I know it hurts. It hurts so bad we don’t want to forgive. The pain is unbearable at times and all we really want to do is get revenge, or keep wallowing in the pain that our feelings give us and remain resentful and angry. This is such a common problem in marriage today, so I feel it is worth more than rubies and gold to keep writing about it.
I sometimes wonder if “living in our feelings” is just another form of addiction. I mean, I remember very well when I would rather feel resentful and treat my husband with contempt rather than work on forgiving. I did not know what I was supposed to do to get out of the rut of unforgiveness, so I lingered in it for years. I was so used to feeling bitter and resentful that I actually thought it was normal. But it is not normal, and let me tell you why.
If we don’t grow out from our selfish feelings and forgive, we will never fully know God. But if God created us then why would we not have a growing, loving, and personal relationship with Him? Something major in our lives would be missing; we certainly would not be whole people without our Source, right? How could we ever learn to love others in the proper ways if we do not know God? Forgiveness is love and Christ dying for us is that forgiveness!
In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (Hebrews 9:22 NIV)
By going to God and admitting our own sins and need for Christ’s forgiveness that is what helps us to understand what forgiveness really is and why it is so important in our lives. We have to admit that we ourselves need forgiveness before we can accept it, and that takes faith in Jesus Christ. If we don’t believe that Christ can forgive us, then we are living in denial about forgiveness. That means we are in denial about Christ. You can truly forgive others if you first repent of your sins and ask Jesus for forgiveness, and He will renew your heart and mind.
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires, to be made new in the attitude of your minds, and to put on the new self, created to be like God (Christ-like) in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22,23 NIV)
True forgiveness involves a change in your attitude – a renewal of your heart and mind. That renewal is the Power of the Holy Spirit working on your heart. Only God can turn a unforgiving, bitter heart into a forgiving one. We cannot buy forgiveness or love and we cannot deceive ourselves by believing we have already been forgiven when we haven’t. Only Through Christ’s love for us can we forgive others.
When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me all of this ability so that on everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
Peter Answered “May your money parish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see you are full of bitterness and captive to sin. Acts 8: 18-23 NIV