Forgiveness is a term we’re all familiar with, but it’s likely the most underused tool in our toolbox. In fact, if you’re married, you probably need to be using your God-tool of forgiveness well over a dozen times a day!
This multi-faceted tool is how we handle imperfections—our spouses and our own. It’s also how we keep our heart uncluttered and available to God, downshifting our anger so we can have needed conversations without too much emotion getting in the way.
Forgiveness is an intentional and voluntary internal process where you experience a change in feelings regarding a hurt. The result of forgiveness is freedom. You’re free from being controlled by the negative emotions surrounding whatever it was that happened and hurt you.
Forgiveness is NOT letting someone off the hook. It’s letting them off your hook, but handing the hook to God.
Forgiveness is NOT condoning. If you forgive, it doesn’t say that what happened was okay.
Forgiveness is NOT excusing. The person being forgiven is still responsible for their action.
Forgiveness is NOT forgetting. The action did happen and is a part of the fabric of the relationship.
Forgiveness is NOT being quiet. You may choose to forgive and not say anything or you may choose to address it with your spouse. However, if you’ve already made the choice to forgive, you’ll have a much better chance of your conversation going well and not being fueled by emotion, should you choose to address it.
Forgiveness, however, is almost always a crisis of the will. We never feel like forgiving. However, a feeling of relief almost always follows obedience when we do forgive. That’s because forgiveness is really about cleaning out the clutter in our soul, our mind, and our heart so they can all be fully available to God. Forgiveness requires us to trust that God is who He says He is and that He has this!
God wants us to know and experience His forgiveness and to extend it to others. Too often we think forgiveness is only needed for the big infractions of trust. Not so. This is a tool you and I need to use day by day, hour by hour, and on the tough days of marriage, minute by minute.
‘Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.’ Ephesians 4:32
What about you? Where do you need to use your God-tool of forgiveness?