“Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times? Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (Mt 18:21, 22)
Many people ask for the secret of a true happy life long marriage. My husband and I are married for 42 years. We come from very different backgrounds. We have different gifts and strategies of success in life. But we have more things in common than those that separate us. We are both born again and Spirit filled. The Cross keeps us together! That is our secret!
One of the basic attitudes to keep a marriage happy is the ‘science’ and the ‘art’ of forgiveness. You need to be born again. You need to study the Word of God until you understand what forgiveness is. There is a price to pay. Forgiveness is the glue of marriage. Marriage is tough work. For example, the great Mandela did hard labor in prison for 27 years. He forgave his enemies. But even he could not forgive his wife and they divorced six years after his freedom from prison.
The devil attacks marriages but forgiveness neutralizes the strategy of the devil. Forgiveness is expensive but necessary to manifest the love of God. Forgiveness is hard because it is not just a feeling but obedience to the Word of God. Forgiveness is costly. You pay the price for the evil you chose to forgive. But forgiveness is designed by God to give you liberty!
In this world people offend one another. You cannot escape that. Even in the marriage, the risk of hurting one another is very high. You can respond in two ways: forgive or not forgive. Each is a choice. Forgiveness is more than a feeling. It is a choice. Forgiveness leads to freedom, peace and joy. Refusal to forgive leads to anger, bitterness and bondage. The choice is yours. Forgiveness is not something you do on and off. It is a life style. You practice forgiveness daily, when it is needed and when it is not. The Holy Spirit helps you to walk this royal road, so that when you are offended it is easy to forgive.
A healthy marriage lives under the sky of grace. Forgiveness is an advice to troubled marriages. If sin comes, when confession of adultery comes, you may ask if your marriage can ever be the same. Yes, it can be, if you practice forgiveness. By the grace of God, it can even become better! Look at the father and his prodigal son! He thought he will be a slave. He thought that things cannot be like before! But they became better! Thru repentance and forgiveness their relationship became better.
Many people lose hope in a marriage when they need to forgive again and again, especially for the same sins. Practicing forgiveness is an attitude. It has to be done patiently by at least one of you. It is hard. But this is the sure road that leads to success in marriage! Your forgiveness must be rooted in God! Forgive the way God forgave you in Christ Jesus! Be like Jesus! In the end, that will be your reward!