How to forgive your spouse

The cliche - To forgive and forget is one that is easier to say than to apply. If you are engaged or married, you will be offended several times in your relationship as such, the subject of forgiveness will come up quite a lot in your marriage.

Every one who is the offender wants to be forgiven. At the same time, the offended is usually reluctant to forgive especially if it appears to the offended that the offender has not learnt any lesson from the ordeal.

When I was growing up, I remember the bible story where Peter asked Jesus how many times we must forgive. And Jesus’ response to him was seventy times seven times (Matthew 18:21-35) and he went on to give the parable on forgiveness.

Yoh!!! (is a South African expression similar to the Nigerian expression of Chai!!!) - 490 times? That is a lot of forgiveness oh!

Here are a few myths about staying mad.

  • Staying mad protects you from further mistreatment.
  • Staying mad makes the offender feel more ashamed and guilty
  • Forgiveness requires that the offender must be punished or repent first
  • You have to wait until you feel ready before you forgive

Forgiveness is not saying "I was right you are wrong”.
Forgiveness is not about pardoning someone - only God can pardon someone

Forgiveness is a RELEASE - tweet that

6 Identities of unforgiveness

  • Unforgiveness always keeps score -Like the prodigal son in Luke 15:29 where he said “Look! These many years I have served you”. There are times I may be having a misunderstanding with my wife and I will bring up stuff that happened even while we were courting.

    This is strong evidence that I hadn’t forgiven the issue. The issue may not even be bothering my wife, she may have probably forgotten that issue - however it would be eating at me.
     
  • Unforgiveness always boasts of its own record.
     
  • Unforgiveness always complains.
     
  • Unforgiveness has a martyr syndrome. 
     
  • Unforgiveness always alienates, divides and separates. Maybe you consciously avoid your spouse who may have hurt you and you stay far away from them as possible; you don’t talk to the person, you eat your meals in a separate room. I think it’s time to forgive that person.
  • Unforgiveness is always envious and jealous when someone who you are angry at gets blessed. I am particularly guilty of this one.  If someone that has offended me gets a blessing or something good happens to the person like a promotion, salary increase, a better job opportunity, has a baby, travels safely - I used to be livid. Why should that person get blessed?

Forgiveness is NOT a feeling - It’s a DECISION - tweet that.

How then do I forgive your spouse?

  • Decide - I tried the method of “waiting till I feel like forgiving”. This may be you - "I feel like I can absolutely NOT forgive my husband at this time, due to how severe the situation is and how hurt I still am".

    The truth is, that time when you will feel like forgiving may never come. You may never forgive if you are waiting until you feel like it. Start by deciding to obey God’s word by choosing to forgive. 

    When you have made that quality decision, God will heal your emotions and your hurt in due time.
     
  • Trust - Trust in the power of the Holy Spirit. Trust me, it is very difficult trying to do that on your own. You will definitely need that power of the Holy Spirit to forgive those who have hurt you.
     
  • Obey God’s word - Here are a few scriptures from the bible about forgiveness.
But I say to all of you who will listen to me: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who treat you badly. - Luke 6:27-28 (PHILLIPS)

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. - Ephesians 4:32 (ESV)
And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop. - Mark 11:25 (AMP)

Question: What are some hindrances to forgiveness?

Resources: