In this week leading up to Easter, it seems fitting to talk about forgiveness. After all, Jesus died for our sins so that we would be forgiven and have a relationship with God.
So, why do you need to forgive your spouse? (Find out by clicking on the title to read the complete post.)
So, why do you need to forgive your spouse?
In short, it is so that you can have a healthy relationship with him or her in the same way that God forgiving you allows you to be closer to him.
Unforgiveness leads to bitterness, which can lead to frustration and anger, which may ultimately lead to contempt, the leading indicator that a marriage will fail. Unforgiveness works underneath the surface to destroy a marriage (or any relationship).
Forgiveness is so important that Jesus said:
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. (Matthew 6:14-15)
This is a very strong statement about forgiveness. So, if you don’t want to forgive your spouse because it will heal a broken area in your marriage, at least forgive so that God will also forgive you, or so that your unforgiveness won’t keep God from forgiving you.
Marriage is two imperfect people living in a committed relationship, loving each other through their imperfections. Because we are imperfect, we are going to make mistakes. We are going to hurt each other. So, we need to extend a lot of grace…favor we don’t deserve. Forgiveness.
Jesus expects us to forgive a lot:
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my [spouse] 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 could take this literally and keep a tally of how many times we are to forgive our spouse, but I believe what Jesus is saying is that we must forgive as often as an offense occurs. Jesus commanded us to love each other and forgiveness is one of the ways we love each other. Jesus knew that people would hurt each other often, so forgiveness would be needed many times to maintain a loving relationship.
Think about where you have not forgiven your spouse? Who is being affected more by unforgiveness? Chances are high that it’s not your spouse! Take time to reflect on where you have not forgiven your spouse or where you need to ask your spouse to forgive you. Make a list.
Forgive and seek forgiveness today to get on the path to improving or restoring your marriage health.
Note: Scripture verses are from the New International Version, unless otherwise indicated.