It’s time for another marriage miracle story. This month I’m passing along some truths that will move you closer to receiving your marriage miracle.
In my marriage, miracles happened as I determined to forgive my husband as the Lord had forgiven me–no matter what he had done to hurt me. In her book, Or For Worse: Loving Your Husband Through Hard Times by Emma Chambers, Emma had a hard time forgiving her husband. Here is an excerpt from her book, which helped me in my struggle to forgive. I pray it will help you as well.
May your miracle come as you embrace forgiveness. What a miracle it is that the Lord forgave us and died for us. Let’s pass that miracle along to our spouses and everyone else in our lives.
Remove Roadblocks to Unforgiveness by Emma Chambers
In my marriage, I knew it was wrong to be unforgiving, and yet I still engaged in it. As I prayed, God revealed seven myths I believed which prevented the flow of forgiveness through me to my husband. As I let go of these, I moved on in the forgiveness process.
Myth #1: I must wait for my husband to say, “I’m sorry.”
I have wasted a lot of time rehashing the wrongs Randy has done to me trying to coerce an apology from him. As God has dealt with me, I’ve become determined to forgive without “ifs” attached–“If he says ‘I’m sorry,’ and if I decide he really is, then I will forgive.” Jesus forgave while He hung on the cross. (See Luke 23:34) None of the soldiers that were putting him to death said, “I’m really sorry for what we’re doing to you.” Yet He said, “Father, forgive them…”
Myth #2: I must feel like forgiving.
Forgiveness is a choice of the will. Sometimes the choice to forgive Randy has been followed by positive feelings. Other times I’ve battled feeling hurt for quite a while. I’ve learned that no matter how I feel, I will determine to maintain a forgiving attitude. Reaching out and blessing even when I don’t feel like it is sign that I’m doing this.
Myth #3 Certain things should never be forgiven.
There are no sins Randy has committed against me that are too big to forgive since God has called me to, “Forgive as the Lord forgave you,” (Colossians 3: 13) and He is One “who forgives all your sins,” (Psalm 103:3) At times I try to convince myself that there are divine exceptions when it comes to forgiveness. If I choose to hold back forgiveness for these “exceptions,” I have been the one to suffer. I see that often more suffering happens because a person refuses to forgive than because of the the wrongs done to us. Someone has said, “Bitterness is the poison you drink thinking it will kill another person.”
Myth #4 Saying “I forgive” means, “What he did isn’t wrong.”
Saying, “I forgive you,” doesn’t mean Randy is released from the truth that he did wrong. It means he is released from me seeking vengeance for that wrong-doing. True forgiveness means I leave the justice up to the Lord as Jesus did. “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23)
Myth #5 Unforgiveness will force my husband to change.
I’ve learned that staying angry is not what motivates my husband to stop hurting me. It’s certainly not the tactic God uses to get us to turn away from our sins. In fact, the Bible says that, “God’s kindness leads you toward repentance.” (Romans 2:4) What gets people to change and have sorrowful hearts concerning what they’ve done is for us to be kind and generous—even when they don’t deserve it. Joseph did this with his brothers who had sold him into slavery. (See Genesis 50:15-21) His kindness and mercy had a life-changing impact on them.
Myth # 6: Unforgiveness will protect me from further hurt.
In former days it was my habit to try to build a wall of bitterness to keep from being hurt again. Unfortunately, this wall also kept me from getting close to Randy and to the Lord. As I have let God protect me, He has been faithful to do so. “He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings shall you trust and find refuge…You shall not be afraid of the terror of the night, nor of the arrow (the evil plots and slanders of the wicked) that flies by day.” (Psalm 91:4-5 AMP)
Myth #7: Unforgiveness Makes Me Stronger
When I meet women whom others label as “strong women,” I notice that sometimes they are also bitter. Instead of saying they have strong hearts, I have to realize what they have are hardened hearts. Years of holding on to unforgiveness has hardened them, so that they can lose their sense of compassion and tenderness. I confess I have been at that place. I want to be strong as the Lord defines it—someone who is able to resist temptation, especially the temptation to hold on to unforgiveness. Once I let it go, I notice that real strength can be displayed in my life.
Sometimes these myths—these lies from the enemy—come back and wrap themselves around my heart. It is through prayer and asking God for a willing heart that I’m able to come back to the place of forgiveness. Meditating on the mercy of Christ helps me to keep from having a bitter heart in my marriage and to forgive my husband as He has forgiven me.