GOOD MORNING! God has lead me to start a new little segment of the marriage devotion on forgiveness.
As I mentioned on yesterday's post, though we are called as believers to forgive, forgiveness can be a process. Sometimes, our hearts are completely ready to forgive and move past the transgression; other times, our hearts may be willing and ready to forgive but have been badly wounded. Your heart may need time to heal. Forgiveness does not always mean immediate reconciliation of the relationship.
Here is the MAJOR thing to remember, if it truly forgiveness, your heart will remain on the journey to heal. You will long to have your heart feel whole again in order to reconcile the relationship in your marriage. There are times I have been "stuck" in a stage of forgiveness because I have not felt my husband's repentance or apology was truly authentic. Though, we are called to forgive even when the transgressor is not repentant, this can make working through the process of forgiveness extremely difficult.
It is only by the power of Christ within you, that you can find the strength to push forward to forgiving.
And sometimes, your spouses apology may be authentic, but your heart is longing for true signs of this as a self protection This is the thing we all have to remember, God was able to forgive our repented sins and cast them into the sea where He will remember them no more. We as humans cannot do this. Though we can choose to forgive, we cannot forget, no matter how hard we try.
There were times along this journey with Garrick that my heart would begin to heal a bit and my negative and bad memories began being replaced with good ones again, but then in the throws of addiction, he would hurt me again and the bad memories would come back like a damaging flood. I would have to start the process of forgiveness all over again.
Keep this in mind, especially when you are the one seeking forgiveness from your spouse; a truly repentant heart is not going to use a believers call to forgive as a weapon of manipulation. A truly repentant person will not make the person they sinned against feel guilty or pushed into forgiving them. They will humbly ask for forgiveness and wait patiently and lovingly for the person to work through the process of forgiving.
When you have sinned against your spouse, or anyone for that matter, even if forgiveness is granted, there may still be negative consequences from the sin. There were times I could extend forgiveness but my heart was badly wounded. This was a consequence and repercussion of the sin. Forgiveness does not mean a wiping out of all consequences.
There may be times when you feel the transgression was way to big and hurtful to extend forgiveness. I have been there, however, it is Christ IN me that eventually softens my heart and helps me to begin the process of forgiving.
This leads me, finally, LOL to our scripture for this week,
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, the new has come." 2 Corinthians 5:17
If you have accepted Christ into your heart.... you are a NEW creation. The person you once were died when Christ entered your heart, the old has passed away. This is what it means to be "in" Christ Jesus. He is now a part of you. He lives in you, therefore, your heart will begin to think like His heart. That is the goal of Christianity. Therefore, even though I may be badly hurt and struggling to forgive, in my heart, I will know that is what I am called to do and I will diligently seek to get there with Christ's strength and power.
This is how people are able to forgive what the world would deem as unforgivable. It is not in my own strength and heart that I am able to do it. Left to my old flesh, there is a very good chance, my marriage may have ended.
This ability to forgive, when you accept Christ into your heart, will be a witness and testimony to the world of God's grace and mercy. It will demonstrate to the world that God has the power to heal, redeem and restore anything with a willing and obedient heart.
As we push through the next few weeks, we will continue to work through the process of forgiveness. If you are struggling with forgiving in your marriage or any relationship for that matter, may your journey to healing, begin today.
Peace and Blessings