by Claudia Duff
When my husband was active duty, he traveled a lot. While he was away it was my job to hold the fort until he got back. That included the financial side of things. Not my jam ladies, not my jam.
On one of these trips, he called home and said, “Hi sweetheart, we have a lot of money in the bank.” My heart skipped a beat and I started planning a trip to T.J. Maxx in my head. His next sentence brought all of that to a halt, quickly. “It’s not our money. Did you mail the checks out like we talked about?”
You see, this was back in the day before mobile banking and apps. You actually had to write a check and mail it, on time. Yep, I kinda forgot that part, the part where you had to do it.
Isn’t that our life with forgiveness in mind? Through the cross, God has given us a storehouse of forgiveness and he fully expects us to pay our debts with it. Yet, we often hold on to it with a grip that is more like a vise.
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times (Matthew 18:21-22 ESV).
Forgiveness often feels like a chore that is so undesirable we consistently put it off (think of laundry and sorting socks). Peter is stating it rather clearly: How many times do I have to do this hard thing so I can start counting down and be done with it? Jesus makes it plain that it has no number.
Sin is with us daily; we live in a fallen world surrounded by fallen people and we are one of those people. We offer forgiveness to ourselves daily because we need it. How much more does our spouse need it? It is an unlimited amount of times because we are needy folk.
But, Jesus has already filled our hearts with a storehouse of forgiveness. Essentially, we have “too much money in the bank and it ain’t ours.” So, what must we do about that? Glad you asked.
I am a retired homeschool momma, so grammar is no longer my second language, and I struggle with correct grammar usage. Much to the horror of those who edit my blogs, sorry! Back in the day when I taught grammar on three different levels every day, I was a stickler with the rules of punctuation. This is how I glean a harvest of forgiveness through punctuation. Trust me, it is awesome!
“and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12 ESV).
How To Forgive and Flourish in Your Marriage:
- FORGIVE. It is a command, just do it. Don’t overthink it because it is not just required, it is expected.
I prayerfully consider the offense and write it down in my prayer journal to make sure I am actually giving a complete and truthful account of the offense.
- FORGIVE? How in the world do you bend your heart to offer the last of yourself to someone who has wounded you? What does that even look like?
I review my prayer journal and begin to ask God through the ministry of the Holy Spirit to show me what that will look like specifically. Sometimes it’s the recitation of a verse or a written prayer. And sometimes it includes me talking with my husband about the offense.
- FORGIVE! Oh, the joy that comes with the freedom of forgiveness. It is every Christian’s super power!
Once I offer up my prayer of forgiveness, I begin to pray for my husband. I pray that I truly love him with a heart of forgiveness. Each time my heart is reminded of the wound, I pray. It is hard to hold a grudge for someone you are consistently praying for. Trust me, I have tried it. But, with forgiveness comes the power to love past the wound and begin to heal. I am better for it and our marriage is made stronger.
I know this sounds too good to be true, but it is. Because of the cross the ridiculous is made real. Our salvation is an ongoing place of growth, glory, and flat-out joy. This life we live is fraught with harm, disappointments, and sadness. The sadness is the worst. Yet our God is so much bigger.
His promises are always yes and amen! We can trust him because he is our redeemer of all things, specifically our sins against one another!
LORD, as we journey through our lives remind us of your unfailing love and forgiveness. Help us gain a heart of courage to forgive those who wound us. Make us know that the cross was brutal because you have already purchased our forgiveness and it overflows our hearts. So, we can offer the same lavish forgiveness to those we love. In Jesus’ name, amen.