The Marrriage “Punish-her!”

Forgiveness Marriage b

“…forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:13

As a youth, I loved the comic book, ‘The Punisher,” where the superhero was a victim of a severe crime, and his wife and kids were inadvertently killed by the mob. So, he makes it his life’s crusade to affect revenge on all criminals who evade the law. This comic book character now has its own series on a TV subscription service now. Why? This theme is appealing; the criminals deserve the Punisher’s revenge, especially since the law is unable to deal with them because of bribes, cutbacks, and apathy. This pleases our human nature. Payback! Revenge! Justice! Now, put this into a marriage situation, when we get hurt and feel there is no justice what do we do? We “punish her” or him! However, this is not what we are called to do. Revenge is not for us to take. Justice is what God is about in His perfect timing and judgment, and revenge only serves to hurt the offender and the victim. God does not want us to rely on our human nature; rather, to rely on Him.

So, how do we fix our breakdowns and injustices in marriage? God calls us to forgiveness, and it is to be is continual.

If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, `I repent,’ forgive him.” Luke 17:3b-4

For the Hebrew, seventy times seven meant infinity, not just 490, because 490 has a limit. For Christ, there is no point beyond which our accumulation of sins becomes unforgivable. So, when we are hurt by our spouse, our response is to forgive, as there is no cap, or limit, or expiration to forgive. (Now keep in mind this does not apply to abuse. If there is abuse, get out and get help!) As followers of Christ, neither the intensity of, nor the number of wrongs should have an impact on us. If we were to place a limit, then our effect of building relationships would have a chain attached to it, instead of having a chain reaction to grow. With a limit, you cannot grow. We must have the realization and the capacity to understand how much we have been forgiven by Christ in order to forgive each other; this is crucial to the Christian experience.

Forgiveness is the only human force that can stop the disintegration of marriage relationship breakdowns.

As our Lord continues to give us grace and forgiveness, we are to do the same with each other. If not, we show ourselves to be extremely selfish filled with ingratitude and pride. While we are called to practice continual forgiveness!

Out of mistakes we make, or our spouse may cause us, comes our pain, hurt, and resentment. This resentment escalates into animosity, then cause fighting and augmentations and then builds into bitterness, until it destroys your relationship and causes a divorce. This is why forgiveness is so essential. This is why our Lord calls us to forgive. If you have been hurt, or you have hurt, and we all have; then, open your eyes and realize that it is the call of the Christian to dispel these conflicts. Without forgiveness, our growth and maturity with Christ, and our harmony and being “at home” at home, cannot be built.

God’s forgiveness is not some cheap markdown or bargain; His cost was immeasurable.

Paul, in Colossians 3:13, tells us to forgive freely, as Christ has forgiven us. We must be willing to forgive as Christ has forgiven us. We must be willing to bear the cost, just as our Lord did. Forgiveness demands a substitution. So, how could we ever back away from forgiving each other? If we do, it is a bigger insult to our Lord than for the non-Christian to turn his or her back on His grace-because we know better. Remember, knowledge brings responsibility.

So, stop the pride and madness, drop to your knees and ask the Lord’s forgiveness first. Then, go to your spouse in sincerity and truth and ask them to forgive you. But, it does not stop there. You must also stop the silent treatment, the button pushing, the game playing, the bad words, the controlling and whatever rotten fruit comes from the mind of a person who is hurting and or is self-focused and not Christ focused. Place your spouse and family in the position as your true loved ones and follow 1 Corinthians 13. Men are to cherish and protect. Women are to respect, and both remember kindness!

Forgiveness in Marriage PI

forgiven

“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.” Matthew 18:21-22

We can take great comfort in knowing that Jesus is working while we are waiting, and even in anguish. We can best practice forgiveness to our spouse by realizing how much we have been forgiven. We can then be imitators of that forgiveness when we feel wronged willfully or unknowingly that cause us setbacks or harm.

How and why? The magnitude of forgiveness from our Lord for what we have done can never measure up to anything others could do to us. When we put forgiveness into practice, we will be free from the bondage of bitterness and pain that imprisons us, disconnecting us from life and its wonders, which God has provided for us.

            I was watching one of those reality shows recently where a bunch of young people were put into a nice beach house to live and work together. The show is about the drama and strife each one causes the other, and how they “do not” work it out. After all, if they were a big happy family, it would not make good TV, so I am told by a friend in that business. One young woman, in her early twenties, kept making the statement, “I refuse to forgive anyone for anything.” So, in the episode I watched, the attention was centered on how she was alienating everyone in the house. The result was that she ended up alone, hated by the others. She would make a big deal if someone took her cookie, or gave her an objectionable look. She was a very sad and pathetic person, whose self-imposed code of conduct, created out of pride, made it impossible for her to make friends or cooperate with anyone in her life. She could not see that she was the problem; she refused to take any responsibility. In her interviews, she blamed everyone else for her problems. The sad fact is that this is typical behavior amongst many marriages today, even Christians in the church!

As human beings, we are prone to make mistakes, either intentionally or unintentionally. We all have hurt people, and we have all been hurt; we are all in the same boat. So, when we refuse to forgive one another, especially our spouse and loved ones, it is like escaping the disaster of the sinking of the Titanic in a lifeboat, only to poke holes in the very lifeboat that saved us. Our escape from the sinking ship is our redemption, which we did not deserve. Since everyone else in the lifeboat needs the cross too, why try to sink one another? All you will accomplish is to sink yourself and your marriage.

Out of mistakes we make, or our spouse may cause us, comes our pain, hurt, and resentment. This resentment escalates into animosity, then cause fighting and augmentations and then builds into bitterness, until it destroys your relationship and causes a divorce.

This young woman is like many in marriage, she refused to forgive, and built an impenetrable wall that caused bitterness and isolation as she wallowed in her troubles, blaming everyone else for them. She would not allow forgiveness to break down the wall, allowing for the building of life and relationships.

Forgiveness is the only human force that can stop the disintegration of relationship breakdowns.

This is why it is so essential. This is why our Lord calls us to forgive. If you have been hurt, or you have hurt-and we all have-open your eyes and realize that it is the call of the Christian to dispel these conflicts. Without forgiveness, our growth and maturity with Christ, and our harmony and being “at home” at home, cannot be built.