As a continuation from the last post, to achieve the full benefit and freedom, forgiveness is more than just saying you’re sorry or hearing the other person say it. If you are asking for forgiveness, the other person’s response doesn’t matter. You can’t control what they do, and they may not be ready to forgive. Your responsibility is to ask with a genuine heart. (Click on the title to read more.)
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:3,4)
Before you ask for forgiveness, I suggest you seek it from God. He gives it willingly and if you’ve accepted Jesus, it’s already been done for you. You still need to ask and receive it. You’ll also want to forgive yourself, which is sometimes the hardest part, especially when the offense caused a lot of pain.
One effective approach to forgiveness comes from the book Relactional Leadership, by Ford Taylor. When you need to talk to your spouse about something that is sensitive, this four step approach helps to put you in an open frame of mind, making it easier to have the conversation and reducing the chances of defensive reactions.
Ford Taylor also suggests an approach for a complete apology that is very effective when used consistently. When you have offended your spouse, take immediate action to apologize so that it does not cause division between you, or at least keeps it from lasting. Follow the “Six Step Apology:”
Ford has told me that if couples implement this approach, along with other concepts in his book, it transforms their relationship. Give it a try and see what happens!
Note: Scripture verses are from the New International Version, unless otherwise indicated.