I left for Bible study this morning thinking…I don’t really need this study. It’s not really for me. I’ll go for the awesome food (remember I’m totally preggo here) and fellowship. My sister-in-law and a couple of my best girlfriends are in the group.
And off I went…not in need of anything. Just going to chill and have some girl laughter and a great time.
We’re looking at the study Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst (You can find it here: http://lysaterkeurst.com/2012/08/surprise-watch-week-1-of-the-unglued-bible-study)
And then in class the unfortunate happened.
One question was asked.
It’s funny. When I went about answering the question in my participant’s guide, previous to today, I knew my answer wasn’t right, but I never realized how WRONG my answer really was.
You see, I’ve already shared in a previous blog post that my/our marriage is not only NOT perfect, but we have struggled to survive. If you haven’t read that post, here’s the reference to it: http://wp.me/p3Bh9m-8C
The real problem, however, is the fact that I am holding on to something and not letting go because that makes me feel victorious.
What? You ask. Because now you are confused.
You are in a marriage. Shame on you. There should not be winners and losers.
Okay. Okay. I get it.
But, please, give me a moment. Hear me out.
I am holding on to the one thing my husband has asked of me, “Brooke, please fully forgive me.”
And I have told him that I accept his apology.
And we have received some powerful help.
And we are studying God’s Word daily together.
And our lives as a married couple really are healing so beautifully.
And I have never seen so much grace or mercy extended from my husband in our nearly 13 years of marriage.
What he’s really asked of me is not for me to only accept his apology. Get help together. Continue to grow in the Word of God together. And appreciate the grace and mercy that he is learning to extend…
What he’s really asking me is to forgive him.
You see, I have been holding onto this question that he asked of me for nearly a year now.
Why? Because it gives ME control for once in our marriage.
I have the key to healing in our marriage—and it’s whether or not I fully forgive my husband.
And I REALLY like the fact that for once, I am the one that appears to have the upper hand.
But what hit me in the gut today was that holding on to this last key piece of healing in our relationship does not make me the victor. It does not make me the person with the keys. It has and is making me the slave…
See, I have felt for nearly the past year that if I give in to his question and forgive my husband—then I will have waved the white flag and surrendered defeat. As if to say, “What you did—how I have been hurt—it’s all over now. We’re all good.” Thumbs up.
And I haven’t wanted to do that.
I’ve been hurt.
And I have wanted to hold onto that.
And forgiving my husband—that means that I have accepted it. Right?
What I realized today is not that I have to accept how I’ve been hurt.
Forgiving my husband is not accepting defeat.
A synonym according to Merriam Webster online is Absolution.
Forgiving my husband is…setting free…
It’s funny. I typed in forgiveness in the Google Search Engine, and one of the top posts is from the Mayo Clinic. Here is the reference: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/forgiveness/MH00131
It specifically speaks on how forgiveness is actually good for you.
Of course, the Bible has taught this for thousands of years, but just because something has been taught for thousands of years doesn’t make it any easier.
And just because one of the most highly regarded clinics in the world claims its health benefits, doesn’t make it any easier.
Forgiveness comes down to one key and monumental decision.
What? I’m confused again. You just said that you didn’t want to surrender. You didn’t want to accept defeat.
I was wrong.
Surrender does not mean that I have waved a white flag proclaiming defeat. In fact, just the opposite.
Surrendering to my “need” or “desire” to hold on to forgiveness and actually extending forgiveness to my husband does not make me smaller or weak.
It actually makes me strong.
Here’s a small excerpt from the Mayo Clinic on forgiveness (found from the same link mentioned above):
What is forgiveness?
Generally, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. The act that hurt or offended you might always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, positive parts of your life. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.
Let me restate that last line for you…
Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.
That’s what I need, friends.
Perhaps it’s what you need too.
I’ve been holding onto whether or not I will forgive my husband so that I will feel strong.
But I haven’t felt strong at all.
Now…Now, however, I feel well.
And it’s time for us (Rich/me) to feel well together. It’s time that we receive together the “peace that lets us go on with our lives.” Together.
And I know that is what God asks of us. Heck, it is what God has extended himself to us. I understand that it-forgiveness-is not just a good thing. It’s a great thing. It’s a God thing.
I learned today that what I thought was already taking place in our marriage, healing, wasn’t really taking place like it really could. Like it really should.
Now. From this day forth, however, it will. Healing in full.
Healing because I have not waved the flag of defeat but I instead am choosing to wave the flag of forgiveness.
Man, what an awesome flag that is!
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you (me), will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (NLT)