Participants: J.D. Quinn (Host), Mike and Gayle Tucker
Series Code: IAA
Program Code: IAA000268
00:30 Welcome. I'm J. D. Quinn. This is Issues and Answers.
00:33 I have some special guests with
00:35 us today. We're talking about
00:37 marriage. I want to first go to
00:39 our scripture reading. And this
00:41 is taken out of Matthew 6:14-15. For if you forgive men their
00:47 trespasses your heaven father will also forgive you, but if
00:52 you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your
00:57 father forgive your trespasses. That is so true. Like I was
01:01 saying, we're talking about marriage today and then we're
01:05 going to also talk about forgiveness. A lot of people
01:08 think they go hand in hand and I think I agree with that.
01:12 We have Pastors, that's with a pleural, Mike and Gayle Tucker.
01:17 from Arlington, Texas. I've spent a little time with you
01:20 and you're just a precious, precious couple that love each
01:23 other. But more important that you love the Lord. Tell us a
01:26 little bit about yourselves quickly.
01:28 Well, we are from Arlington, Texas. We pastor a church there.
01:33 We get the privilege of
01:35 pastoring together and we've
01:36 done that for about 14-1/2
01:38 years there, which is kind of a
01:40 long time in Adventism. But it's
01:42 just a wonderful congregation
01:44 and they have blessed us immensely. We have two
01:47 daughters; they are both grown. We have a son-in-law and they
01:52 are a blessing to us. Yes they are. In addition to
01:55 what we do at Arlington, I'm speaker/director for Faith for
01:58 Today television and Gayle joins
02:01 me in that labor as well. God
02:03 has just been so gracious to let
02:05 us participate in such a wonderful ministry. Faith for
02:09 Today is actually the second oldest, longest running
02:13 broadcast in the world. It's the longest running religious
02:17 broadcast in the world having been on the air this spring for
02:22 57 years, which is incredible. So God has blessed greatly
02:26 and we give glory to his name.
02:28 That's 1950. That's right, 1950, that's when
02:31 it started. It was May, 1950 by William and Virginia Fagal.
02:34 That exactly right. Then Dan Matthews followed them.
02:38 Dan Matthews after that. We get to stand on their
02:42 shoulders. That's the good news.
02:44 Also I understand you have one of the larger churches, 1800
02:49 members. That's right. And you also have a master's degree in
02:55 counseling. I do. So what we're going to be talking about today
03:01 you come by honestly because you have talked to a lot of
03:05 people about forgiveness. Normally, I guess, when we're
03:08 talking about marriage in some instances there's a lot of hurt,
03:12 there's a lot of pain, there's a lot of resentment. Where do
03:16 we go with that? You know, that's not an easy
03:20 question and to give a brief answer would seem to be trite
03:24 and insensitive to some people because the buildup of pain and
03:28 resentment is just huge. If the trust has been violated in this
03:32 marriage through an adultery or through some other problem,
03:35 or maybe there's alcohol or drug abuse or there's physical
03:39 violence and yet there's a desire to go on with the
03:42 marriage, to get to the point where we've forgiven one another
03:45 is just a long journey. And I don't think that that's going to
03:49 take place overnight. But it is important to start the process.
03:52 I think in that we also have to learn what forgiveness is and
03:57 what it is not. Forgiveness is not saying to you what you did
04:01 to me does not matter. It doesn't say it was all right
04:06 that you did this; it doesn't matter. It does say what you did
04:10 to me was wrong but I refuse to carry the resentment with me
04:14 anymore. By the grace of God I choose to release this so that
04:18 we can find a new way of relating to one another and I'm
04:21 not going to live with the pain and the bitterness that I once
04:25 had. Yes, what you did was wrong It caused me pain; that is
04:28 undeniable. But I'm not going to stay here. I'm going to
04:32 choose another route, another journey.
04:33 You know, the biblical word for forgiveness is a word that
04:37 indicates cancelling a debt. It says you owe me something,
04:41 but I'm cancelling that and I'm not going to require that you
04:45 pay it. And that's what Jesus did for us. He cancelled our
04:50 debt. So he, by his grace, has given us the ability to learn
04:54 how to do the same thing for someone else. In fact, the only
04:58 thing that can cancel our forgiveness he says is the
05:01 unwillingness to forgive, to pass that on to someone else.
