Forgive for the Right Reason
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
One of the greatest dangers to any marriage is unforgiveness. Without the commitment to forgive and wipe the slate clean on a daily basis, a person’s heart becomes hardened and cynical. Think about how a couple can go from being so in love, standing in front of a preacher getting married, to being so bitter, standing in front of a judge going through an angry divorce. How does it happen? One drop of unforgiveness at a time!
According to Ephesians 4, unforgiveness is an open door for the devil. He uses unresolved anger to accuse your spouse to you. Literally, the person you once were so tender and positive toward now becomes the person you are cynical and hardened toward. Unforgiveness destroys intimacy and passion in the relationship. You end up being withdrawn, sarcastic and negative. These are danger signs of a heart hardened by the accumulating effects of unresolved anger and bitterness.
Forgiving a person simply means that you release them from your judgment concerning a wrong they have done to you. It also means you will in no way punish them for wrongs done but will love them as though they had not done them. It doesn’t mean you should not lovingly confront your spouse and talk your problems out. It just means that regardless of your spouse’s response, you are going to make sure your heart remains pure.
The ultimate reason we forgive is that God has forgiven us. He forgave us when we didn’t deserve it and even died on the cross to make our relationship with Him right. Also, Jesus tells us clearly in the gospels that we cannot be forgiven by God if we will not forgive. Even if we think we are justified in our unforgiveness, He offers no exceptions. The penalties for unforgiveness are severe here on earth and in eternity.
Decide to forgive. Don’t let the devil use hurts and problems to infect your heart with his lies. Go before God and do some heart housecleaning if you realize unforgiveness affects you. He will be merciful and gracious to you and once you are finished you will be more like Him.
Talk It Out | Take a few minutes to talk about any issues of unforgiveness between you. It may be something as small as not picking up your dirty socks or forgetting to pay a bill, or it may be a more serious issue. Whatever the case, if one of you became angry with the other, it’s best to talk it out rather than let that anger build. Choose to forgive, and speak words of forgiveness and blessing to each other.
Walk It Out | Commit to praying together each night before you go to sleep. This is a foolproof way to keep unforgiveness and anger from building up between you.