When my husband has offended me or hurt me, I often find his apology not enough. A belief that burns within me that his words do not warrant forgiveness because his level of emotion does not meet my level of hurt.
If I’m hurt by something he has said or done, then I expect him to also be sad and show much emotion with his apologetic words.
Can you identify with this desire of mine? It’s in these moments that we struggle to show gracious forgiveness.
And then one day, God began to teach me about gracious forgiveness. After a challenging season in marriage, there was no way that my husband could meet my level of hurt. The wounds were deep. My husband had been suffering from depression, and he could barely remember his full name much less the previous months of difficulty.
It was here that God began this new work of gracious forgiveness.
We find the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:21-22. “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
This communicates that we are to forgive again and again.
God gives unmerited favor, but I expect people to earn their favor in my life. Unfortunately, that’s not loving like Christ.
Gracious forgiveness is about our heart, not about my husband’s emotional response to my pain. Gracious forgiveness is not dependent on what I receive from my husband, but instead what I receive from Christ and then offer to my spouse.
Gracious forgiveness is endless. God doesn’t forgive one sin and not the other. All sins are washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ. Knowing that I am forgiven today, tomorrow, and each time my heart cries out to God for forgiveness, He graciously offers it to me. Freely receive, freely give Scripture says. Gracious forgiveness is about offering forgiveness over and over and over again.
Wife Step: Reflect and identify an unforgiving spirit that is continuing to resurface. Commit to yourself, to Christ, and to your husband that from this day forward when that ugliness arises in your heart, you are choosing to ask God to bring healing into your heart and make you a gracious forgiver. Ask God to help you become a gracious forgiver!
Karen lives in Madison, Alabama with her husband and three children. Karen has served as Preschool and Children’s Pastor and has been involved in women’s ministry for many years leading small groups, making hospital visits, organizing retreats, and encouraging the hearts of women. Karen now blogs at Glimpses of Faith and Struggles. What started out as a way to communicate medical facts has become a place where Karen uses life experiences to encourage others in their life journey. When she’s not busy caring for her family or writing, you might find her cooking or crafting.
Be the first to comment