How do I get past the pain of the past years? I do not think I can forgive this, this is too much! Can you imagine? She … He…
These are the voices of many people in different forms of relationships today. Everyone has been hurt by someone they thought they could trust. It hurts because we trusted, and got disappointed!
The effect of the rolled over pain and unattended disappointments have left strains in a lot of families.
Many marriages today are very far from their places in destiny because of one disappointment or the other. Spouses are unable to get past the pain of disappointment to healing and fulfillment. How do we get to this place while being led by the Word of God? This is the question I pray this article will answer.
Every relationship thrives on the ability to forgive and forget. Everyone must come to accept forgiving and forgetting as a lifestyle and the key to having fulfilled relationships.
For some time now when I see couples, I keep seeing the wonder of what lies between them. For every couple having a great time together, laughing and working together, there lies forgiving and forgetting. Hurting one another is inevitable where two people are working closely with one another and especially in marriage. A friend used to say,” I can only step on your toes because we are close enough to each other”. Offense is inevitable in any relationship of any kind: the closer the relationship, the greater the possibility of offense. Someone once said there are very few people who can hurt you like your spouse and children. This is the fact of life we must live with. But when there is an offence what do we do? How do we get around it to get to our perfect destination of Peace and Harmony?
So many families are under the captivity of unforgiveness, brothers and sisters in discord because of longstanding sibling rivalry, husband and wife relationships heavily strained because of past offences. And in some cases, the marriage ends in divorce. How do we ensure our relationships do not become part of the statistics?
- Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
- And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.
- And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:
- For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.
- And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? Or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.
- And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.
- And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, what is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?
- And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.
- And his brethren went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem.
- And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, here am I.
- And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.
- And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, what seekest thou?
- And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks.
- And the man said, they are departed hence; for I heard them say, let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan.
- And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.
- And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.
- Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.
- And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him.
- And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.
- And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him;
- And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.
- And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.
- And Judah said unto his brethren, what profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?
- Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.
- Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.
- And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes.
- And he returned unto his brethren, and said, the child is not; and I, whither shall I go?
- And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood;
- And they sent the coat of manycolours, and they brought it to their father; and said, this have we found: know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no.
- And he knew it, and said, it is my son’s coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.
- And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.
- And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.
- And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, and captain of the guard. (Genesis 37:3-36).
Just like Joseph I am very sure you have the right to feel offended. Being angry really is not a sin. Scripture confirms it to us in Ephesians 4:26 “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:” Really you have a right to feel offended but how do we ensure that SIN does not take hold of your anger.
Offense always leads to bitterness where not properly taken care of.
We cannot prevent offenses but we have the power to take care of them when they occur. Our Lord
Jesus taught us through the Bible that we should forgive as many times as we are offended.
“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until seventy times seven. Mat 18:21-22
Just like Joseph, you have every reason to be offended but going further down the passage above, our Lord Jesus told a parable of a servant who refused to forgive little after he had been forgiven so much. Jesus concluded that the servant was WICKED. To refuse to forgive is to act wickedly, unfortunately we do not act wickedly against the person alone but even against ourselves. Nelson Mandela said “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
Keeping offense takes us off the path of trusting God! When we keep offense we take over, instead of allowing God to defend us.
I hear someone say this lady does not know what she is talking about, I should just forget that I read this. This is the more reason you must forgive.
Why we must forgive
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.(Matthew 6:12)
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14 -15)
I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. (Isaiah 43:25)
We forgive first for our own sake, for our own healing. When our Lord Jesus Christ was teaching us how to pray He said forgive us just as we forgive others!
We need to forgive just as much as we require forgiveness ourselves. And do not we all need God’s Forgiveness?
We need to forgive because we must get to our place in destiny. I believe Joseph got to destiny because he forgave. He had forgiven his brothers even before his first encounter with them after they sold him off.
The story of Joseph is one that thrills me every time I read or think about it. After reading and meditating on his story I wondered how he was able to forgive his siblings.
He had every right to be bitter against them and even God. He got revelations from God about his future and instead of having things fall in place from then on, his life seemed to go haywire. His own brothers sold him into Slavery, his master’s wife wanted to sleep with him and when he stood his ground in the fear of God, he landed in prison.
At some point I thought he would have just given up on God, but he did not. Rather, he held on to God the more; and little wonder, even in the prison he was interpreting dreams.
We cannot afford to lose hold of our God-given promises because of bitterness. As I write, I sense some people are not just bitter against their spouses, but even their in-laws and this is creeping into the relationship they have with their spouses. I pray that healing will come for every hurting soul.
We are forgiven as much as we forgive ourselves.
Forgiving after a broken heart!
It can be very difficult after a heart has been broken too many times by the same person. I will not just speak scriptures and walk away. Nothing heals the heart more than the Word of God! Yes your heart has been stepped upon without care but you need to take responsibility for your heart.
What do we do about the unrepentant we need to forgive?
How do we forget?
Decide to Forget
Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. (Isaiah 43:18)
You and I have the responsibility of choosing to forget. Choose to let go. You will have flash back of the pains and disappointments but as you decide to forget and act contrary to your feelings of revenge you will get to the place of healing and wholeness.
- And Joseph returned into Egypt, he, and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father.
- And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him.
- And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.
