Mark: Jill didn’t hear what I said. I had to choose to forgive.
Jill: Mark forgot to stop at the grocery store to pick up cat food on his way home. I had to forgive.
Mark: Jill didn’t turn on the air conditioning like I hoped she would. I had to choose to forgive.
Jill: Mark was too tired to watch the movie I’d hoped we could watch together. I had to forgive.
Mark: Forgiveness is a term we’re all familiar with, but it’s underused in most marriages. Because you live with another imperfect human being you probably need to forgive well over a dozen times a day. This is how we handle imperfections, both our spouses and our own.
Jill: It’s also how we keep our heart uncluttered and available to God, downshifting our anger so we can let go of offenses or have needed conversations without too much emotion getting in the way.
Mark: Forgiveness is an intentional and voluntary internal choice where you experience a change in feelings and attitude regarding a hurt. The result of forgiveness is freedom. You’re free from being controlled by the negative emotions surrounding whatever it was that happened and hurt you.
Jill: Forgiveness is NOT condoning. If you forgive, it doesn’t say that what happened was okay. Forgiveness is NOT excusing. The person being forgiven is still responsible for their action. Forgiveness is NOT forgetting. The action did happen and is a part of the fabric of the relationship. Forgiveness IS about cleaning out the clutter in our heart.
Mark: Forgiveness is almost always a crisis of the will. We never feel like forgiving. However, a feeling of relief almost always follows obedience when we do forgive.
Jill: God wants us to know and experience His forgiveness and to then extend it to others. Too often we think forgiveness is only needed for the big infractions of trust. Not so. This is a tool you and I need to use day by day, hour by hour, and on the tough days, minute by minute.
Mark: Before you go to bed tonight, I promise you’ll have some opportunity to forgive your spouse. When you’re disappointed or frustrated, instead of lashing out….forgive.
Jill: It will do wonders for your heart…and your marriage.