February 13, 2007
Forgive and Forget
“God forgave all our sins. He canceled the debt, which listed all the rules we failed to follow. He took away that record with its rules and nailed it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13-14 (NCV)
Friend to Friend
There are many uncertainties in marriage, but one thing is sure; we will hurt our husbands and our husbands will hurt us. How we handle that hurt determines the health of our marriage.
The story is told of a little boy shopping with his mom at the mall. He did well for the first few minutes but soon grew tired of following his mother into stores that were of no interest to him at all. He began to whine and cry, hoping that she would take him home. When that didn’t work, he threw a tantrum, complete with screaming, yelling and a mad dash for the nearest exit. It worked! Stuffing a crumpled shopping list into her purse, the little boy’s mother grabbed his hand and headed for the parking lot. He was thrilled, anticipating the freedom so close at hand. But as they drove home in tense silence, the realization that he was in serious trouble began to settle around his anxious heart and mind. In an attempt to placate his mother the little boy asked, “Mom, when you do something wrong it’s a sin - right?” A stiff nod was his answer. “Mom, my teacher at church said that God loves us even when we do wrong things. That’s right isn’t it?” With an angry glance, his mother answered, “Yes, son. That is right.” He was onto something here – she spoke! “Mom, my teacher says that when we say we are sorry for the wrong things we do and ask God to forgive us, He takes those wrong things and throws them into the sea. Isn’t that neat, Mom?” Through slightly clenched teeth came the answer, “Yes, son. God does love us and forgives us for every wrong thing we do.” Several silent moments passed and with a sigh, the little boy surrendered. “Mom, I told God I am sorry for the way I acted at the mall and asked Him to throw those wrong things into the deepest ocean He could find. But I have a feeling that when we get home, you’re gonna go fishing in that ocean!”
Part of true forgiveness is releasing the hurt and choosing to let go of the pain! To truly forgive means that we “quit fishing” in the emotional waters of our past!
I love super-glue and use it for just about everything! Not too long ago I was trying to repair the broken saucer of a miniature tea set. With my trusty super-glue, I went to work, gluing the pieces of the saucer together and holding them in place for the recommended thirty seconds - only to discover that I had glued my finger to the saucer! Because I frequently use super-glue, I keep an adequate supply of super-glue dissolver. As I worked to free my finger from the saucer, I was reminded that forgiveness extremely important to my marriage. When I refuse to allow my husband to get past his past, it is as if I am “gluing” him to his mistakes. Tightly clutching the hurt, I refuse to see Dan as more than something he has done. Instead, the forgiveness of God compels us to separate the sinner from his sin.
Notice that God never says we have to feel like forgiving. Honestly, our feelings are irrelevant and untrustworthy. Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a choice. Forgiveness is an independent act between us and God, totally separate from the response or reaction of the person we are forgiving. We are not responsible for their response. They are! God is! But when we hold on to the hurt we are refusing to truly forgive and become a hindrance to God working in their lives.
It’s time to forgive.
It’s time to let go of the hurt!
Lord, I confess to you that I have been hurt and angry about things that my husband has done in the past. Right now, I choose to forgive him and lay down my attitude of revenge. Will you please forgive me and heal the broken parts of our marriage? I trust you to make our marriage a living illustration of your forgiving love. Amen.
Now it's Your Turn
List three of the hurts that you have been unwilling to forgive.
Pray through each one, choosing to forgive and let go of the hurt.
Thank God for the precious gift of forgiveness that He made possible by His death on the cross.
More from the girls
Honestly, there are times that I don’t want to forgive the person who has hurt me. I want to see them endure the same pain they have inflicted. The desire for revenge is not only sin, it is dangerous. Revenge eats away at your spirit and spills out into every part of your life. Let that person go! Release the hurt! Forgive them and set yourself free!
For more on this topic see Mary’s CD, The Power of Forgiveness.
Girlfriends in God, Inc.
Originally published Tuesday, 13 February 2007.