Today’s Christian Woman
When we only forgive in the absence of painful emotions, its meaning is lost. If we wait to stop feeling angry, we rob forgiveness of its value. In contrast, when we say with vulnerable honesty, “I am hurt, I love you, and I forgive you,” our relationships grow in depth and strength.
Choosing to quickly forgive shouldn’t be mistaken with pretending we aren’t disappointed or upset. It is not an excuse to ignore problems or to refuse to take responsibility for unhealthy patterns within our marriages. Instead, it puts conflict within boundaries. It provides a space to work things out and it refuses to let the issue infect the rest of the relationship. Choosing to quickly forgive recognizes the point at which it is time to move forward. It means that we do not withhold affection or kindness from our spouses as a form of passive-aggressive resentment. We do not sulk or complain to our friends. It means that even if sorting through a problem takes months of hard work, we will continue to love each other well in the midst of that work. We will not wait until we “feel like it” before we choose to extend grace. It means that in the heat of the moment, we breathe deeply and remember how we have been forgiven through the Cross.
Why forgiveness matters
Scripture offers of a picture of forgiveness that is intentional. Multiple times it instructs us to make mending broken relationships a priority, urging us to stop other activities in order to address conflict. It is in the lingering that damage occurs. Withholding forgiveness until we feel better becomes poison in our marriages; and it looks nothing like the love we have been shown.
This is one of those moments when loving someone is hard. Perhaps we believe we are right. Maybe he has not apologized, or he apologized quickly and we had little time to fester. Maybe we doubt that he truly understood our reasons for being upset, or we don’t want to admit that we might be wrong. And at the end of the day, being mad feels good.