Devotion #20

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Matthew 6:14-15 ESV

True forgiveness is a miracle—we may forget over time the hurt of a spouse’s choice to sin, but the ability to truly forgive cannot happen apart from God.

Sadly, this broken world teaches us we should nurse our wounds, we should replay the offense over and over in our heads to remind us of the hurt, we should guard our hearts against the pain of it happening again. When we seek counsel from worldly friends, they justify our angry responses and lead us to make foolish decisions. They encourage our bitterness and revenge, potentially resulting in the destruction of our marriages. 

This lack of forgiveness is toxic to our souls and our relationships, and will not only continue to cause us heartache and pain; it ultimately leads to death. It is only through forgiveness that we find true healing of our broken hearts, and it is where we find freedom and how life is breathed back into our marriages.

But how do we forgive? Many of us know we should forgive, but we don’t understand how to forgive beyond just the saying the words. It begins with the choice to forgive. We must start with the decision to forgive our spouse for the hurt, and in that decision, we make a choice not to bring it up to them, to others, or to ourselves. We choose not to dwell on the hurt, and we choose not to nurse the wound. 

Then we must seek God for that forgiveness. True forgiveness doesn’t happen apart from the supernatural work of the Spirit. We meditate on the mercy and the grace so freely given to us, and through that meditation, we find mercy and grace for our spouses. We allow His Spirit to fill our hearts by spending time in His Word and store that Scripture in our hearts by memorizing it. His Word is living and active, and it has the power to heal even the deepest hurt. Pray with confidence that He will heal your broken heart, and He will restore you.

Know that forgiveness is a process. When the hurt is big, we may fail in the process. Our deceitful hearts will want to take the hurt back—we must be watchful and guard ourselves against the temptation to wallow in the hurt while we’re in the process of forgiveness. The unforgiving heart is full of destructive emotions—bitterness, clamor, wrath. We must be cognizant of our thoughts and take them captive when they take us down a dark path. We choose our thoughts, and when we choose to dwell on past hurt, we are choosing to fill our hearts with these dark emotions. When those thoughts come, we can choose to capture them and make them obedient to Christ by confessing them and releasing them. Then we must make a choice to forgive again. This process may happen several times, but eventually, we will find forgiveness. 

We know we’ve truly forgiven when the darkness in our hearts has been replaced with the fruits of the Spirit—when we can think on our spouses with kindness, gentleness, goodness, we know that we have been visited by His Spirit, and we know our hearts have been healed through forgiveness.

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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