Forgiveness is a Process
About the Guest
Whether you live in Heartland, USA, or Hollywood, California, one key to a successful marriage is forgiveness. Chelsea Cameron explains the biblical imperative to forgive.
Kirk and Chelsea CameronKirk is best known as the lovable teen heartthrob Mike Seaver, of the award winning series Growing Pains. He entertained audiences worldwide as the charming troublemaker. He is also known to many Christians as "Buck Williams" from the Left Behind films -- based on the NY Times runaway best selling novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Kirk's most recent role was playing the part of "Capt. Caleb Holt" from the 2008 blockbuster movie success, Fireproof. But much more noteworthy than his actin...more
One key to a successful marriage is forgiveness. Chelsea Cameron explains the biblical imperative to forgive.
Forgiveness is a Process
Bob: Every couple experiences conflict in marriage; and Chelsea Cameron says, “Each of us has to learn how to forgive.”
Chelsea: You know, I don’t like to over-simplify things—I’m not down-playing anything that’s happened—but there’s one way out of that dark place, where you are shackled to a pain that may have happened—to a disappoint or an expectation that wasn’t met—and it’s through the process of forgiveness. It starts between just you and God—it’s like, “Lord, You have forgiven me of so much in my life. I found forgiveness at the foot of Your cross.”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, March 2nd. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. Kirk and Chelsea Cameron join us today to share some of the secrets they’ve learned about how to have a successful marriage, even when you live in Hollywood. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Monday edition. Can you believe that a couple, like Kirk and Chelsea Cameron—I mean, they met on the set of Growing Pains. We watched them fall in love together on television. Can you believe they would ever have conflict in their marriage?
Dennis: I can’t believe they’ve lasted. I mean, if you look at Hollywood marriages, they are an anomaly.
Bob: They really are.
Dennis: And the reality is what they have learned from the Bible, and what you are about to hear, is some great practical illustrations about how not to do some things—because they illustrate that beautifully—but also, what they’ve learned about forgiveness and how to go about resolving conflict.
Bob: We had the opportunity to be with Kirk and Chelsea just a few weeks ago when we were on the Love Like You Mean It® marriage cruise. And I have to tell you—Kirk walked up to me on Monday, and I didn’t recognize him.
Dennis: Well, I saw him the night before at the hotel; and I went, “Gosh, that guy looks a little bit like Kirk Cameron”—
—but he had this bushy—I mean, it—
Bob: It wasn’t a full Duck Dynasty beard, but—
Dennis: Close; close.
Bob: —it was headed that direction.
Dennis: Yes; he didn’t have the overalls on, though.
Bob: So, I asked him, “What are you doing with the beard?” He’s just finished a movie that he’s working on—that he and the family are putting together—where he plays—what did he call it?—not a crazy farmer, but—
Dennis: Yes, it was a crazy farmer.
Bob: He’s this eccentric character, who’s got a beard and a crew cut. It’s a whole different look for Kirk; isn’t it?
Dennis: It really is.
Bob: So, he and Chelsea joined us onboard the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise and spoke to our audience on Monday night and shared about some of the lessons they’ve learned about marriage in the years that they’ve been married, out in Hollywood.
Dennis: And they shared this on the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. Bob, I’ve got to say to you—we always provide incredible speakers/great talent. It’s just amazing to me the popularity of a movie star when they’re introduced.
It’s just that their marriage has gone the distance is fantastic, and they were a great addition to our cruise.
We had a lot of great content, entertainers, and musicians with us for this four-day cruise.
Bob: Well, we’re starting to make plans for next year when it’s not going to be a four-day cruise—it’s going to be a five-day cruise. We’re going to be heading out of Miami, Valentine’s week—heading to Jamaica, and then from there to Grand Cayman, then, back to Miami.
I have to tell you—when we wrapped up the cruise this year, the people who were on this year’s cruise—a lot of them said, “We’re coming back next year.” Next year’s cruise is more than half sold out now. So, if our listeners would like to join us next year, during Valentine’s week, they can go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click in the upper left-hand corner of the screen, where it says, “GO DEEPER.” The information about the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise is available there.
This week, we are offering FamilyLife Today listeners a little special incentive. In fact, the team said, “The offer we’re making to FamilyLife Today listeners, who would like to join us this week, is the best offer we’ll make all year.” So, if you’d like to attend, now is the time to get the information and to register for next year’s cruise.
