In marriage, the pain you are capable of causing your partner is the worst kind of pain. Because you are closest to them, you know their greatest weaknesses. There will be many times you’ll come to a crossroad with two options: the ability to forgive and move forward or to live in the past.
Forgiveness is not a natural response for a human. We would prefer to hold on, to remember, to keep a record of wrongs. Even though the anger and vindication we feel when we are not forgiving may feel good in the moment, it will quickly turn to pain.
For example, it is a bit like eating too much sugar. For a moment, the taste is wonderful, but then we are left with hours of sickness and regret. When we leave forgiveness to brew in our hearts, the more and more it hurts. Eventually, a decision must be made: will you choose to move forward, or sit in this lonely bitterness?
Moving forward is the hardest step, but it is also the sweetest. You have the choice to practice forgiveness, even when you do not feel like forgiving. No marriage is free from this crossroads, and sometimes it will feel like you are having to forgive constantly and start fresh. Forgiveness is an everyday action. It is a conscious action we take daily to put the past behind us, look wrong square in the face, and say “I love you and I do not count these against you. Your record is clean in my eyes.” There is a blessing held inside of it. Blessed are the peacemakers.
We have found that starting fresh revitalizes us. New beginnings are God’s specialty. Jesus literally picks up the pieces of what is old and beaten down and hurt and makes it fresh, beautiful and worthy. God wants to make what was used up and give it new life. We are in need of God’s grace, and that need should, in turn, make us anxious to give it. Love can cover up any and every offense. It is like a shield over the most heinous and ugly parts of us. It redeems all brokenness.
Next time you’re at your crossroads and think something is irredeemable, remember this: Jesus has made all things new in you, and fruit has grown from that. So, extend what he has done in you to the one you love the most. You will be amazed at how healing to the heart and relationship forgiveness and reconciliation are. A new start will give you peace and bring joy to your relationship, if only you choose it.
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