I came into our marriage with baggage from of my past. A strained relationship with my dad made me assume that no man could be trusted — Mark included.
As time progressed, it became obvious that my relationship with Mark was destined to have the same issues I’d experienced with my dad, unless I admitted and adequately addressed them.
As I confessed my previous areas of distrust, Mark was not only able to explain how he was different, he was able to show me he was different. Just because I hadn’t been truly able to confide in my father did not mean that I couldn’t rely on Mark.
My healing took a while. My relationship with my dad shifted some, but the real change came within me. I forgave my dad, and as I did so, it released my heart to trust. I grew to see that not everyone was out to hurt me.
Jesus’ words in John 20:23 were especially poignant on this issue. “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”
In the Greek, Jesus is saying that when we forgive, the harm is aphiemi or sent away. But when we hold onto an offense (krateo) and do not let it go, that issue will gain possession of us and become our master. In other words, if you stubbornly nurse a grudge, then you are keeping your heart open and vulnerable for someone else to hurt you as well.
Only when we forgive by sending offenses on their way can we be ready to start afresh with healthy relationships. In The Bait of Satan, John Bevere says that “the way you leave a … relationship is the way you will enter into your next … relationship.” I hadn’t enjoyed my relationship with my dad, so why would I want to propagate it in a different form with my husband? Forgiveness was my only option to break free from continuing the destructive cycle.
Throughout our marriage, I have continually grown in trust and surrender. That is not to say that Mark and I have never hurt one another. But in the midst of the pain, we’ve come to realize how effective forgiveness is for our healing. True forgiveness holds an added ingredient of forgetfulness. As we refuse to revisit a resentment, we can gradually forget it as well.
Capturing the offenses committed against us and sending them away through forgiveness benefits us in every area of our lives. It increases the effectiveness of our prayers (Mark 11:25) and strengthens us to trust Christ more. If you are having trouble in the faith department, it could source from indignation over some past offense. Invite the Holy Spirit to shed light on any past resentment, so that you can forgive and be freed to trust Him.
Life is messy and will bring pain. Throughout your life, you will need to surrender your desire to hold a grudge. Exploring this truth allows trust and surrender to overflow into our soul.
It’s comforting to know that even Christ didn’t surrender just once. Jesus had to give His choices daily to the Father. It wasn’t a “once and done” action. Each morning, He had to get up and reaffirm His submission to follow and forgive. If Christ had to yield to His Father repeatedly, how much more should we follow His example? Persistently, we must give our Father our attitudes, even if bitterness and anger seem justified in the moment (1 Peter 3:16).
Whose offense do you need to send away from you today?