Do you respond well when your husband hurts you? I usually do NOT. My first response to hurts from my husband is to get angry. My second response usually involves pouring on the guilt and making him feel awful for being so terrible to me. The problem is, the Bible tells us that we should not be acting that way.
I certainly don’t want someone to tell me, while I am hurting, that I need to respond to the person hurting me in a loving way. Why should I?
In Matthew chapter 18 we have a story that Jesus tells us.
21 Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” 22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven! 23 “Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. 24 In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. 25 He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt.
26 “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ 27 Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.
28 “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment.
29 “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. 30 But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.
31 “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. 32 Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ 34 Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.
35 “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”
This scripture is very convicting to me on so many levels. The Lord often brings this passage to mind when my heart is angry and I am harboring un-forgiveness in my heart. I know where I have come from. I know the wickedness that is in my heart. I am reminded that Jesus has forgiven me a great debt that I could NEVER repay. Yet I am often very slow to forgive anyone who has hurt me. I want to hold on to that anger as if that anger will punish them.
I hate to admit how often I am like the wicked servant. In the parable Jesus is really quite strong in his response to this behavior. Verse 35 reminds us that there will be a high price to pay if we refuse to forgive others after the great gift of forgiveness that we have received from Him. ” That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.” Did you catch that ? If you didn’t, go and read it again. That verse is vitally important.
We can not hold on to unforgiveness! Jesus commands that we forgive. It does not have anything to do with how you feel. It is a command for us to obey.
You may ask, What if my husband does not ask forgiveness? What if my husband doesn’t even seem sorry for how he is treating me?
We are still commanded to forgive.
I didn’t deserve to be washed and cleansed. I don’t deserve any of the grace that Jesus has given to me. So why do I believe that I can require something of people around me that Jesus NEVER required of me. The idea that I should forgive because of what God did for me and not because of anything someone else did is a difficult thing.
There is a sense of justice within us that wants to be answered. We have this strong feeling inside that if we forgive this person who has hurt us that we are some how letting them off the hook for what they have done to us. But we need to remember that it isn’t our job to be the ones dispensing vengeance. God is a God of mercy and grace. That means each and every day he is giving us something that we don’t deserve.
Romans 12:19– Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.
We can take our hurts, and our pain and lay them at the foot of the cross. Let it go, and leave it to God. If you want to learn more about how exactly we can live this out take a look at our studies in the Psalms.