05:04 So forgiveness is something that is essential in a marriage
05:07 because, as we talked about in one of the previous programs,
05:11 anybody that's married is married to an imperfect person.
05:15 And that person is married to an imperfect person as well. So we
05:19 are going to hurt one another from time to time. There's going
05:24 to be harm and damage in any human relationship. So we've got
05:28 to figure out what to do with it. What are we going to do with
05:32 that kind of pain. Rather than letting it build up between us
05:35 and separate us, what can we do?
05:37 We have found a biblical plan that Louis Smeads used to use in
05:43 his books and we have adapted the plan somewhat and changed
05:48 a few of the details of it, but this four-part biblical plan
05:53 we think really goes a long ways to helping provide a
05:57 structure so that people can enter into the process of
06:00 forgiveness. Forgiveness we need to see is not just an act but a
06:05 process and is a decision. Some people think forgiveness is an
06:09 emotion. No it's a decision. Very often the emotion will
06:12 follow the decision if we persist in the decision but
06:15 it is a process and a decision. And so this structure gives us
06:20 some guidelines in going through that process. I'd like for Gayle
06:24 to begin to share with us what that structure is.
06:27 Well you know I think often we kind of get a wrong idea about
06:32 forgiveness because of the way we grow up as Christians at
06:35 times. We'll do something wrong and our mom will say all right
06:39 tell them you're sorry. And you say you're sorry. And to the
06:43 other person, now tell them it's okay. So you say it's okay and
06:47 so we think that forgiveness just means just saying it's
06:51 okay. It's really more than that. It's a process that can
06:54 take a very short time if the offense has been small or it can
06:58 take months or even years if the offense has been very large.
07:05 The four parts are four H's and the words are hurt, hate, heal
07:10 and harmony. Hurt, hate, heal and harmony. The first one of
07:15 those is hurt and this is the time when you acknowledge the
07:20 fact that what was done to you did hurt you. You go ahead and
07:24 feel that pain. As Christians sometimes we think we're not
07:27 supposed to do that. We're just supposed to immediately say I
07:31 forgive you and it is as though everything is okay, but in our
07:35 heart it's not. So we have to acknowledge the fact that I have
07:39 been hurt and we ask ourselves the question, what was done to
07:43 me and how has it affected me? So that's number one. You just
07:47 feel the pain, you acknowledge the pain, you acknowledge the
07:52 fact that you have been injured and you go ahead and feel that.
07:56 Basically what we encourage some people to do, especially if the
08:00 injury is great, is to begin to write this in the form of a
08:03 letter that you don't mail. Maybe it's a letter to God where
08:07 the first part of this letter is dear God this is what was done
08:11 to me and this is how it has affected my life. Let's say that
08:14 you were abused as a child. Well the way it has affected your
08:18 life is trust is now an issue for you. Anger may be a problem
08:22 for you in your life. You may
08:24 feel that you're susceptible to
08:26 abusing someone else now because
08:28 of the anger and the pattern
08:29 that you've had. It may by difficult for you to trust a
08:32 spouse in the future. It may have changed your attitude
08:35 about who God is. All of those are things that have impacted
08:39 your life as a result of the injury that was done to you.
08:42 I think in order for us to forgive we have to know what
08:45 it is we're forgiving and so we have to get this on the table.
08:48 You look at the Psalms. David did this. He outlined
08:52 specifically what it was that his enemy did to him and he
08:56 doesn't mince words. He told exactly what the enemy did. He
09:00 hurt me without reason, he has lied about me, he has slandered
09:04 me, he's stolen from me. On and on he goes. He's shedding
09:08 innocent blood. So David was very specific about it, about
09:12 the injury that was done to him and so should we be because if
09:16 we don't do that hard work then when we say I forgive you it's
09:19 not really done because we don't really know what it is we're
09:23 forgiving. So we forgive the act but also its affect upon our
09:27 lives. So in our marriages it may sound
09:29 different than what David said. It may not be my enemy did this
09:33 to me, but it may be my husband
09:37 spoke so cruelly to me. He was
09:39 so angry with me over such and
09:42 such that I feel is unjust and what has that done to me?
