Dr. Lawrence Butler
The Bridge Church, Pembroke
This is the fifth lesson on forgiveness and is being presented with scenarios that are often occurring in our present lives. Terrible things do happen to real people, and ofttimes for no apparent reason or justification. It is in these times when we do not understand, and yet evil comes our way, that forgiveness seems unreasonable and unfathomable. Yet, we are commanded to forgive.
One of the most frequently occurring and destructive scenarios in our culture is that of broken marriage vows. The resulting pain and anger is often overwhelming to our psyche. The trust that was built over a rather substantial period-of-time is completely destroyed. The heartbreak is often more than the offended partner can overcome. Many times the deceit that occurs involves a close friend of the innocent party, thus amplifying the emotional distress of the situation. Sometimes the incident is handled between the husband and wife in a private manner and thus it is hard to fully know the extent of these types of relationships. Other times marriage counselors are utilized and prove beneficial. Probably most times these situations end up in the divorce court with adults arguing over assets and child custody.
It is difficult to know how many of these marriages are saved because of the privacy approach by some, but I suspect that most relationships are ended. Bitterness grips the hearts and emotional support systems are not always available. Couples even get divided over friends – who is my friend and who is yours? With whom can I talk and with whom should I place my confidence? Whom should I not trust? These issues are at times overwhelming, and then you want to think about forgiveness?
The opposite road of forgiveness leads to bitterness. “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses” (Mark 11:25). Bitterness will ruin your attitude. It will hinder God’s blessing on your life and family. Whether or not the marriage can be or should be saved is a different question. Should you forgive is the only question here, and the answer is yes. Hebrews 12:14 teaches us that a root of bitterness will trouble us and defile others. The word used for defiled means contaminate. Please don’t allow your children and loved ones to become contaminated because of your bitterness.