“We are never more like God than when we forgive,” it’s been said. When Jacob was forgiven by his brother Esau for his theft and dishonesty, Jacob told him, “Seeing your face is like seeing the face of God” (Genesis 33:10).
That’s why in marriage forgiveness is a core essential. No family relationship will survive without it. Grudges kill closeness. Bitterness ends intimacy. Judgment destroys unity.
But mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13).
To forgive doesn’t mean that what was done was OK. It doesn’t mean that the pain from the hurt is healed. Forgiveness is the cancellation of a debt. It is a decision to say:
1. I forgive you.
2. I won’t do anything to retaliate against you.
3. You don’t have anything to make up to me.
Forgiveness frees the forgiven from having to live with the burden of making up for what they did. Forgiveness frees the forgiver from the burden of needing something from the one who hurt them. When the debt is maintained nothing can be received as an act of love. The love of the one who hurt will only be seen as an effort to get back to the black.
C. S. Lewis revealed our tendencies when he wrote, “Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have something to forgive.”
What has your spouse done that you have not forgiven? What would be the positive results from cancelling that debt today?