Love & Forgiveness

Keith Knight 

“Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love covers all offenses.” Proverbs 10:12

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Cor. 13:4-7

I’m reminded of the couple who had just finished breakfast and had an argument. While the topic was fresh in her mind, she wanted to take some time to discuss and talk about the issue. But her husband couldn’t seem to flee or get out of the room fast enough. She told him, “You are so self-absorbed, irrational and insensitive.” Obviously these words didn’t settle very well with her husband. The words were disrespectful and hurtful so he responded back, “Well, you overreact all the time.” As they got into their separate cars to drive off to work, each one got in few last jabs as they sped off.

Needless to say, both of them felt irritable and grouchy when they got to work that morning. Each one felt terribly alone, confused and unsettled in their spirit. Toxic thoughts began to enter their mind. She began to wonder, “Does he really love me anymore? If he really loved me, why would he treat me this way?” He thought, “She’s really turned into a nag, just like her mother!” As the day progressed, they both wondered if they were going to make it as a married couple. With hurts running so deep, their marriage relationship was in the midst of a terrific storm. And not addressing the problem was awkward, like an elephant in the room. But truth be told, the argument had been building up over several weeks, maybe even months.

Have you ever felt that way?
Have you ever felt that your relationship was so damaged that it was irreparable?

If not, you have certainly felt the stinging pain, if only briefly, of the toxic words that spewed out of a loved one’s mouth. But pain comes from within the marriage relationship. It’s part of the package. Our sin nature rears its ugly head from time to time. And whenever we are hurt, we usually see ourselves as the innocent victims. We can become martyrs. We think to ourselves, an injustice to me and I’m really justified in how I feel. And while it’s true that we may be victims, we’re still left to pick up the broken pieces. In times like these, we need to pause for a minute and recognize that we are not helpless victims.

We can choose how we’ll respond. We can either choose to be angry, bitter, self-righteous and resentful, or we can choose to rise above the negativity and forgive our spouse, with the goal of pursuing unity. It’s a choice. We have a choice to make every day. Will I forgive, or will I seek revenge?

Proverbs 10:12 is all about love and forgiveness. And unless we live in total denial, it’s the only way we can cover over all the wrongs we experience in life. It begins when we free ourselves from any vindictiveness and desire to hurt back. Romans 12: 17-19 puts it in a straight-forward way, “Never pay back evil for evil . . . do not seek revenge,”

I encourage you to choose wisely…choose love and forgiveness today!

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