The Next Year of Your Marriage Devotional
Day 6: Because God is merciful, I promise to forgive you.
Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Here is a noble calling and a great challenge: be a ready forgiver. For where two or more are gathered . . . conflict will come.
Ephesians 4:32 may be one of the most important Scriptures in the Bible for a married couple. On the basis of this one short verse, you know that you should forgive because you’ve been forgiven, and you can forgive because you’ve been forgiven. Think of how often God has forgiven you. Should you not forgive your spouse in the same way?
So when you find yourself wounded by or disappointed in your spouse, act on these tandem principles:
1. You should forgive. Of course forgiveness is good for the one who receives it, but it’s also good for the one who gives it. When we forgive, we avoid the bondage of bitterness and resentment, and we replace any desire we have for revenge with grace. The act of forgiving does good to our own soul, putting the desires of the Spirit ahead of the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16-17). Even so, the greater point is that the presence of forgiveness makes Christ more visible to all who are part of, or privy to, the conflict.
2. You can forgive. If we’re honest, and when we’re thinking rightly, we have to admit that we have no claim to our own lives. We belong to Christ. But remember why we belong to Him and we’ll know that this is a loving takeover, not a hostile one. It is to our great and eternal benefit that we are His and no longer our own (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). The union with Christ that we now enjoy means that we receive from Him “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3), including the ability to forgive. He set the example of mercy (ultimately so at Calvary) and equips us to forgive.
Ruth Bell Graham said, “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” If you truly want Christ at the center of your marriage, forgiveness must be ready and waiting.
DISCUSS WITH YOUR SPOUSE
How have you seen the importance of forgiveness in your life as an individual? How has forgiveness affected your marriage?
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