Encouragement for Today:
“A Filing System for Faults” – Part 1
Sharon Jaynes, Vice President of Proverbs 31 Radio, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
2 Corinthians 2:10-11, “... I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” (NIV)
C.S. Lewis once said, “Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have something to forgive.” I wholeheartedly agree. Forgiveness can be especially difficult when the man who has promised to love and cherish you all the days of your life is the one who hurt you. But what is more difficult is to have the marriage of your dreams without it.
Sarah and Randy were Christians. They served in the church working with the youth and had led various Bible studies through the years. Yet, when Sarah discovered that Randy had become addicted to watching pornographic videos and viewing it on the Internet, she could not have been more crushed than if a Mack truck appeared out of nowhere and run over her heart. What does a wife do in this situation? What would you do? What did Sarah do? How does a woman forgive in her marriage after such a betrayal?
In no way do I want us to think that forgiveness means turning a blind eye to a problem that needs attention. Pornography, alcoholism, drug abuse, and a plethora of other addictions must be addressed and dealt with for any marriage to survive and thrive. A wife is not doing her husband any favors by allowing such behavior to continue. To ignore such behavior is to enable sin to deposit droplets of poison into a man’s soul. Yet unforgiveness is a spider that will suck the very lifeblood from your relationship if it is not dealt with.
One of the greatest steps of faith occurred when Sarah decided to forgive and trust him again. Was it difficult? You bet. Was it impossible? Not through Christ. Satan does a happy dance when we are wronged, but he throws an all-out celebration when we don’t forgive. He knows that as long as we hold a grudge, our earthly example of Christ and the church (our marriage) will be marred and we will never experience the oneness God intended.
Only God is fully aware of the destructive potential of unforgiveness to tear a marriage apart. Unforgiven offense by unforgiven offense, brick by brick, walls are built that separate husbands and wives emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Perhaps you are unsure if you're holding onto unforgiveness. Perhaps it has been there so long that it feels at home in your heart and you don’t even realize it’s there.
What do you do with a wounded heart? I can assure you that amputation is not the answer. I know of no one who would amputate an injured leg or arm without first trying every conceivable means to bring about healing. Why then do we readily amputate our marriages? Amputation may not be divorce, but a cutting off emotionally from the other person. For many couples, forgiveness is the first step to bringing life back into the marriage.
The word “forgiveness” in Greek is aphieme, and it means “to let go from one’s power, possession, to let go free, let escape.” It means to take someone off your hook and place them on God’s hook. It’s a decision and not a feeling. Does forgiveness mean that we are saying what the person did was not wrong after all? Quite the contrary. It means we are letting them go free regardless of the offense. It’s an act of grace – giving a gift that is undeserved, just as Christ forgave us of our sins though we were undeserving of His great love. Forgiveness has little to do with what was done to us, but much to do with what we choose to do with it. I believe it is the ultimate expression of love.
My Prayer for Today:
Lord, I lift up to you today any injustices done to me by my husband or others. If there is unforgiveness stored up in my heart that I am unaware of, or that I have chosen not to let go of, I pray that you would expose its destructive potential in my life and marriage. In Jesus’ name, Amen
If you are holding on to an offense, consider cutting the person free. Make a list of ten things that God has forgiven you for as a reminder of the grace that has been extended to you.
Consider writing the following as a prayer of forgiveness:
Dear God, today I choose to forgive____ for _____. No longer do I hold this offense against him or her. This is an act of obedience and I pray that you, Oh Lord, will supply the feelings. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Perhaps God has brought to mind someone that you have offended and you are the one who needs to ask for forgiveness. Pray as David did, “Search me O God and see if there is any wicked way in me.”
Is there someone I need to forgive?
Is there someone whom I need to ask to forgive me?
Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” (NIV)
2 Corinthians 2:5a, 6-8, “If anyone has caused grief…The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.” (NIV)
Matthew 6:12, “And forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.” (NLT)
Becoming the Woman of His Dreams, by Sharon Jaynes
We Need to Talk, by Robert and Rosemary Barnes
The Ultimate Makeover, by Sharon Jaynes
Originally published Thursday, 04 August 2005.