Practicing Forgiveness

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It can be difficult for me to practice forgiveness at times.

Much to the frustration of my husband.

I knew it was coming yesterday - the need to forgive someone. I didn't know when it would come. I didn't know why I would need to forgive, but I knew it was coming.

How did I know?

Maybe because I'm a sinful human who is in relationship with many other sinful humans. Maybe because I'm married, and it seems we apologize and forgive on a regular basis. Maybe because work can be stressful and frustrating.

Any of those reasons would make sense. But really, it was the radio. Yup, the radio. I did a good amount of driving yesterday to get to and from a meeting a couple of hours and a time zone away. Being alone in the car gives me lots of time to think, pray and listen to the radio. Yesterday the Christian radio station I frequent played lots of songs about forgiveness and even featured a message about forgiveness. You'd think that's a pretty normal thing for a Christian radio station - to play songs about forgiveness. And it is normal; it just seemed like there were more played yesterday. I've noticed when a certain topic comes up a strange amount of times in media during the day, I'm probably going to have to deal with it in real life sooner or later. Maybe it's God's way of telling me to be alert and aware, preparing me for the coming situation.

And come it does, just like yesterday. I returned home from my meetings and was spending time with my husband - and it happened. Maybe you know it, too. The argument about silly things we never should argue about in the first place. The argument that causes us to yell at each other. The argument that makes you say things you don't mean. The argument that includes so much finger pointing you'd think you grew an extra hand. The argument that brings up the past and assumes (usually wrongly) about the future. The argument where you use way too much accusatory language. Basically, you're breaking every "how to fight fair" rule in the book.

Then come the words you think you want to hear, "I'm sorry." You think throughout the course of the fight that "I'm sorry" is all you want to hear, and you'll be done with it. But then you hear the words. Now you have a decision to make.

To forgive or not forgive...

As Christians, the easy answer is "Duh, we always forgive." Well, we should forgive, anyway. It's biblical. God wants us to forgive each other. Why? It's pretty simple, really. Because we mess up our relationship with Him and He forgives us. Because God shows us love and mercy when we least deserve it. Because God gave his Son over to be killed so we wouldn't have to spend eternity apart from Him. Because God. Bottom line. Christians forgive each other because God forgives us. Christian wives and husbands forgive each other because God forgives them.

"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." Colossians 3:13

This Christian wife forgives her husband because God has forgiven me (and He knows I need LOTS of it), God has forgiven my husband, and I love God more than my husband. As strange as that may sound, it's a good thing. When my motivation for forgiving my husband comes from loving my God more than him (and remembering that God has forgiven me at my worst), it makes it so much easier to forgive. I'm so blessed to have a husband who sees the value of saying, "I forgive you" and meaning it. An apology followed by, "It's okay" doesn't cut it at our house. We try to forgive freely, as God forgives us, and for that I am incredibly grateful!
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