So, some of you may know that my husband and I have entered into counseling. We’ve only had two sessions but we think a lot has been accomplished. There have definitely been ups and downs, but we are both seemingly committed to the Lord and to reconciliation…or are we?
On this journey so far, I have sinfully felt that I’m the one who knows it all. What could my newly saved husband possibly teach me? I’ve been a believer for, like, ever. I’m the one who’s been attending church without him, who’s been dedicated to seeking more ways to serve the Lord and my church, who’s made friends and networked (a small feat within itself…at least for me). I’m the one who’s been studying the Bible, seeking counsel, and striving to be a godly wife and mother. How is it, then, that I missed something? I mean not just any something, but something big.
I’ve struggled with forgiveness for a while now. I want to forgive my husband, but I just haven’t been able to muster it up. I’ve prayed for it, but nothing’s happened. A few days ago my husband and I had a conversation about forgiveness in lieu of a pamphlet we were given to read for counseling “homework”. Note that we both read it. But somehow I missed the page that talked about forgiveness. So when my husband told ME that it’s an action first not a feeling, I indignantly retorted that he was wrong and that I couldn’t just say the words “I forgive you”. I had to “FEEL” like I forgive him. I mean, HELLO, Husband, where have you been? Right? Umm, no.
After a little more research into this subject, I have found a lot of things out about forgiveness.
1. Forgiveness is a command from God (Luke 11:4).
2. Forgiving someone doesn’t necessarily mean we forget but more that we don’t make the offender continue to suffer the consequences of his/her sin.
3. Not obeying the command to forgive is blatantly not trusting in the Lord. He gives us this command because by obeying His command (and all of them) we will be blessed.
4. Forgiveness is the only way to reconcile. Reconciliation helps the offender experience God’s grace practically through the healing of a relationship. It also is for the benefit of God’s church, unity, fellowship, ministry, and holiness (Matt. 18:18-20)
So, the issue is not really will I or can I forgive my husband. The question REALLY is, “do I trust God?”. How much do I trust Him? And why or how does my newbie husband trust Him more than I do? What is he doing that I’m not? How offended the Lord must be that I’m not trusting Him in this way! I am not only not trusting God to bless me, but I’m also sinning even more by hindering the physical view of God’s grace. How can my husband see the Lord in me if I have no grace or forgiveness for him? How is my unforgiveness affecting the body of Christ?
So, it seems, I have a lot to work on. My comfort comes from the Lord. He will change my heart. He will give me the strength to obey His commands. He will help me to trust Him more and strengthen my faith. I think, as Christians, we all have trust issues with the Lord. We all have something in our lives that we haven’t handed over, that we don’t trust to the Lord. I just want to remember that whatever it is in my life (in this case forgiveness), it’s never a matter of can I or will I obey. It’s a matter of trusting our Savior who has already suffered every trial and already obeyed every command above and beyond what we will ever be able to do. If I love the Lord, I will obey. Does that mean it’s easy? Absolutely not! Scary? Probably (definitely in my case). Worth it? Well, God is good…all the time.