Dennis: And I just want to warn you—last year’s cruise was sold out by the time we got to summer. It’s because this cruise is really a tremendous getaway that gives you a sense of purpose/mission. It’ll equip you around your major commitments in life—with God and with your spouse. You’re going to be a better person as a result of going on this vacation. When you get off of the cruise ship on Saturday, when the cruise is over, I promise you—you’re going to be a different person and so will your spouse.
Bob: Well, and as you’ll hear from Kirk Cameron here, this is a better cruise than other cruises he’s been on. Here’s Part One of Kirk and Chelsea Cameron’s message on the
Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise.
Kirk: This is an exciting cruise for us. This is the second time we’ve been on a Love Like You Mean It cruise. The first time—I want to tell you this, starting really quickly—the first time we came on the cruise, it was kind of a hard sell to Chelsea when I said, “Honey, let’s go on a cruise—it’s a marriage cruise,” because our first experience on a cruise was terrible. It was like—it was like the booze boat from hell [Laughter]—and we didn’t know it because it was a family cruise that we were invited to go on with the rest of the extended family. So, we kind of got roped into going because that was the cruise that they already booked. We went on this cruise—and we get out there—we end up signing up for this excursion called The Jolly Roger.
Audience: Oh! [Laughter]
Kirk: And it turns out it was The Jolly Roger Rum Boat. We didn’t know about the rum boat was. [Laughter] So, we get out there; and I’m with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law and the whole nine yards. I mean, people had so much—they had rum going so much—and there were people swinging off ropes off the mast into the waters. I was just—I was sure someone was going to drown. People were drunk—it was crazy.
Then, what ended up happening is— one of the—
—this one lady asked if Chelsea and I would take a picture with her. There were all these drunk people on the boat—and I’m like, “Could we wait until a little bit later?” because, if we get stuck taking pictures with a bunch of drunk people on the boat, it’s not going to be good; right?
So, she went back and told her husband or boyfriend or whoever it was. He got upset that she didn’t get her picture. So, he came and threw beer all over our backs, while we were on the boat. So, then, Chelsea tells her brother—who’s Type-A, alpha dog guy—goes up to the dude and threatens his life. Then, they get into the steel drums; and they are dancing on the booze boat. And this guy goes up to my brother-in-law and just sucker punches him and gives him this big shiner.
And the whole story ends back up—boarding back up on the boats, with Chelsea crying, my brother-in-law with this big black eye and a pair of aviator glasses with one of them broken out so he could see out of this one—and this one was covered by the other one. His wife is in a bikini. I’m over there, thinking to myself: “Oh my goodness! This is going to blow my witness. This is going to ruin my career if anyone takes a picture of this,”—
—and my brother-in-law is demanding, “Somebody get me the captain of this ship!” I mean, I just wanted the rapture to happen, right there, and get me out of there! [Laughter] Okay—that’s the End Times cruise—okay; we’ll get to that one another time.
We’re going to talk about marriage tonight. Chelsea and I have been married for 24 years, and we’re excited. We have six kids—18, 17, 16, 15, 14, and 12—and so, pray for us. [Laughter] They’re all here on the cruise with us, except for our 18-year-old; and they are having a great time somewhere, eating at the endless buffet right now.
And Chelsea and I have realized that marriage is very, very challenging—especially if you come from two different cultures and two different family types. Chelsea and I think differently about things. She comes from New York / I’m from Los Angeles. I remember when one scenario pointed out those differences very clearly. We were in my kitchen, newly-married.
I was talking to a buddy of mine, at the table; and Chelsea was washing some dishes at the sink. This was great—everything was going great. I’m talking with my buddy. Chelsea’s over here, washing dishes at the sink; and I’m thinking, “Man, I’ve got this perfect marriage/”—right?—“my perfect wife.”
She starts putting dishes from the sink into the dishwasher, and she’s cleaning some crystal. She moves like this, and all I hear is CRASH [crashing sound]! I look over. I jump up out of my seat, and I can see that she has hit one of the glasses on the cast iron side of the sink and shattered the whole thing. And it was expensive crystal—this was the wedding crystal. I look up, thinking, “I need to fix this situation.” I say to my wife: “Honey! You’ve got to be more careful,” thinking, “This surely will prevent this from happening again.” [Laughter]
Now, get this—she actually—no kidding—she actually looked at me like she is just—couldn’t believe that I said that.
