Isaiah tells us, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'” Isaiah 55:8-9
Ask yourself this question: How do I handle forgiveness?
How do you respond when your spouse forgives you? What do you do with opportunities that our Lord has for you?
To get forgiveness to work, we must realize the generosity of Grace, and being in Christ, which we do not deserve. Our Lord does not want us to forgive begrudgingly, because, He did not forgive us with conditions, or with strings attached. A Christian that does not forgive is like a small child who refuses to share a game ball that he/she received as a gift. Thus, the child will not be able to play with that ball as it was designed to be used. That child will not be using it to its full potential, nor will there by any fun with it. When we do not forgive in marriage, we distort the relationship. We are like the child who, unable to play a game because they refuse to share the ball, cries that they is alone and nobody will play with them, or, cries because they are not having any fun. Can you see this connection in your home?
Without forgiveness, we forfeit our relationship with who is to be most important to us, and, we are unable to ‘play’ our marriage correctly and lovingly. We just end up cheating ourselves out of our potential, and the best plan that Christ has for us.
Yes, Forgiveness is Hard
True forgiveness is one of the hardest things to accomplish in the human experience, even for the mature Christian. This is why most marriages are struggling. As we get hurt and we then become the hurters, we become a self-imprisoned victim of the escalation of that hurt that could have been stopped by just, I forgive you, and then letting it go!
Forgiveness is our mandate, and call, in life, in church, and in marriage. Yes, this is hard because it demands a surrender of our ‘perceived’ right to get even. Forgiveness even causes upset for the person who was wronged, the victim. Because we feel that the suffering, from our perspective and reasoning, should belong to the other person in the wrong. So, it is natural to consider this unfair. And, yes, it is unfair; as it was unfair for our Lord to go through what He did to forgive us!
But, once the forgiveness is given and received, the hurt can stop and relationship can continue and prosper.
Forgiveness is hard, because we can easily avoid it; we can walk the other way, and execute revenge. Take our hurts and turn them into weapons of hurt. And, it would be considered justified in the eyes of our friends, our relatives, and, especially of society. We could even receive some kind of honor for coming up with a good scheme of revenge.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…”
This passage is telling us that our way of thinking is wrong. If God is the Creator of all things, including Truth, and He is all knowing, and He is all-powerful, then, His ways are better than ours. We may not be able to recognize this, because our perspective is limited, as is our knowledge and insight as well as our foresight that this is a better plan.
When we look to Christ, consider that He is governed by righteousness; whereas, desires and emotions drive us. God has a moral and virtuous purpose; our purpose is self-seeking. He wants the escalation of hurt to stop that is why there is forgiveness.
God’s primary purpose in marriage is to create an environment to grow spiritually, emotionally, relationally to one another and to Him. So, to bring us out of our self-destructive and self-seeking nature, and into the reclamation of redemption in Him; this is the work of Christ. This is the work of His forgiveness to us that He wants us to play forward with our spouse and others.
So next time you have trouble forgiving, remember that God’s thoughts are beyond our comprehension and imagination; therefore, we should rely on Him, and not on ourselves.
(For ongoing hurt, any abuse or dysfunction, please see a qualified counselor. If you feel you are in danger, get out, contact the police.)