This past Thursday, I went to my Ladies Bible study and posed a question about forgiveness. It has come to my attention that I struggle to let hurts and situations go. I’ve also noticed others who have endured numerous betrayals and abandonments in their lives forgive their perpetrators more easily than I forgive small offenses from others. I was hoping the ladies in my church could tell me how God has helped them to forgive.
While I was explaining my situation, I told them that sometimes I think I have forgiven someone only to have his or her offense towards me pop back into my mind and make me angry all over again. One of the ladies giggled and said, “You need a pop up blocker!” It was a silly, and yet, completely profound statement.
So that led me to the question, “What would block unforgiveness from jumping back into my heart?” It has become apparent to me that I am not able to truly forgive under my own power. Another lady in my Bible study spoke up and said, “You have to keep the cross between you and that person.” So, long story short, the cross of Christ is our pop up blocker.
Before you write that last statement off as being trite or cliché, let me explain further.
When I have looked at people who have hurt me through objective eyes, I’ve come to realize that I will never have to give them as much forgiveness as Christ has given to me (Matthew 18:21-35). Jesus, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God, took my sin on himself and died in my place to pay my debt. How then can I feel justified in withholding forgiveness from others? Looking at those who have hurt me or made me angry through those lenses is incredibly humbling. So, instead of flippantly saying that I forgive someone, I now ask God to give me the grace and ability to forgive. When the offense pops back into my mind, I remember to keep the cross between me and that person.
Forgiveness is a huge part of marriage. Those who forgive well will have more peaceful marriages than those who hold anger inside and brood. We are all human and fail constantly. If both people in the relationship are good forgivers, issues will be resolved quickly and anger won’t linger or turn into bitterness.
Not only is forgiving each other a huge part of marriage, but forgiving those outside of your marriage will also affect your relationship. My husband can attest to the fact that when I am angry towards someone (and relentlessly fussing about it), my attitude and body language infuses his haven of rest with an unpleasant odor instead of a sweet smelling aroma. No one wants to live in a turbulent home and having a lifestyle of unforgiveness will rob your home of its peace.
Before you marry, ask God to help you forgive others – deeply, completely, and permanently. Ask Him to point you to scriptures that remind you of the grace He’s extended to you. Ask Him to help you understand the weight of your sin so that you can also understand the awesome grace He’s given to you. In short, get a pop up blocker for your life.
Also notice your boyfriend/girlfriend’s approach to forgiveness. Does he or she have a hard time letting go of anger? See if he or she is taking steps to grow in this area. None of us are perfect, so none of us will be perfect forgivers (it is only by God’s grace); but, it is important that he or she realizes his or her need for a softer heart and a more forgiving spirit. Spending a lifetime with someone who refuses to forgive will be a nightmare; but, sharing life with someone who gracefully forgives will be a blessing indeed!
For what issues will you use your pop up blocker?