I recently finished reading the book, Real Marriage: Seeing the Soul, by Dr. Tammy Smith. In Chapter 9 she writes, “It’s a jolting reality, though, that if we claim the name of Christ in our marriage, forgiveness must be a readily discernable, regular part of that union.” (Click on the title to read the full post.)
She shared a perspective that I had never thought about before. Jesus forgave the ones crucifying him while they were doing it, not after he was over it or had “worked through it.”
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13)
We are instructed to forgive as God forgives us. So, that means that we are to forgive before we are ready and we are to forgive everything. We may not want to, but if we are to follow the directive from Jesus and his model, we must.
Dr. Smith writes, “People who hold grudges, remember offenses in minute detail, and refuse to forgive are harsh. Even when they try to behave otherwise, you can feel it. Bitterness. Sarcasm. Tension. Not peaceful. To have a truly peace-filled marriage, we must forgive. To reap continual tension and frustration, refuse to let your spouse ‘off the hook.’ Forgiveness is about releasing a person to God.”
God is bigger than any hurt caused by your spouse. The question is whether you will trust him to handle it. When you do, you release yourself from the bondage of unforgiveness.
Unforgiveness and unresolved tension are undercurrents in marriage working against a healthy relationship. If you don’t give forgiveness, resentment will build to the point where you can’t see past it and your marriage enters crisis. I urge you not to let it get to that point. The choice is yours.
Note: Scripture verses are from the New International Version, unless otherwise indicated.