“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” [Luke 6:37 NKJV]
As I see it, we are told to forgive – I don’t really see any wiggle room on that. However, forgiveness is not really about the other person – it is more about us. Yes, forgiveness may do something for them, and it may not; but it does do something for us – forgiving others sets us free.
But what about “forgive and forget”? While I see that God forgets our sins, I see no command, or example, of forgetting what is done against us. This is good, as humans don’t have the ability to choose to forget! I think what is meant by the forget part is to act as if the wrong never occurred. I find that unacceptable because actions have consequences, and bad/wrong actions have consequences we don’t like.
Rebuilding a relationship, or rebuilding trust, or getting past fear, all take time. The worse the offence, the longer it takes. Being “perfect” or “clean” for a week, a month, or even a year does not prove the offence will never occur again; neither does it heal all the damage that has been done. Too often, the one who committed the wrong gets upset because they think their spouse is taking “too long to get over it”. I’ve seen more than a few marriages deeply hurt by this. It seems the one who commits the wrong underestimates the depth of hurt and betrayal, and because of this underestimates the time needed to work through it. I fear many marriages have been crippled or destroyed because the guilty party gives the one who was wronged only half the time they need to deal with things. If you have wronged your bride, give her more time than you think it should take to work things out.
That said, if you are the one who did something wrong, and you feel your spouse is holding on too long, or using it to control you, my suggestion would be to get outside help. You may be right, but if you are, she is not in a place to hear it from you.
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Links to blog posts that stood out to me this last week:
Due to a crazy week, I have not had time to do my usual blog reading. I expect to do it Sunday, and will get links out with the Monday tip.