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Layers of Forgiveness – Karen Smith

October 10, 2018

Layers of Forgiveness

We’ve talked before about the difficulty offering forgiveness when our husband’s level of emotion does not meet our level of hurt.


In Matthew 18:21-22, we find these words. “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.”  


Jesus wasn’t making the point to tally up how many times you’ve forgiven. His point was that forgiveness is continual.  In other words, it doesn’t matter how many times our husband wrongs us; our job is to forgive him continually. Gracious forgiveness is continual. (Please note – if you are being abused emotionally, verbally, physically, sexually, or spiritually, there is a very different message you need to hear, and this is best heard through a counselor. Please contact a Christian Counselor and get help today).


Have you ever peeled a garlic clove? It’s painful peeling back layer after layer until you get down to what we know as the clove. I could do without all those layers on that garlic. They are a pain to peel.  However, to get to the garlic, those layers have to be removed. The same is true of forgiveness. There are layers upon layers of forgiveness that we have to extend to our spouse, to get to that point of forgiveness.


Same Hurt Same Response

Not only is gracious forgiveness continual, gracious forgiveness is also repetitive.


When we are wounded, it is typically not a one-time apology and all negative feelings are erased.  More often than not, those negative feelings creep in later and surface.


Gracious forgiveness occurs each time that yucky feeling arises, and we take that negative feeling to our heavenly Father by asking Him to bring healing into our hearts and erase the bitterness.  


Your sweet (or maybe not so sweet) husband is not the healer of your broken heart.  That’s God’s job to bring healing to your heart.


Gracious forgiveness happens one layer at a time.  Unfortunately, there may be seven times seventy-seven layers of the same hurt. However, with each time that pain is exposed, gracious forgiveness takes our pain to the Father for healing.


If we are faithful to extend forgiveness each time that yucky feeling of bitterness arises in our heart, eventually we will get to the place of complete forgiveness, and those yucky feelings will no longer appear.  


We can be faithfully diligent to capture our bitterness and anger and allow God to bring His healing.  As we are faithful, each layer of pain begins to be healed. As our hearts heal, gracious forgiveness comes easily.  Today friends, I rarely revert to bitterness and anger towards my husband because of past pain. It was not an easy process, but neither is living in bitterness and anger easy.  


Wife Step:  Evaluate your relationship with your spouse.  Is there something that he has done in the past that you continue to return to in frustration and anger?  Give that hurt to God today and ask Him to begin to heal that wound in your heart so that you can graciously forgive.  Be faithful each time that pain arises, instead of reacting, take that pain to God and pray the prayer I prayed above. Personalize it and make it your prayer.  


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.


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