She picks up another crystal glass, like this, and looks at me, like this, again—holds it up and drops it right into the cast iron and smashes the whole thing again. I’m thinking to myself, “What have I married?!” [Laughter]
Chelsea: Well, wait, wait! [Hilarious laughter]
Kirk: Yes; okay.
Chelsea: Since I’m—okay, girls—do we know there are two sides to this story? [Applause] I remember a full-on scolding—scolding. I come from a place where, if you make a mistake—my dad never scolded me for a mistake. So, I’m thinking—well, first, something came over my body. I don’t even know what happened when I grabbed the other one—[Laughter]—but something just took over. I don’t know—
—but I remember thinking: “Did you just scold me for a mistake? What did I marry?!” [Laughter]
Kirk: Okay, honey; alright.
Chelsea: By the way—on that booze cruise—I think, if Kirk was supporting that look then, they wouldn’t have messed with him. [Laughter and applause] I’m kind of starting to like it!
When we were on that cruise, I felt like we had a real thing. We were just married and so in love. But you know something?—in 23 years, I’ve learned that it’s in the valley where you are challenged and you realize that marriage is probably one of the main journeys where God changes you, and sanctifies you, and teaches you what it means to really love.
When you are in that valley—and you can get your eyes off him, and what you think he’s doing, and you can say: “What are You trying to change in me, God? What are You trying to teach me?”—and, if you can persevere and you can continue to love through those valleys, when you come out the other end together—now, you really have a thing.
I want—I thought about the limited amount of time I have with you; and I thought, “Oh, what do I want to share with you?” I decided to share with you something that I think is the most important thing that the Lord has taught me about love and about what it takes to have a God-glorifying marriage and a blessed marriage. So, I’m going to start with the Word of God because that’s where the answers are to everything in life.
I’m going to read from Ephesians 4:25:
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor for we are members of one another. Be angry and do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up as it fits the occasion that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed for the day of Redemption. Let all bitterness and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you.
I want to focus on verse 32: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ has forgiven you.” I am not wondering, as I stand here, whether or not you’ve ever been hurt in your marriage. I know how life works, and I know that the person sitting next to you has the center of your heart. When things are not right there, things are not right in life; and they have the ability to injure you in a way that nobody else does.
In Proverbs, it says, “A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.” Those walls come up and, “You said you wouldn’t and you did,” and, “You said you’d always and you didn’t.” And the walls come up, and we get injured.
We start to treat the person in a certain way. We start to withhold our best from them because we are hurt, and we give our best to others but not him: “You owe me something!”
These damaging emotions that God talks about, right here—we start to feel them. “Let all bitterness,”—and that overarching condition of an unforgiving heart—“wrath,” / it’s a flowing foaming, “I’m playing the tapes of what happened in my head,”—and then, there’s “anger,” / then, there’s that outburst of that—and there’s “clamor”—there’s relational strife / there’s the bickering and, then, there’s “slander”—and it is the evil intended-to-hurt words.
These are all very, very damaging emotions. They happen in our marriages so easily—out of the heart, the mouth speaks: “You hurt me, and you’re never going to have that part of me again,”—it swallows up.
I’m telling you guys—we have a very real marriage. There are times that you get injured—and I am the kind of person who will retreat to the highest mountain. I mean, he’s in good shape; but he’s not going to be able to climb that mountain! [Laughter] And God—we felt the consequences of that.
And then, I heard this message about what marriage really is—which is not really about how I feel. It is to display the covenant union of Christ and His church—
—that patient and forgiving relationship—to bring glory to God out in this world that needs to know Jesus and that covenant relationship He has.
So, I heard a message about forgiveness and the process of forgiveness. You know, I don’t like to oversimplify things—I’m not downplaying anything that’s happened—but there’s one way out of that dark place, where you are shackled to a pain that may have happened—to a disappointment or an expectation that wasn’t met—and it’s through the process of forgiveness. It starts between just you and God—it’s like: “Lord, You have forgiven me of so much in my life. I found forgiveness at the foot of Your cross. Lord, I’m laying it down.
“I know I’m never more like Jesus than when I’m forgiving.” Name it—lay it down and say, “Lord, help me to show forth love.” God says when you don’t act on your feelings and you act on your obedience, He comes behind you with a new feeling.