09:46 Well it makes me feel like less of a person. It makes me feel
09:50 like I don't want to engage with him anymore in conversation or
09:55 in our marriage. So you make it specific. What was done; how did
10:00 it make you feel, how has it damaged you, what is the pain
10:03 that you have felt because of it.
10:06 Let me ask this one question.
10:09 Let's just say that John has an
10:12 affair so of course that
10:14 covenant has been broken.
10:17 Now we know that Julie, his wife, she is in extreme pain.
10:22 Could not John be in extreme pain too?
10:26 Yes he can be. Basically John could be in pain because there
10:31 may be things that were wrong with the relationship prior to
10:35 his affair. That does not excuse the affair. It does not say that
10:39 the affair was right or justifiable or an
10:43 understandable result of that. But he may have been suffering
10:46 from a bad marriage in advance of the affair. The other thing
10:49 that happens to John if he's going to put the affair aside
10:53 to go back to Julie is that in most cases he will grieve the
10:57 loss of the affair relationship even though it is elicit, it is
11:00 wrong, he will grieve the loss of that in his life because it
11:04 was meeting a need in his life. So there will be pain over that
11:08 experience as well. He may even need to forgive himself for
11:11 having made such wrong choices. So John may be doing the same
11:15 thing himself with Julie, with himself, with the other person,
11:19 with his bad choices. He may need to go through the same
11:22 process. Now often just in day to day
11:25 life when something happens we're both feeling hurt, we're
11:29 both angry over the same thing because we see it from two
11:33 different perspectives and it may require forgiveness on both
11:36 parts in order to come back together. So I think you make
11:40 an excellent point. It sometimes is a simultaneous thing.
11:43 Yeah. We may be forgiving each other at the same time.
11:47 So identify it, feel it, acknowledge it and don't act
11:51 like you have to pass it off in order to be a good Christian.
11:56 Then the second word is hate. We say that sounds like a pretty
12:00 harsh word. We're not supposed to hate anyone, but what we're
12:04 talking about here is to feel the emotion of what it was that
12:08 happened and feel the anger. When you are wronged frequently
12:12 you're very angry about it at some level. You may be an
12:16 explosive person so it's right here and everybody knows you're
12:19 angry. If you're not an explosive person it still may be
12:21 there. But the anger is there. So at this stage you acknowledge
12:26 that anger and you say to yourself, what has this person
12:31 done, how has it affected me and what do I want to do? What does
12:35 it make me want to do to that person?
12:38 Basically you ask, who did this and how do I feel about that
12:41 person? How do I feel about that person? There may be different
12:44 parts of you that feel different ways. Julie, in our previous
12:48 illustration, a part of her may still love John and a part of
12:51 her may want to do him bodily harm. So a part of me loves him,
12:55 a part of me hates him and I think sometimes it's safer to
12:59 express it that way. A part of me really would like to never
13:02 see you again in my life. That's how it's made me feel about
13:06 you. So who did this? John did this to me, he violated the
13:09 sacred vows of our marriage, and how do I feel about him? A part
13:13 of me wants to never see him again, a part of me wants to
13:15 hurt him physically, a part of me wants to hurt him emotionally
13:19 And again, we have biblical precedents for this too don't
13:21 we? Well David talked about that
13:22 and he says may my enemies babies be dashed against the
13:27 stones, may their teeth be broken. He said some terrible
13:31 things. But he was saying them to God and I think that's key
13:34 is that we're sharing with God, this is exactly how I feel about
13:38 this. It basically is being honest. It means to be honest
13:43 with God. It's not like he doesn't now anyway. We try to be
13:48 pious or something in front of God so he won't know that we
13:52 feel this way. He knows everything that we feel.
13:55 He knows our hearts. So be honest with him because he's the
13:58 one person that you can work through this with. For me, I
14:03 always say that this stage of hate is my always driving down
14:07 the road stage. I'm alone in the car, there's nobody else there
14:11 with me and I am making up a speech about what I'm going to
14:15 say to this person or what I wish I could say to this person.
14:19 But this is where you continue the letter. You write down
14:23 because you have done this, this is how I feel about it. This is
14:29 what it really makes me feel, what I want to do. You don't
14:33 follow through on those things but you are honest about the
14:37 fact that it's there. To act like it's not there is just not
14:41 true. Personally I would think that if
14:43 I was John in this situation, I love the way that you stated
14:46 this, part of me hates you John, the other part we have a history
14:51 together, we have memories together and I do love you.
