In the middle of loving forgiveness…

Ok. When the idea was first presented to me to contribute a post during Valentine’s week, I was quite opposed to the idea since, after all, this is a “chick” community. How can they truly relate to me and what if I offend someone by my off-kilter perspective? I would hate to damage my wife’s cyber cred with her people.

With the idea still floating around in my mind over the several weeks since it was proposed, I have come to realize it is NOT about me. I have an opportunity to present something from the testosterone fueled side that they may not really get very often. And besides, I have come to appreciate the fact that several of my wife’s people are really a lot like me in perspective.

So, here I am, trying to think about something to write about within the confines of the topic of “love”. Sure, I could take the easy route and lay out my thoughts on 1 Corinthians 13, but I have done that before. I could write about love letters and my failing in the pursuit, but I have done that too. I could write on the husband’s responsibilities to love his wife, but, alas, that too has been done.

I have struggled over this for a couple days, going back and forth on the offer. Do I attempt to contribute or don’t I? I could say that I had the “epiphanous” moment where I was bludgeoned by “well, dummy, what would Jesus do?” but that would be stretching it a bit. It was more like Tom Cruise in “Risky Business” stating, “sometimes, you just gotta say, ‘what the [heck]!’” {Please note, if you are not familiar with the line, I tamed it down quite a bit.}

For me, love means many things. I have experienced many manifestations of love in my lifetime. There is one aspect which stands out, as I have been the beneficiary of this gift recently and can never fully express the boundless joy that sings in my heart due to receiving it. The Bible discusses it in Colossians 3:12-14 {ESV}:

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

I have been forgiven.

By God.

By myself.

And, importantly, by my wife.

I no longer wish to dwell on the past, but as Edmund Burke stated, “those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” I screwed up. I hurt my wife deeply. I was selfish and put my desires ahead of hers. I was wrong. It cost me everything (not talking financially here) when we divorced.

But, God had other plans.

It took time, and was possibly influenced by other factors that have arisen, but I would not trade it for the world. It is the second greatest gift I have ever received (the first was God’s forgiveness). I can never do justice by trying to explain how this gift has shaped my (our) future; how the “beauty from ashes” can move mountains.

God is a God of forgiveness. Read your Bible, forgiveness is contained throughout. In the Old Testament, forgiveness was accomplished through blood sacrifice. Today, it still is! We need to kill a part of us that resists it in order to free ourselves to give and receive it. In the New, there are many examples of forgiveness and instructions on how many times we should forgive (not going to argue translations of 77, 70 times 7, or 770, since IMHO it is a superfluous number but based on the number of completion to signify it is always enough and should always be done to complete us.)

Forgiveness is not a one-time act, but rather a lifelong cycle of forgiving until the matter is settled in our hearts. If you are able to forgive and forget, you are a stronger person than I am.

It is a hard gift to give; we are creatures with a long memory, especially when it comes to hurt. How else does a child remember that the stove is hot than by one time getting burned or the threat of getting burned? We remember the pain. It comes back to us when we really do not want to be reminded. It steers us away from healing sometimes as well.

Take the bold step in your life and forgive. It is never the easy choice, but it is always worth it. Love demands it.

Donald, Cheri’s husband, is blogging for her today. You can read more of his writing at RebootingThisCrazyLife.com

Cheri Brorsen

Cheri is the married mom of four. She gardens, home schools, is an inconsistent runner, a crocheter and a pray-er. She enjoys finding God in the maze of a life she never imagined and is learning to trust Him in the middle of it all.

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About Cheri Brorsen

Cheri is the married mom of four. She gardens, home schools, is an inconsistent runner, a crocheter and a pray-er. She enjoys finding God in the maze of a life she never imagined and is learning to trust Him in the middle of it all.

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