Monday, June 6, 2016

Making a Christian Marriage #4

by Betty Jackson

What About Forgiveness

During his ministry, Jesus taught his disciples about forgiveness. On one occasion Peter asked the Lord, “‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’”  The response of the Lord was, “‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’”  Now, does that mean you need to keep count, and on that 490th time, that is it? Of course not. The Lord was using figurative language. He went on to teach the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. (See: Matthew 18:23-34).

In this parable the king (representing God) forgave a servant of a debt that he would never be able to pay. But that servant failed to have patience with a fellow who owed him much less money. He took him by the throat, then had him put in prison. When the king found out about this, he punished the unmerciful servant.

The application of this story was “‘My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart’” (vs. 35). 

Paul gave this command, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).

The marriage relationship requires a forgiving spirit. The woman who is a grudge-holder will only tear her relationship apart. The wise woman will build up her house, but the foolish will only tear it down (Proverbs 14:1).

Does the spirit of kindness and forgiveness mean that one will endure any kind of treatment, sin or abuse? Of course not. The adulterer can be divorced for his sin (Matthew 19:9, Mark 10:11-12). The contentious in the church brings isolation upon themselves (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15; Titus 3:10). However, there will be plenty of times that forgiveness is necessary to move on to a better relationship.

We live in an imperfect world, and we all are part of the reason! If one does not fully appreciate the forgiveness of sins through the blood of Christ (Ephesians 1:-6-8), it will be difficult to forgive others. 

Can you think of any time in your life that you have been forgiven for something you did that hurt or damaged another? How did you feel when you knew you were forgiven? Surely there was relief, and a sense of humble appreciation. 

There are so many important challenges with which to cope that we simply must learn to not “sweat the small stuff.” Again, that doesn’t mean one ignores chronic problems. But the big problems can be magnified if one treats every single infraction as a major sin. Pick the right battles to work through. Don’t keep score of how many times your mate forgot to do something or if he isn’t as thoughtful as you would like. Learn to think ahead about how to righteously deal with situations.

Think about this verse: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, But the mouth of fools spouts folly” (Proverbs 15:1-2).

In Ephesians 5:1-2, Paul instructs us to “walk in love.” This is that “agape-love.” It is a decision of the will. We can choose to walk in this kind of love, or keep our heads in the clouds waiting for that Hollywood love. That kind of “love” doesn’t last. It can’t endure through hard times of health crises or death of loved ones, etc.  It is primarily a fleshly infatuation that is mostly self-centered.

Let’s practice soft speaking when we are irritated, choosing the right words at the right time. Timing is everything. Don’t begin a heavy problem conversation when your mate is worn out and distracted by other burdens. 

Gaining the kind of love a woman craves is done by being a woman approved by God, with the godly characteristics described in the Scriptures. The Bible is the “How To Book” for wives. Remember that we were created to be helpers for our mates. We must learn how to be that helper, with a gentle and tranquil spirit. By doing so we will not only be precious in the sight of God, but to our husbands. (See: 1 Peter 3:1-6; Proverbs 31:28-29.)

Consider this: 

Read 1 Peter 3:1-6 at least twice this coming week. 
Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.” (NASV)

Try this:

Think about the issues you may have in your marriage. Even if you have a good marriage, consider any improvements you can make in yourself that will bring greater happiness to your husband, thus to yourself.

Do This:

Go to Click “Original Language Tools” in the bar towards the top of the page. Type 1 Peter 3:1-6 in the box that comes up. Each verse will appear in the New American Standard Version. You will see the Greek version of the verse below the English. Click on the following English words one at a time: behavior, gentle, quiet, and precious. That will highlight the Greek word. Write each of those words, with their meanings, on a piece of paper.   

Choose one area to work on this week. If you are a nervous person, calm yourself through prayer and meditation upon the Scriptures. If you tend to be loud when you are upset, try to speak with more quiet gentleness. Think about Jesus, the tenderhearted Son of God.

Pray for your mate. Pray that you will be able to help him in his efforts to serve the Lord. Express thanksgiving for the forgiveness of your sins.

  1. Define forgiveness.
  2. Must one overlook every sin a mate might commit against his wife?
  3. How do you think one can grow to be a more forgiving person?
  4. Read Matthew 5:7. How could this verse be applied in marriage?
  5. Pray for a more forgiving heart.
Recommended Reading 

Jackson,Wayne. Three Dimensions of Love.
Jackson, Wayne. Understanding Forgiveness.                       

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