Point 3: Forgiveness is the sealant of resolving conflict.
The Word of God is very clear that we must forgive just as Christ has forgiven us. (Ephesians 4:32). We are to be KIND to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another. Kindness disarms a lot of explosive conflicts. Forgiveness is not based on feelings...it is a choice and it is a choice of obedience to what God's Word says. We have heard it said multiple times that "forgiveness doesn't make the other person right, it makes your heart free". God looks at the heart...we want to keep our hearts right with God. Forgiveness is a MUST if we are to do that. It's our responsibility to God to seek and grant forgiveness.
What does forgiveness look like?
A. Seeking Forgiveness
The offender needs to admit to him/herself and God about being wrong...be specific.
The offender must be willing to accept responsibility for the consequences. ADMIT YOU ARE WRONG & APOLOGIZE with a REPENTANT heart.
"I was wrong. I shouldn't have____"
"I am sorry I did ____, and that I caused you to feel____"
"I know that I have hurt you deeply, and I do not wish to hurt you this way again."
The offender much be willing to discuss the attitudes and desires that may have led to the offense.
Humbly seek forgiveness. ASK for it...
B. Granting Forgiveness
Forgiveness means you give up the right to punish the other person. You've relinquished the desire to get even. How do we do this?
The offended spouse needs to grant forgiveness.
True forgiveness isn't pretending something didn't happen; it's not conditional; it doesn't mean you forget and it is not an automatic cure for the hurt.
Just because you forgive, doesn't mean the memory goes away. Remembering is the cost; forgiveness is choosing not to punish your spouse.
Granting forgiveness sets your spouse free from the debt of the offense; it's letting go of an attitude of vengeance and resentment.
Forgiveness is the first step toward rebuilding trust and reconciliation. The bigger the offense, the more time may be needed for healing and reconciliation.
BOTTOM LINE: forgiveness is a command of God; granting forgiveness is a choice and an act of obedience toward God.
PRIVATELY: "God, I forgive ____for hurting me."
SPECIFICALLY: "I forgive you for____"
GENEROUSLY: "Let's settle this issue and get on with building our relationship"
GRACIOUSLY: "I know I've done things like that myself."
Reconciliation takes time. Rebuilding trust is a process, some shorter then others; however, it is a process that you need to purpose to begin. Some things to consider with the process of rebuilding trust:
It is rebuilt through consistent behavior over time.
Your spouse's hurt doesn't disappear automatically...extend grace and time.
Ask God for wisdom and patience. When we are seeking wisdom about anything we go to Proverbs, which is the book of wisdom in the Bible. The Message version is great because it's condensed and put in plain English...easy to understand.
Point 4: Conflict is minimized when we purposefully choose to bless one another in marriage.
To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit (1 Peter 3:8).
In order to bless your spouse in marriage, begin by purposing to be a blessing...Get a new attitude! Remember:
You are on the same team.
You have each other's best interest at heart.
There is no win/lose in marriage...it's either win/win or lose/lose...choose to be a winning marriage team with an attitude that blesses.
Part of a winning/blessing attitude means choosing to speak blessings instead of insults (1 Peter 3:9).
Choose to respond kindly when offended.
Focus on God and what the Word says about your spouse, about your marriage, about your relationships...and about who you are in Christ.
This is only possible through Christ, the Anointed One, living on the inside of you, which takes us back to THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE IN MARRIAGE: A Personal Relationship with Jesus Christ. Only the love of God on the inside of you will equip you to love your spouse the way God loves your spouse on the days you may not like each other very much.
Conflict is common in all marriages because we are
different from our spouse. Learning to resolve and handle conflict in a Godly way is key in achieving a healthy, successful and thriving marriage...the ultimate goal is marriage oneness.
Be sure to read Part 1 of "We Fight Too" for points 1 and 2. If there is an area that we want to improve in we have to purpose to learn together. One of our goals each year is to read at least one marriage enrichment book together. Consider reading one of these together:
Fight Fair! by Tim and Joy Downs
Choosing Forgiveness by Nancy Leigh DeMoss