he is closest to your heart. And guess what.. You will likely do the same to him.
That all sounds pretty bleak, right? So what can we do?
We can strive to forgive as Jesus forgives.
Next time you’re hurt by something your husband (or anyone else in your life) does, big or small, and you’re tempted to withhold forgiveness, think about all the times you’ve sinned and all the pain you’ve caused Jesus and remember that He still loves you, so much so that He died for you.
Remember that He has forgiven you and continues to forgive you.
Think about how it would feel if you went to Him asking for forgiveness and He replied, “Nope, sorry, you’ve run out of chances. I’m out of here.”
Remembering those simple truths may just be enough to change your heart in those difficult moments.
Keep in mind that Jesus’ forgiveness did come with caveats: To be repentant of our sins (Acts 3:9) and to change our lives once we are forgiven (think: “Go and sin no more” [John 8:11]).
If your spouse is abusive or unfaithful, additional steps (such as counseling and ensuring your safety) will likely need to be taken to address those issues.
Your forgiveness is not an open invitation for him to continue mistreating you, just as Jesus’ forgiveness is not an open invitation for us to continue in our sinful ways.
I sometimes struggle with forgiveness. I heard someone say once, “I’m a brooder and a brooder broods.” This is a pretty good description of me when something is bothering me.
My husband, on the other hand, is incredibly free with his forgiveness. He doesn’t dwell on things or bring them up over and over again. When he forgives, he forgives fully as if it never happened in the first place. Each and every time he does this, I’m grateful and, at the same time, all too aware of how much I need to change in this area.
By freely giving forgiveness, you will be a blessing to your loved ones!
Now I’d love to hear from you about handling forgiveness in marriage! What things help you to forgive during difficult times?