Steps To Seeking Forgiveness
Restore Love & Intimacy Through Seeking and Granting Forgiveness
By Roy Milam
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32 (NLT)
“Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.” Ephesians 4:26
Peter, a married man and one of Jesus’ closest disciples came to Him one day and asked, “Lord, how many times, if my friend sins against me, must I forgive him? Up to seven times? (Matthew 18:21) The question Peter asked is a question that most married people ask. One thing every marriage has, is plenty of opportunities for forgiveness…generally on a daily basis. Marriage doesn’t involve two perfect people . People make mistakes. All of us do. And we’re responsible for our mistakes. But our response to people who make mistakes can also be wrongful if we are not careful. We’re responsible to God for the way we respond to our spouse when he/she makes a mistake…big or small.
Jesus’ answer to Peter was, I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”
Our concern must be twofold: what we do that is in error, but also how we respond to our spouse who errs and hurts us.
Steps to Seeking Forgiveness
1. Seek to understand: “How did I hurt you. How did that made you feel?”
2. Empathize: “I understand that made you feel ___________.”
3. Admit the wrong: “I was wrong. I shouldn’t have_____________.”
4. Repent: I’m sorry I hurt you. I don’t want to hurt you that way again.”
5. Ask for forgiveness: “Will you forgive me?”
The road to restoring love and intimacy in your marriage begins by seeking and granting forgiveness. We all blow it at times and so we must be quick to make amends when we do. Keeping a short account with our spouse sets up the stage for a flourishing marriage. At the heart of our own salvation lays the willingness of One greater to forgive us. How much more then should we be willing to follow suit and be imitators of Christ when we have been forgiven so much. It is when forgiveness abounds that reconciliation happens. Forgiveness does not violate the rights of the individual who was wronged, it frees the offended from harboring sin. When we seek to understand how we have hurt or offended another person by asking them how it made them feel, we are able to empathize with them and allow forgiveness to heal. When you are wrong, be bold enough to admit it and then allow forgiveness to heal the wounds of the offense. Forgiveness may be afforded to those who have wronged another, but it is truly merited by repentance. Finally asking for forgiveness is critical. It is not enough to say, “I am sorry.” We must seek forgiveness when we have offended another, especially our spouses.
Sometimes the road to forgiveness can be long and painful, but the end of the road is restoration and godly communion with one another.
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