- And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?
- But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. (Genesis 50:15 -20)
See everything as working together for your good. As much as people act wrongly against us, it does not change God’s plan, it is part of His plan. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;” (2 Corinthians 4:17). When we face injustice as Christians, we should remember that Jesus Christ suffered much more injustice for our sake. “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;” (Philippians 1:29)“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28).
Things work together for good only when we are in line with God’s love and purpose. Being in line with God’s love and purpose is to forgive and forget.
Even if it’s personal against you and repeated seven times through the day, and seven times he says, ‘I’m sorry, I won’t do it again,’ forgive him.”(Luke 17:4 –The MSG)
What to do next?
This is the very difficult part. There is no simple answer other than letting the Holy Spirit guide you in all your ways.
Our Lord Jesus promised never to leave us without comfort and He keeps this promise through the Holy Spirit, the Seal of our redemption. The person you need to forgive may not be repentant, and may be your spouse or someone you cannot readily get rid of. Yet you need to keep on holding on to the Word of God and allowing His Spirit to guide you in all your ways. Ensure you have no resentment and be open to God about your feelings. Sometimes we are hurt and heaven knows we are, and we ought to feel hurt. The best part is that we have a High Priest that is moved by our issues. He understands betrayals and hurt more than you think. He can get you through this also.
Pray sincerely telling God exactly how you feel and watch a miracle begin in your heart! He will fill you with so much love than you can ever imagine! You are on your way to healing!
Rules of Engagement for Couples
From experience I have found that it is necessary for couples to set rules for what can and cannot happen in the event of any disagreement. It is interesting that often we assume our marriages will just work out fine, especially for Christians, but today we have found that it takes a deliberate attempt by both partners no matter how Spirit filled to make it work.
Decide as a couple limits of how far you will ever go in the case of a disagreement.
No Physical Abuse, name calling, bringing up the past except that is what the discussion is about. No dragging of third parties into the argument, stick to the matter that needs to be addressed. Respect your partner’s feelings. There is so much that we could share, here is a link you can go to for more information.
Maybe you are reading this article and your marriage just came out of a terrible storm and the wounds are still fresh, this is good information for you.
To the Forgiven
You know you have done wrong and you have been forgiven, it is not time to forget completely it ever happened. It is time to build back confidence into your partner. Your partner is trying to do the right thing by forgiving you, so you need to make it easy by “bearing fruits worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:8). Make deliberate efforts with the help of the Holy Spirit to take your family far away from yesterday.
To the Forgiver
Thank God you have taken the road to freedom which is forgiveness. Now, it is time to forget. Forgetting takes deliberate effort not to go back there, for your own sake! Your mind will wander back to the pain, please make deliberate effort to offload your mind of your hurts, do not push them back, bring them up and deal with them. Trust the Holy Spirit to help you do the right things to renew your love. Fill up your being with God’s Word. Nothing heals like God’s Word.
Some major issues that threaten healthy family life are the hurts and failures of the past. I refer to hurts and failures as one because the points at which one fails usually becomes a hurt on the mind and it keeps haunting you preventing your progress.
For instance, if your husband used to be a non-resident father who will only come home after spending his earnings on loose and riotous living like the prodigal son. But, unlike the prodigal, he kept going back to his vomit month-in, month-out till he contracted HIV which brought him to his senses and back to God and then home.
Maybe your situation is not that grievous, your wife simply embarrassed you amidst your peers when she said something out of turn and since then you’ve been afraid to take her out to public functions. Perhaps, it’s your son that brought shame to the home when he jilted your family-friends’ daughter.
God’s panacea comes to all ailing families today. Those hurts and failures belong to the past, so LEAVE THEM THERE! Don’t carry yesterday’s burdens into today. The sinner has repented before God and received forgiveness; this is the most important part of the matter. If your heavenly Father has forgiven him/her then you need to follow suit as His child. God forgives every sinner who comes to Him in repentance. ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’1 And for the saints that have erred in someway in the past, God’s position is clear- ‘My dear children, I write these things so you may not sin, and if anyone does sin, we have a counsel for our defense in the Father’s presence, Jesus Christ the righteous one’.2
Forgiveness came by the cross, that’s where God dealt with the sin problem of humanity forever. He punished our sins- past, present and future in Jesus. There remains no more sacrifice for sins than that which has been made- Jesus died. Thus, God has legal grounds for forgiving and forgetting our sins.
Therefore, we ought to extend grace to this repentant member of our family, STOP viewing the person in the light of the past because God does not do that, He Himself took our sins far from us as far as the east is from the west. The way to deal with past hurts or failures is to take on God’s view point which was displayed in the story of the prodigal; His father ran to meet him and threw a welcome party as though the boy had been a good ambassador of the home all the while. He believed the best of the boy and treated him like a king. Love covers a multitude of faults and expects the best always. Show God’s love; don’t let what has happened in the past affect your family relationship and you’ll realize as you choose to extend grace that it’s not as difficult as you thought because you’ve been wired to live and act like God- your Father.
Scriptures:1 1John 1:9, 2 1John2:1
ASSIGNMENT: Read the story of the prodigal son once again [Luke 15:11-32] and post your comments about the love displayed by his father and the elder brother’s approach to the matter.
– Dr ifelayo ojo