“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but
Two [HUSBAND AND WIFE] can stand back-to-back and conquer.
Three [WITH GOD AT THE CENTER] are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
When you read this scripture and look at this picture below, do you agree with it? How can you apply this to your marriage?
Ecclesiastes 4:12 is a fundamental scripture that can be applied to marriages for the importance of teamwork, not only for husband and wife but also with God in the mix.
As we talk about forgiveness, it is critical to realize that without God working within us individually and in our marriage, we will stay in the crazy cycle of conflict.
Lesson 5 and 6 focused on this Principle: Extend Grace and Forgiveness.
There’s that word again…If you have not noticed yet there is a running theme, Grace is a central driver in any good marriage. This week was the practical application of how Grace is expressed through forgiveness.
In Matthew 18:21-22 (NASB), Jesus is teaching about The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant…
Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”
What does Jesus’ response mean to you and your marriage? Do you think that He meant you only need to forgive your spouse up to 490 offenses or something else? There are 3 things to gleam from this…
1. Peter wanted to know ‘how many’ times until he could stop forgiving someone but
2. Jesus is more concerned with the ‘why’ behind forgiveness.
3. “Jesus is saying: Don’t keep track. Don’t keep score.”
The why can be summed up with this Andy Stanley
“The one who benefits the most from forgiveness is the one who grants it.”
Do you believe that? If you do believe that there is a benefit to forgiving, then why is it so hard? Lesson 5 was all about Forgiveness, in the book, the main idea of Lesson 5 was:
“You have been forgiven everything by God’s Grace; therefore, you are able to forgive your spouse.”
I love the definition they gave on What forgiveness is…
“At its most basic level, forgiveness is the decision to pardon an offense and give up the right to be repaid.”
In the reading they discussed “What Forgiveness is Not.”
- Forgiveness is not forgetting.
“Rather than forgetting, forgiveness is remembering your commitment to forgive. It often is a choice you will continue to make when not if the feelings of hurt and disappointment return.”
- Forgiveness is not reconciling.
“Reconciliation and forgiveness are two separate processes. You can forgive without reconciling, but you cannot reconcile without forgiveness. Forgiveness is instant, but trust will take time to rebuild.”
- Forgiveness is not condoning.
“It simply means that they no longer owe anything for the pain and hurt they have caused you.”
- Forgiveness is not a feeling.
“If you wait until you feel like forgiving, you never will and you won’t re-engage with your spouse and experienced a death depth and richness that your marriage can one day half. Forgiveness is a choice you make, sometimes in spite of how you feel.”
- Forgiveness is not just about the person who hurt you.
“Forgiveness has limited benefit to the one who caused pain. But the longer you hold onto the hurt the longer their actions continue to have negative effects in your life.”
“Forgiveness primarily benefits you, the one who has been hurt. It really is a gift you give to yourself.”
What I have learned going through this book is that our childhood can have an effect on our marriage in how we interact with our spouse. I had posted ★ Thought for the Day – Never Fatherless ★ earlier about my father that you can see here, but I wanted to share this story with you in more detail.
I never really had a relationship with my father from the age of 12 years old. I carried that hole in my life until I was 36, when God placed it on my heart to reconcile with him.
Just like we have been talking about, I had to choose to forgive him for the abuse I witnessed against my mom and choose to forgive the hurt of all the subsequent years of him not wanting to be in my life. Though we had no relationship for most of my adult life, I am thankful that before he passed away, we reconciled and had a year and a half together.
The best part is that through God’s amazing grace, I was privileged to lead my father to the Lord 6 months before he died! He is in heaven but that probably would not have happened if I was not obedient to God to forgive my Dad and extend God’s Grace to Him.
Colossians 3:13 (NLT) says:
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”
The reading made this great point that we need to always remember!
“We had a debt to God that we could not pay. Christ forgives us completely, yet we have the audacity to not forgive our spouses.”
Is it difficult to forgive your spouse? Do you struggle with this? I love this what the Lesson 5 gave as the two options we have.
“Each day you stand at a fork in the road of your relationship.
Your first option is to hold onto the hurt, disappointment and frustrations, which will almost always lead to anger and bitterness. This is a dead-end that will make you miserable.
Your other option is to begin to forgive and re-engage with your spouse. Left untreated, anger and bitterness often take on a life of their own.”
Do you see that as being true in your marriage?
“When we forgive and are forgiven by our spouse it helps us understand the nature of God’s forgiveness.”
In the book they made this statement:
“Your relationship with Christ and your marriage simply cannot move forward without forgiveness.”
Ephesians 4:31-32 (NLT) says
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
And Matthew 6:14-15 (NLT) says:
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
So if we are commanded to forgive, and we don’t, there will be consequences, we will not be forgiven. Assuming no one wants those consequences, check out the next post from Lesson 6 called ★ Re|Engage – Forgiveness In Action ★
If you want to read previous re|engage lessons click here…