Marriage Advice

Broken Trust Requires Forgiveness

I hear it all the time, “I will NEVER forgive that person for what they did to me. I trusted them and they made me look like a fool. I will never give them another chance to stab me in the back again.”

Betray my trust once, shame on you. Betray me twice, shame on me!

You have heard it too. Forgiveness is not even an option. Or is it?

There are only two kinds of people who do not need to forgive. The first are the people who have never failed anyone in any way.  Once you can verify that you have never needed forgiveness from anyone in your entire life, you are one of the two kinds of people who do not need to forgive someone else. The second are those who have reached a level of performance that they will never need forgiveness in the future! You see, if you refuse someone your forgiveness today, you are cutting yourself off from receiving forgiveness sometime in the far distant future when you will need it for yourself.

Forgiveness is something you cannot offer yourself!

If you harm someone, you must go to that person and ask for forgiveness from them. The one that is hurt is the ONLY person who can forgive you. You can’t just go to your best friend and ask him to forgive you in place of getting forgiveness from the one you harmed. It doesn’t work that way. When you offend God, you can’t just forgive yourself for an offense against His will for you. You can’t ignore it. It won’t just disappear. You can’t get it from someone else because only the one you have offended can forgive. And even more important; God said that if you refuse to forgive others, He will refuse to forgive you! (Matthew 6:12)

Forgiveness looks and sounds like weakness.

“Getting even” seems like it might be more satisfying than forgiving.  Getting “the pound of flesh” that is coming to me seems strangely attractive. We just don’t even want to think about being hurt again. Forgiveness is the farthest thing from our minds. “Forgiveness is the same as giving up, isn’t it?”  Giving up is for cowards and losers.

Forgiveness is like the red blood cells that move through you body.

Every part of your body needs to be touched by those red blood cells that flow through your arteries and veins. Those red corpuscles carry food and oxygen to each cell from your brain to your toes. If you run short of those blood cells in your blood stream, your entire body begins to shut down and die. Your muscles (like your heart muscle) cannot get enough oxygen to keep working. Your digestive system needs those cells to work like “pickup trucks” to carry food to each and every part of the body. With fewer delivery vehicles everyone starts to starve. The same “delivery trucks” that carried the food also took away the trash. So, the garbage begins to build up in your system and poisons everything. The brain slowly goes dark because your heart may still be beating, but there is no life being brought to your head. Things start shutting down.

Forgiveness is the life blood of love.

I could say that you promised to forgive at the very same time you promised to love your spouse.  It is very true. You might say, “My spouse had not done anything that needed my forgiveness when we got married. How can you say I agreed to forgive when we said our vows?”  When we promise to love, we must agree to forgive, without hesitation and without delay. We all understand that we will fail to do the right things for each other.  We will forget to do the most important things and we will do the things we promised not to do. Forgiveness for those failings is part of love.  It is a very important part of love. In fact, you cannot claim to love without an attitude of forgiveness toward those you love! To stop forgiving is to break your vow to love. Anger at your marriage partner shows that you have “cut off the flow” of forgiveness. Resentments that drag on and on, day after day are the “cells of our marriage” shutting down and dying.  The only way to revive your relationship is to remember your promise to love and to forgive.

Maybe you need a transfusion of forgiveness to revive your marriage.

Photo credit: Mr. Thomas licensed under Creative Commons

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *