Gospel Centered Marriage
Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Communication - Part 6
C.S. Lewis hit the nail on the head when he wrote, “Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive (p.115; Mere Christianity).” We instinctively realize there are few gifts that we can give or receive which are more precious and costly than forgiveness.
With a bit of reflection, we realize that forgiveness is not something we can give ourselves (contrary to the popular notion). It is something that must be given at significant personal cost to the giver. This is what makes forgiveness so precious. Those things that can only be received and not achieved have an indefinable value – forgiveness is on that list.
While it may not be the most popular topic on the marriage seminar tours, there are few skills that predict the longevity and quality of a marriage like the ability of each partner to forgive. Those couples who have an accurate understanding of what forgiveness is (and is not), and are willing to apply their understanding have an essential skill for navigating the inevitable hurts and failures that will be experienced within a marriage.
Yet misconceptions and fears about forgiveness cause many people to be cynical about this essential part of a healthy marriage. Often those who struggle to forgive significantly misconstrue what it means to forgive.
For this reason we will take our time getting to the practical commitments of forgiveness. Our goal is not merely to give a biblically accurate definition of what it means to forgive, but to remove the false assumptions and defensive rebuttals that cause us to resist viewing forgiveness as a blessing – not only to our spouse and marriage, but also for us personally.
In this chapter we will address five major subjects.
- What You Don’t Need to Forgive
- Options Besides Forgiveness
- What Forgiveness Is Not
- What Is Forgiveness?
- Emotions and Forgiveness