Biblical forgiveness means you release your spouse from a debt owed to you. Forgiveness is not contingent on how you feel about your spouse. It is a choice to no longer blame your spouse for an offense. First Corinthians 13:5 details this in a most straightforward way: Biblical love “keeps no record of wrongs” (NIV). Biblical love doesn’t justify wrong, nor does it ignore wrong, excuse it or pretend it doesn’t exist. All of those types of responses to wrongdoing would lead to enablement. Rather, biblical love acknowledges and addresses the wrong and then forgives and releases it. I’ve been in counseling sessions with some couples who bring up things that were said or done not only years ago but decades ago. When I hear this, and it happens far too often, I sigh inside because I know that the roots of bitterness and unforgiveness run deep.
One of the better analogies for forgiveness is comparing it to ejecting a CD, DVD or Blu-ray Disc from a player. You can’t play two discs simultaneously. You must eject the first disc to play the second. Likewise in marriage, you can’t experience a healthy, thriving relationship with your spouse if you keep replaying whatever he or she did to anger you. You have to eject that offense and replace it with love. You have to turn the offense over to God and replace your thoughts of anger, hurt and pain with thoughts of thanksgiving—gratitude that God has given you the faith and ability to be released from the stronghold of unforgiveness.
Taken from Kingdom Marriage, a Focus on the Family book published by Tyndale House Publishers. Copyright © 2016 by Tony Evans. Used by permission. All rights reserved.