Learning How to Forgive

I have read some of your advice articles at CWO and was wondering if you could share some of your insights regarding my situation.

I truly embraced my heart for the Lord around age 23. I started going to an evangelical church and was surrounded by some of the most genuine people I have ever met. I met my husband there and we were constantly serving at the church or spending time in small group or worshipping. Just before we were married in 2004, we moved for work and were excited to attend my husband’s former–much larger church.

From the moment I set foot in that church, my spiritual life and my fire for the Lord started to decline. My husband had been in a relationship years before when he was in OH and still had many friends who were members of the church.

One couple was very welcoming to me, and I actually lived with them before my husband and I were married. The other people, however, were nothing but cruel, even though my husband considered them great friends at the time. Several of them tried to break up our wedding, which of course they did not succeed in doing, but they did succeed in causing a rift between both my husband and I and myself and the church.

I was only about a year into the Christian faith, when all of a sudden people at church–a people that are supposed to welcome you with open arms–were trying to stab me in the back. After a rough first 9 months of marriage, we received a letter stating that yes, they were indeed trying to break us up because it was more convenient for their lives if my husband was back together with his ex girlfriend, because they knew her and just wanted things to be the way they were before.

I am pregnant with our frist child to be born this summer. I want more than anything to raise our child in a Christian home, knowing the love of God and being able to see that love shared between us and others. I know that it will take a lot of hard work to get back to a place of trust with the Lord and other Christians, but I do not know where to start.

I try to read my Bible and cannot seem to focus on it. I used to lead worship, but cannot bring myself to pick up my guitar. I used to love to hear teachings by my husband in small group, but find myself cutting him off whenever he goes on a “religious tirade” now. I was just wondering if you had any advice on HOW to forgive these people. I know that my heart will always be guarded and closed until I forgive them, but I see their actions as purposely evil and knowing that they are not the least bit sorry for the pain and hurt they caused me makes it very difficult to even think about forgiving them and moving on with my life.

Thank you very much for your time in reading this. I don’t expect you to have all of the answers, but any new insights into how to regain my fire for the Lord would be greatly appreciated. I feel like I have exhausted every avenue I can think of and do not want the rest of my marriage or my child’s life to be without God as the center. 

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Thank you for writing to me and being so honest in your email.

It sounds like you were in a very difficult situation and yet I can see God’s hand in bringing you back to MD to start new. Deep wounds are hard to heal; nevertheless, “with God all things are possible!” (Matt. 19:26)

In the past when I thought about people who hurt me, I wanted to cling to my hatred and anger towards them. My flesh wanted them to feel the same pain they caused me. In my heart I knew God wanted me to forgive them. I knew it was the “right” thing to do, but why didn’t it make me feel better? My forgiveness would have only been out of obligation and not from my heart.

It wasn’t until I had a strong relationship with the Lord that I saw clearly. I now understand why forgiveness does make me feel better and why I don’t want to hold on to my bitterness. You won’t be able to forgive until you are seeking God. Only through your relationship with the Lord, will you find true healing.

I think about what God did for me on the cross: His sacrifice for me and the forgiveness He has extended to me. And when I look at the depths of God’s forgiveness, it humbles my heart to tears. I don’t deserve His forgiveness. I’ve failed over and over again in trying to measure up to His standard of the 10 commandments. I have treated my ratty old t-shirt better than God at times. How offensive is that?

Yet, God has mercy on my soul, He loves me no matter what, He promises me eternal life with Him–all of these things that I don’t deserve! Since I gave my life to Him, He’s wiped my slate clean. His forgiveness and renewal is endless. God is so gracious. If God can have that much forgiveness and mercy on me, then why shouldn’t I extend the same forgiveness towards others? Am I better than God? NO! Of course not!

Also, it seems to me that you feel God is to blame in some part of this. That He forsook you. He didn’t. It’s sad when “Christian” people give true believers a bad name. I used to be one of them. I called myself a Christian for years even though I was living in sin. And there are many people out there that simply label themselves Christian because they attend church but are not producing the fruit that true Christians are known to produce. God doesn’t want to see your marriage crumble. He’s not working against you. Don’t believe the lies of the enemy that would have you think otherwise.

I strongly encourage you to start going to church again. You aren’t going to move ahead if you don’t give this over to the Lord, ask Him to forgive you of the anger you hold towards those people, and allow God to deal with their consequences. Also, I’d hope you won’t hang it over your husband’s head that you were right and he was wrong about them. Your husband knows, and you should move on, not allowing any deep seeded bitterness to sprout up from time to time when things are tense. I have a favorite book that helped me see the kind of wife God wants me to be called Created to Be His Help Meet by Debbie Pearl. This would be a wonderful new start for you. It is so important that you and your husband build your marriage on the right foundation–God’s Word. Start with prayer.

Also, please listen to “soundly saved” at www.wayofthemaster.com or buy The Way of The Master book by Ray Comfort. This book, like the Bible is sure to ignite the flame for God.

Blessings to you on your journey.

1 comment for “Learning How to Forgive

  1. July 27, 2009 at 11:28 AM

    Why is it that women are often taken for granted when they forgive over and over again? I know what the scriptures states but why do men betray over and over again and expect to be forgiven when repeatly lie about affairs? I am a christian leader and I just need a spiritual support network right now. I have location connections but the more the better. I know how to discern what I need and what I want.

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