February is known as the month of love. True love is not just a connection with someone whether it be romantic or family. True love is not someone who agrees with you all the time, and likes all the same things you do.
Not because they deserve it, but because you truly love them.
In Ephesians 4:32 Paul writes,
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
What’s Love Got To Do With It?
When you think of forgiveness, some of you may remember the line from the old Tina Turner song, “What’s love got to do with it?” Our world has distorted the true meaning of love.
Love is not simply a sexual desire for someone else. Sexual intimacy and emotional intimacy in a marriage relationship is possible, because forgiveness is able to clean out the dirt of bitterness, the ravages of rage, scrape away the hurt, and smooth out the rough edges of wrong.
In a marriage or a serious committed relationship, love takes work and time. Time for it to grow. However, a relationship with your parents, siblings, or friends takes time and work too. It is a different kind of love for family and friends, but the same principles guide us.
After being married a few years, I was bitter and resentful of the way my husband treated me. By the world’s standards I had every right to be mad. He was not living up to my expectations and standards. Yet, he had expectations and standards for me as well.
The first chapter of a book I read, took a hold of my calloused, cold heart, and made me realize something valuable. When I started reading The Power Of A Praying Wife by Stormie Omaritian (Pronounced O-Mart-y-an), I had no idea how God was going to move in my life. This book left a mark on my heart.
One verse can turn your heart around. This verse hit me between the eyes was Ephesians 4:32: “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
I realized I was completely forgiven by my Savior for my long list of hideous sins, but who am I not to forgive my husband when he hurts my feelings, or acts like a jerk to me? Who am I not to forgive when he irritates me? Who am I not to forgive when he leaves everything lying around the house?
Forgive All Day Long
Yes, he is responsible for his actions, and I am responsible for mine. I can’t be his Holy Spirit, and he can’t be mine. Walking around mad and bitter all the time does not make for a healthy relationship. So I started forgiving him for every sock left on the floor, for everything left on the kitchen counter, or for not helping me when I thought he should.
You know what happened when I started to forgive? The hard exterior shell of anger, bitterness, and built up resentment melted little by little. I was able to have a better relationship with him. I was able to see him as God sees him, a dearly loved child of God. My relationship with God became sweeter, because I let go of the pain in my marriage and asked Him to help me.
Most women probably want to throw the book against the wall after reading the first chapter. Who wants to be told to forgive first, and pray for your husband when you are hurting and mad? I can understand the frustration, but this is how God designed marriage and relationships to work. When you and I work on us first, He is able to work in the lives of our husband, children, family and friends.
You must stay out of God’s way. Let Him work in the heart of your husband or children. He can do a much better job of working in their hearts than you can by nagging or arguing with them.
Forgiveness Does Not Mean:
Forgiveness does not mean my husband does not have to be responsible, help me around the house, or be kind to me. It means when he fails, I am to forgive him NO matter WHAT. God’s mercy is endless. I can draw from God’s well of mercy to be able to forgive my husband when he hurts me or lets me down. God freely forgives me when I confess my sins to him. He ask me to do the same.
Is this easy for me? No! Do I still get hurt and angry? Of course, I do. I am human with deep feelings. There are times I have my pity party or get angry, and ask God to help me calm down to a place I can truly forgive. My husband does not always ask for forgiveness. I freely give it, because God freely forgives me when I mess up!
Forgiveness does not mean there are not consequences for the person hurting you. If you stab someone with a knife, it is going to hurt, take time to heal, and possibly leave a scar. Your hurtful words in anger or spitefulness can do the same things to others. They hurt, it takes time to heal, and can leave an emotional scar.
However, if you seek forgiveness from God and the person you hurt, you can help the healing process. Wounds heal and the pain from scars will fade. Yet asking for forgiveness does not always make everything okay.
Forgiveness does not always mean reconciliation. If you are in a committed relationship, yes, you need to find a way to reconcile. However, with friends and extended family members, sometimes forgiveness means I am not going to harbor bitterness and pain for what you did to me, but I am not going to be in a relationship with you anymore either.
Forgiveness is FREEDOM FOR YOU! When you truly forgive others, you set yourself free from the chains of bitterness and anger. You are able to fill your heart with love for people who are worth your time to love and care for.
Some people are toxic and not good for you. Some may have abused you in some way. You forgive so you can live in freedom. God will serve them justice. It is our job to forgive. It is God’s job to be just.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves,
but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written,
Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
~ Romans 12:19 KJV ~
Forgiveness is a choice. Choose to forgive, then you can choose to live in freedom. A clean heart is able to love deeply.
What verse or passage has
spoken to your heart the most?
Please share in the comments below.
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