Marriage – it has so much meaning and very difficult to describe. Sometimes it’s beautiful, sometimes it has moments of joy and sometimes there’s pain. Every marriage requires work. Taking the time to get to know your spouse, to love and nurture them. To honor and cherish and so much more.
When we come into a place of disagreement, sometimes it can be really hard not to be angry or bitter about the situation. My husband and I have our struggles, like any marriage. My struggle is, I often have a difficult time forgiving when I’ve been hurt. I tend to hold onto that grudge for a few days and sometimes longer.
But then I read this passage from 2 Cor. 2:1-5 and it gave me a new perspective on how to see my marriage and general relationships.
For I made up my mind not to make another painful visit to you. For if I cause you pain, who is there to make me glad but the one whom I have pained? And I wrote as I did, so that when I came I might not suffer pain from those who should have made me rejoice, for I felt sure of all of you, that my joy would be the joy of you all. For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.
Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. 9 For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.
After praying about how to be more forgiving, sometimes you can forgive but it doesn’t mean you have to continue to agree with their behavior but communicate with them how it hurts but also show love by encouraging them and supporting them in hopes that they will take the next step. Never expect them to change because only they can decide this.
The other day, I sat in the car driving with my husband. I forgot what exactly bought up this conversation but then I remember to go ahead and just say, “I forgive you.” The moment I said this, I watched my husband and his expression. I saw him sigh of relief and his shoulders drop down a bit.
It occurred to me at the moment how important it was just to say that. My unforgivness was not helping our marriage. I caught myself feeling remorse not saying this before! My husband needed to hear this in order to feel supported. To forgive means to pardon but not necessarily to overlook.
I realize now that the burden of unforgivness isn’t worth carrying around. It hurts relationships more. When Paul wrote this, he completely understood how important it was. He acknowledged someone was hurting others in the church and needed to be confronted. But he also reminded them to forgive and show love and support through encouragement. People don’t intentionally always hurt others and find themselves in a desperate place when people don’t forgive. It leaves room for the enemy to come in and destroy relationships.
I have personally hurt people more than I desire to admit and when they rejected or ignored me without working to forgive or even encourage, it becomes more of a burden rather than desiring to better myself. People who forgive, love and encourage are the ones who make me fight another day to try again. Unfrogivness doesn’t have to be a burden and it’s a cycle that CAN be broken.
Prayer: God, I ask that you continue to speak this truth in me about how to forgive one another. To not hold grudges, anger and bitterness when someone hurts me. I pray that you will continue to show me what it means to love and encourage instead. To support people when they are struggling too. I pray you help me through this cycle of unfrogivness to a point where it’s so easy to forgive others. I pray for your patience as I seek your wisdom. Help me to better understand your character and nature so I can become more and more like you everyday. Forgive me for not being the best I could be but thank you for giving me another chance everyday to try again. In Jesus’ name. Amen.