14:54 I don't know the situation, but just empathizing here, if I was
14:58 John I could understand that. I could understand why you would
15:03 hate me, I hate myself. And yet it gives me hope
15:06 to know that there's still a part of you that cherishes me.
15:11 God commands me to forgive but right now I don't really want
15:15 to. But at least not all of me wants to but part of me does
15:19 because I want to do what God wants and I want a relationship.
15:23 If I didn't want this relationship, I wouldn't have
15:25 married you in the first place. So there are so many conflicting
15:29 feeling that go on and when we act like they don't exist we are
15:33 not being honest and we're not being healthy.
15:37 So it's important that we get all of that out, that we not
15:40 let it fester. This is a boil, we need to lance it and get all
15:43 of the ugliness out so that healing can begin from the
15:46 bottom up and that's what this process is about. And again we
15:49 see the perfect example of that in the psalms where David was
15:53 very specific about what was done to me, how it's affected
15:56 me, who did it, how I feel about them, what I'd like to have
15:59 happen to them. He was very specific about those things.
16:02 So that would be a good place, that would be a good cathartic
16:07 chapter to read just to kind of get an idea. As someone's going
16:10 through this is grab the psalms and see how David handled it.
16:14 He was a man after God's own heart.
16:17 He was. The psalms are so rich in helping us to work through
16:21 all of the emotions of life and all of the things that we
16:24 experience in life and we don't know quite what to do with them.
16:27 David gives us some wonderful examples and the other psalmists
16:30 as well. In fact, it has been said that
16:33 every human emotion is somehow cataloged in the psalms and the
16:36 psalms are not just great poetry nor are they just songs, they're
16:40 prayers. So when David was praying he said, Lord blessed be
16:44 the man who dashes my enemy's babies against the stone, Lord
16:48 make my enemy a vagabond and let no one show him mercy, make his
16:51 wife and children vagabonds and let no one show them mercy
16:55 either. That's real hatred. But fortunately David didn't stop
16:58 there either and neither should we. We need to go on the next
17:01 step. So the next step is called
17:03 heal. Well how do we heal? That sounds easy but how do we heal?
17:07 Basically healing is when we say all right, this is what has
17:12 happened, this is how I feel about it, now what am I going to
17:17 do with it? What do I do with these feelings? What I'm going
17:22 to choose to do is to give them to God and basically to me that
17:26 is a matter of trust. That's saying, all right, Lord you said
17:30 all the way through the Bible, if I read through the Bible and
17:34 I see the great themes that are there, one of the themes is
17:37 that you will be the judge and that you will make things right
17:41 in the end. I don't have to judge anyone or be responsible
17:45 for that. If that's true, then I can hand this to you and I can
17:49 know that you will absolutely do what you said, that you will
17:53 make it right in the end so, you know what, I don't have to carry
17:57 it around. What a great privilege to know that there's
18:01 someone who will carry this burden for me. It doesn't belong
18:06 to me anymore. It's too heavy for me. My life has not joy when
18:11 I'm carrying this around. But I can put it somewhere where I
18:15 know it's safe and it will be handled because God said I will
18:19 make things right in the end. Okay Lord, I believe you. I'm
18:24 going to trust that you'll do it so it's yours.
18:26 And does he not say, hey you that are weary and heavy laden
18:31 come unto me. My yolk is easy, my burden is
18:36 light. Yeah, and when I'm tempted to
18:38 take it back or to feel this resentment toward that person
18:43 again, then I can remind myself, oh that's not mine, that's his.
18:48 I have put it over there. I have laid it down.
18:50 One of the ways to do this physically is to actually write
18:54 a letter of forgiveness. You write, John, you had the affair
18:58 on me and it hurt me. It broke my heart, it broke my trust, but
19:02 I've chosen to forgive you. So you write the letter. You say
19:05 the words, I forgive you, I choose to forgive you, I choose
19:08 not to carry this burden any more. I'm going to let it go.
