Mark 10 Nine


Are you happily married and looking for tips on maintaining a God-honoring marriage? This weekly devotional will give you encouragement for your marriage.

Finding Freedom through Forgiveness

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.   Ephesians 4:31-32 

My husband and I started on a long day packed with appointments and lots of walking. I made sure to wear comfy clothes and shoes. Not long into our journey, I realized my no-show sock had slipped off and was now halfway down my foot. There wasn’t a place to sit and fix it, so I figured I would endure and try to ignore my issue.

You can probably guess how that went. All I could think about was the bunched-up sock not doing its one job.

Unforgiveness that we carry around can be like my sock. Others can’t see it, but we know something is happening that is hindering our life from being all that God intended it to be. You may not spend every minute thinking about the person who hurt you, but there may be times when you are more aware of the pain.

Reread the scriptures from Ephesians at the start of this devotional. Unforgiveness leads to bitterness, which leads to other harmful things. Nobody carrying around unforgiveness is thriving. They have that annoyance that will not let them move forward until they release it.

How do you forgive?

You need to recognize the offense. What happened? Who caused it? How did the actions of another person hurt you? What did their actions take from you? How did their actions impact your life?

The process of thinking through those questions may be painful. It may cause you to relive a time in your life that was very hurtful and changed you.

What is owed to you because of the hurt? Who can cover the offense? We need to realize that we can’t turn back time. That person can’t go back and undo what they did to you.

Jesus is the only one who has paid for that offense. His death, burial, and resurrection were enough payment for the hurt you have held onto.

You have a choice. God wants you to let that hard heart soften through the freedom of forgiveness. He has great plans for you. While what was done to you may have been sinful, we are also in sin when we don’t forgive someone. That may be hard to understand, but that is what the Bible tells us. 

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.   Matthew 6:14-15 

Forgiveness doesn’t mean you are accepting or approving of the behavior. It means you are releasing that person from the debt that only Jesus can pay.

The weekend before I got married, I finally released all the bitterness and unforgiveness I had towards my dad. He had been remarried to my mom for several years, but I always held onto the past as if it was my weapon to pull out when I needed to use it. I never wanted him to forget the pain his actions caused.

My dad had apologized many times before then and was a changed person. I could see a difference in his life, but deep down, I was still holding onto the pain. I remember that marked moment, sitting on our brown plaid couch. It was done. I realized I could move forward into my new marriage free of bringing a bagful of hurts and bitterness.

My dad never realized until I shared years later that it was a pivotal moment for me. It didn’t matter. It was something between me and God. I was placing my hurt and unforgiveness at the foot of the cross.

The person who hurt you may not be in your life. They may not even be alive. Regardless of their proximity to you, forgiving them and moving forward in peace is still possible.

Spend some time alone with the Lord and ask Him to reveal any areas of unforgiveness you are holding onto. You may need to forgive your spouse or another person and stop the cycle of hurting your spouse because of the unforgiveness you have carried for too long. The Lord is faithful, and He will show you areas of hurt.

There is freedom because of the price Jesus paid!

God bless,

 

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