There’s the process of the decision to forgive; and then, there is acting it out. So, when you start playing the tapes again, you don’t go back to unforgiveness—you go back to the cross: “Lord, I ask you, Jesus, take this from me. I lay it at the cross. I need a new day. I need a fresh love. Help me to love my husband the way that you love my husband. Help me to get my part right, Lord. I want to be a vessel of the Savior in this home.” Through that process of not going back to the unforgiveness but going back to the cross—right where you found forgiveness / where you find forgiveness—
—you can be released of that.
I heard a story about Leonardo da Vinci, who painted The Last Supper, who had a very serious fight with his best friend before he painted that painting. He painted the likeness of Judas the face of his friend. Then, he went to paint the face of Christ; and he could not. He could not until he went back and changed the face of Judas.
I remember the pastor said: “You know something? If you want the beauty of Christ to flow through your life / in your story with your family and your marriage, you’ve got to learn to forgive. With the help of Jesus and with the help of His Holy Spirit you can have that new day.
“The beauty of Christ will be displayed to this world and to your families.”
You know, I want to speak—say this to the moms and the women here. We are not actresses, playing different roles—we are one woman. When that root / that this vessel is bitter, it cannot produce sweet fruit. It shows up, and it spills out in other areas of our life—many times in the way we parent because we are critical, and we’re harsh, and we’re—we lose our smile and we lose our joy because we are harboring unforgiveness.
I’ll tell you something, moms—those kids need your delight in them.
They need a mom, who’s got the joy of the Lord. If the joy of the Lord is our strength—the joy of the mother is the strength of her family. It’s very hard when you’re harboring unforgiveness. They need your smile like a flower needs the sun. I want my kids to say: “My mom—she was the most joyful woman I have ever known. Even on hard days—even through tough things / even through tough times with Dad—she was the most joyful woman I’ve ever known.” And I want that for you.
I’m out of time with you; but I’d just encourage you, as your sister in Christ, to start—if there is something in you that is bitter / that’s holding on and shackled to some pain—give it to Jesus—
—lay it at the foot of the cross. There is a part between you and God, and there’s a part of living it out. It’s a process, but it’s a process that—without knowing God, you can’t know marriage. Without forgiveness, you’re not going to finish—the large and small forgivenesses—you’re not going to finish and understand the beautiful design of marriage that we all, together, can go out and move this Kingdom forward by displaying that covenant relationship of Christ and His church.
Thank you for your time. God bless you! [Applause]
Bob: Well, we’ve heard today from Kirk and Chelsea Cameron sharing part of the message that they shared onboard the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. I’ll tell you what—
—starting off the cruise with a reminder of how essential forgiveness is in a healthy marriage—it’s a good place to start.
Dennis: Bob, I’m convinced—what you do with conflict—how you address it, how you resolve it, how you move on from it—is, I think, one of the top three or four issues that every married couple needs to have tools in their toolkit to be able to address.
Kirk and Chelsea did a great job of really unpacking what it looks like for two people—two imperfect people, who hurt each other—to confront those hurts, and ask for forgiveness, and know how to grant forgiveness, and really mend the fence so you can move on and move toward oneness—which is why you got married in the first place—but secondly, move on with purpose and about your mission.
You know, one of the things we talked about the entire week of the cruise was: “What’s your mission, as a couple? Where are you headed? What is your marriage about? What’s this thing called marriage—what’s its purpose?”
And I’ll tell you—it’s a great week—I hope our listeners will join us, but they need to hurry because people are reserving these staterooms at a pretty good clip.
Bob: Yes, in fact, we expect, by the time we get to June, the 2016 Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise will be completely booked. So, if you’d like to attend, there really is no better week to sign up than this week. Here’s the reason why—we have a special offer we’re making for FamilyLife Today listeners this week. It’s the lowest price we’re offering on staterooms for the cruise next year, and it’s only good this week.
You can go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link that says, “GO DEEPER,” in the upper left-hand corner of the screen—that’ll take you to an icon for the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. That’s where you can get the information about the cruise. Or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY and just say: “I’m interested. Give me more information.” We’ll answer any questions you might have or make arrangements to get you signed up for the 2016 Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, Valentine’s week, with FamilyLife.
I hope we’ll see some of our listeners onboard the cruise next February.
Now, tomorrow, we are going to hear from Kirk Cameron about some of the lessons he’s learned on how to be a godly husband to his wife, Chelsea. He’ll share from
1 Peter, Chapter 3, tomorrow—hope you can tune for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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