FORGIVENESS is CRUCIAL
Colossians 3:12 & 13 gives us a list of qualities/attitudes we are to “put on” (clothe ourselves with):
Stop a moment to consider what might happen in our homes and marriages if we were to take God’s advice seriously and “clothe” ourselves with these character qualities. What if we “wore” these qualities every time our spouse failed or hurt us? All these attributes are somewhat intertwined; however, for the moment, I want to especially focus on the aspect of forgiveness. Many marriages are gradually eroded and eventually destroyed because one partner is unable (actually unwilling) to forgive the other. Many people are more willing to let go of their marriage than to let go of an offense (or hurt) through forgiveness. An unforgiving person is incapable of developing enduring and intimate relationships. Forgiveness is a key element in a healthy, stable marriage.
We must face the fact that, because we are imperfect human beings (surrounded by other imperfect human beings), there will be occasions when we will be hurt--otherwise there would be no need for forgiveness. The Bible tells us to “... forgive, if ye have ought against any...” Mark 11:25 KJV (“ought” means “anything at all”!) Often we find it easier to forgive a total stranger than to forgive our spouse. It is the people closest to us who are most likely to hurt us – our spouse and family – and they are the ones who most need our forgiveness; if we fail to forgive, we can’t hope to work through the problems that surface daily in our family life. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that we pretend an incident did not happen. Forgiveness involves admitting that someone has hurt us, then choosing to forgive them: “... even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” Col 3:13.
Going back to the other character qualities listed in our verse above:
- the person who forgives is showing mercy;
- the person who forgives is showing kindness;
- the person who forgives is showing humility;
- the person who forgives is showing meekness;
- the person who forgives is longsuffering...
The person who forgives is like Christ.
Forgiveness does not necessarily mean that you will be able to forget the wrong done; forgiveness involves your choice not to hurt the person in return. You choose not to retaliate, not to slight them, not to ignore or shun them, not to offend them, not to let the incident stand between you or hinder your relationship. You choose instead to BLESS them, “ ...even as God, for Christ’s sake, has forgiven you.”
Reminder: The act of forgiveness requires only ONE participant: YOU!
Dr. Graham Abley
ADVANCE Christian Counseling
Graham A. Abley, Ph.D.
690 Callaway Dr. Beaumont, TX 77706 409-860-3907
Providing Christian Faith-Based Counseling in Southeast Texas