Unforgiveness. It kills relationships every time. It’s so sad to watch relationships splinter and die because of an unwillingness to forgive, and what’s even more heartbreaking is to see followers of Christ practice unforgiveness! God tells us in His Word over and over again that we must forgive others, especially if they have repented (meaning that they have apologized and have turned away from that particular sin).
Forgiving others who have sinned against us is a major theme of the New Testament, and God doesn’t just make forgiveness a “suggestion”. It’s a command! Here are some examples:
Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Matthew 18:21-22 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
I think one of the reasons God is so adamant that we forgive others is because he knows it destroys relationships. However, another big reason he commands forgiveness is because unforgiveness is really rooted in pride and self-righteousness, and God hates those two things! Proverbs 16:5 “The LORD detests all the proud of heart.”
Maybe it’s time for all of us to check our heart toward others who have offended us or sinned against us. Are we acting like we are way better than that other person? Are we refusing to accept their apology because they “don’t deserve our forgiveness”? Are we unintentionally aligning with Satan’s plan to destroy relationships by harboring pride and unforgiveness in our hearts? Just something to ponder with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Do you keep replaying your husband’s past mistakes over and over again in your mind? Do you find yourself dwelling on how he’s disappointed you in the past? Let it go! Thoughts like that become toxic…to you and your marriage. Hebrews 12:15 makes this point: “See to it that no bitter root grows up among you to cause trouble and defile many.” If you keep rehearsing your husband’s past failures, you will end up growing more and more resentful of your husband. The resulting bitterness acts like poison to your own heart. You become a dried up, miserable woman.
Even more damage is caused when you verbalize those past mistakes to your husband. Yet many wives do that. They repeatedly bring up their man’s past mistakes and almost wield them as a weapon against their husband. His heart gets sliced and diced in the process. His heart becomes poisoned against his wife as well.
It’s time to decide to release your husband from his past failures. The Bible is pretty clear about your need to release bitterness and resentment. Ephesians 4:31 says “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger…” Sochoose to exercise the same grace God has given you!! News flash: You’re not perfect either. By the way, releasing your man from his past mistakes doesn’t mean you should ignore current sin. If he is currently sinning against you, determine to respectfully confront him and work through the problem, perhaps with the help of a counselor or pastor.
I wonder what would happen if you asked God to transform your character into His character and then you actually began striving to display His character in your marriage? I bet your marriage would begin to thrive!
God describes His own character in Psalm 103:8, where the Bible says “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” Even just pressing into one of those 4 qualities could make a huge impact in your marriage. What if you started displaying grace toward your man? Grace simply means giving someone undeserved favor and loving kindness.
I’m not saying you should ignore destructive patterns of sin in your husband’s life. However, I am recommending that you work to extend kindness to your husband even when they’ve annoyed you or disappointed you in small ways. In fact, what if you were to extend grace by choosing to believe that he didn’t mean to disappoint you? What if you were to give him the benefit of the doubt? Extending that kind of grace could change your whole attitude toward your husband…and could draw his heart toward you!
Perhaps, we could sum it up this way. The appreciated wife leaves a fragrance, not an odor!
When’s the last time you said it? You probably think I’m asking about the last time you told your husband “I love you”, but that’s not where I’m leading. My question is this: When is the last time you admitted to your husband that you were wrong? We like to pretend as if we’re never “wrong”, but that’s not only prideful, it’s not true!
Think about it. Have you been disrespectful toward your husband by rolling your eyes or by using cutting sarcasm? Have you given him the look that basically says “you’re a jerk” or “you disgust me”? Have you been stressed or frustrated about something unrelated to him and lashed out at your husband because he happened to be present? (I’ve done that more than a few times! Ugh.)
If you want to be even more beautiful to your husband, be humble and admit when you are out of line or just plain wrong. You might believe that confessing your wrongs will put you in a weak position in your marriage, but the opposite is true. Proverbs 28:13 says “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Oh, and by the way, instead of simply saying “I’m sorry”, go a step further in humility by saying “I was wrong. Please forgive me.”