“A well-meaning friend or counselor may tell you that forgiving yourself is your first step toward healing and recovery. The problem is, nowhere in the Scripture do we find God instructing us to deal with our heartaches this way. Rather, He urges us to receive His forgiveness.”
“A bitter root in your heart will manifest itself in troublesome attitudes, such as depression and despair, anger and resentment, or fear and worry. Your reactions may become typified by criticism, slander, gossip, sulking, retaliation, or other caustic behavior.”
“When you forgive your mate’s failures, you give up your right to punish. Forgiveness is an act of the will—a deliberate choice that means you will not retaliate when you feel the other person has wronged you.”
“There are many ways to show your family that you are serious about following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, but two in particular really count: Admitting your mistakes and asking for forgiveness when you mess up in a relationship—especially with one of your children.”
"Mercy sweetens marriage. Where it is absent, two people flog one another over everything from failure to fix the faucet to phone bills. But where it is present, marriage grows sweeter and more delightful, even in the face of challenges, setbacks, and the persistent effects of our remaining sin."
“Once I know that I am indeed the worst of sinners, then my spouse is no longer my biggest problem—I am. And when I find myself walking in the shoes of the worst of sinners, I will make every effort to grant my spouse the same lavish grace that God has granted me.”
"Our real opponent is not on the opposite side of the bed, but within our hearts. Our enemy is the desires of our flesh that oppose the desire of the Spirit. This is the fiercest and only true enemy of our marriage."
“Many marital conflicts are about nothing more than who will get the last word or who will get his way. But in marital conflicts, victory is the prize that no one can afford to win … Marriage is the only institution in the world where you can win every battle but lose the war.”
“Before we can talk about what forgiveness is, and how we can more completely forgive our spouse or children, let’s talk about what it is not. First, forgiveness is not a feeling … Second forgiveness is not forgetting … Third forgiveness is not excusing … Forgiveness is an act of the will, a decision not to think or talk about what someone has done. It is an active process involving a conscious choice and a deliberate course of action.”
“I picture forgiveness like a game of tug‐of‐war … If both spouses continue to pull hard on their end of the rope, the still‐loose knot begins to get tighter and tighter and tighter. At some point, there’s the danger that nobody can ever untie it. But forgiveness means one spouse merely drops his or her end of the rope. This loosens the tension and preserves the possibility that the knot might be untangled by the two of you. The other person can continue tugging, but it doesn’t do any good any more.”
“Have you ever wondered why God gives you overwhelming insight into your spouse’s hidden faults? Do you really think it’s for endless nagging? No, it’s for effective kneeling. No one knows better how to pray for your mate than you. Has your scolding or nagging been working? The answer is no, because that’s not what changes a heart. It is time to try talking to God in your prayer closet instead.”
"No other human relationship can approach the potential for intimacy and oneness than can be found within the context of the marriage commitment. And yet no other relationship can bring with it as many adjustments, difficulties, and even hurts."
"Giving your mate the freedom to fail communicates that you are on his team, regardless of the outcome. It tells him that even if he makes a mistake and fails, you will be there to help him up, dust him off, and encourage him to try again. The issue is not whether he will ever fail, but rather whether he will get back up and whether you will be at his side."
Prayerfully consider what you have done to honor God through seeking or granting forgiveness. Is there a specific action you can think of that shows your desire to honor God in this?
Prayerfully seek the wisdom and counsel of others in this area of forgiveness. Be teachable and open to their advice.
Decide not to talk to others (gossip) about this incident (apart from seeking godly counsel as suggested above.)
Meditate on Scriptures of hope and help. Consider how to apply these to your life right now.
Struggling with issues of forgiveness is a common problem. Reflect on any other instances of unforgiveness in your past to determine if there is a pattern of behavior.
Pray about one thing you could do to take the initiative and risk being vulnerable in this situation.
You cannot control others, but you can honor God with your own actions. Consider how you could honor God in this particular situation today.
Read Up-Close Forgiveness by Dennis Rainey and dialogue about what you’ve read with your spouse or a mentor.
Once you have truly forgiven someone, anger and bitterness can be replaced by feelings of peace. Are you experiencing peace right now? If not, do you know why not?
Regardless of whether or not the offender has repented, we can always release the offense ourselves and maintain a readiness to forgive when they ask. Pray for a heart that is ready to forgive.
By doing the right thing, forgiving someone else, you bring pleasure to God regardless of how the other person responds. Think about the importance of honoring God in this situation.
Pray for the person that offended you, releasing their offense to God.
Grace can be given immediately and unconditionally, but full reconciliation and restoration of a right relationship will require repentance and forgiveness of both parties. Think about what that looks like in this situation.
Consider what will most effectively serve the other person and glorify God in this situation—showing mercy or allowing the other person to experience the consequences that may teach a needed lesson.
In forgiveness we often lay down our rights to justice, money, or something else valuable. What will forgiveness cost you in this circumstance? Then contemplate the cost Christ paid for us on the cross.
Reflect on how much you have been forgiven after reading the parable of the unmerciful servant (Matthew 18:21-35).
Read Philippians 2:13 and 4:13, acknowledging that it is God who gives you the desire and the ability to forgive someone.