19:11 I'm giving this to the Lord. Once you've written the letter
19:14 it's important to read that out loud to a significant person,
19:18 maybe to John, maybe to a pastor or a counselor, but to read it
19:21 out loud and then to do something physically with the
19:24 letter. One of the things we encourage people to do is to
19:27 maybe put it in an envelope and mail it, address it to God
19:31 in care of the pastor you trust or a counselor and actually put
19:34 it in the mail box. Or other people will create a locked box
19:38 that they decorate and call their God box and then through
19:42 some ceremony or prayer of their own they give this issue, this
19:46 letter to God and they lock it up. Now this belongs to God
19:50 this whole issue belongs to him and every time you're tempted to
19:54 think about it again, to go over it again, to feel that pain
19:57 again, you say no this is no longer my issue. I've given this
20:01 to God, I don't have the right to this. I've chosen to forgive
20:05 and I'm going to behave as a person who has forgiven. This is
20:08 God's. I don't have the right to take it back. It's no longer
20:11 mine. That's something that's physical which helps people deal
20:14 with the fact that, all right, I've chosen to forgive. I date
20:17 the letter. I've done this. I've given it away to the Lord.
20:20 There's a miracle that takes place when you do that because
20:24 God actually will remove it from your heart, from your memory.
20:28 You know, I tell Mike sometimes
20:30 that I'm blessed with a terrible
20:33 memory because there have been
20:36 things where we've had disagreements or arguments and
20:41 I'll just remember later, yeah, I know we argued but I don't
20:45 know what that was. And I laugh about having a bad memory but
20:49 what I really believe about it is that God takes it away and
20:54 that it's a miracle that he performs. Then we deal with the
20:58 consequences of whatever had happened. If it's an affair,
21:02 we're going to deal with the consequences of that and that
21:05 may be long-lasting but the burden of carrying around
21:09 resentment and anger is no longer there. We don't have to
21:14 do that. Which takes us to our last step
21:16 in this four-part plan of forgiveness.
21:18 And the last step is called harmony.
21:21 What a beautiful word! Isn't it? It's a great word.
21:24 How can I be back in relationship with this person?
21:28 How would I treat them if this had never happened? So I'm going
21:34 to come back into relationship with them and be in harmony
21:37 again. In a marriage relationship you would hope
21:40 that you could come back into harmony to a point that you
21:42 really would never remember that it had happened again.
21:46 Now, as I said, there are consequences at times that we
21:49 have to work through, but we can come back into harmony. Now the
21:53 one thing that we want to be sure that people understand is
21:58 that if you were talking about a situation of abuse, sexual,
22:03 physical abuse then you don't want to come back into
22:07 relationship with that person in the same way where it would
22:11 be a danger to you. It may not be safe to be in close
22:15 relationship with that individual again if it's a
22:19 parent or an uncle or whoever who has abused you or even a
22:23 spouse. It may not be safe to be in the same relationship again.
22:28 But you can have harmony in terms of no longer carrying the
22:33 resentment, allowing God to have that and being able to relate in
22:38 whatever way is appropriate with that person. So we are not
22:41 advocating that people say I forgive and then put themself
22:44 back in an abusive situation.
22:47 That's right but you do have the freedom now of living without
22:50 the resentment or the pain. And you can say, all right, even
22:53 though I'm not going to be back
22:55 in relationship with you, I'm
22:56 not going to carry around this
22:58 pain or the resentment any more.
22:59 God has freed me of that burden and now I can live
23:02 free in his forgiveness and in his grace and in his joy.
23:06 I can love you the way God loves you. I can see you the way God
23:09 sees you and can care for you in that way.
23:14 This step of forgiveness though is such a hard step especially
23:18 in cases like this that another technique that we've taught
23:21 people is something that we've borrowed from Corrie Ten Boom
23:25 who talks about borrowing the forgiveness
23:27 of Jesus when she felt no
23:28 forgiveness in her heart towards someone who had abused her.
23:31 She talked about meeting a sergeant who had been at one of
23:34 the concentration camps and he was horrible and yet he had
23:38 obviously been converted and so he stuck his hand out to shake
23:41 hers after she had just preached on forgiveness and grace and she
23:44 didn't have the power to take his hand and so she just prayed
23:47 God let me borrow the forgiveness of Jesus for this
23:50 man until I have my own and then she was able to take his hand
23:54 and shake the hand of this abusive prison guard.
23:56 So sometimes we have to do that. Lord I don't have it within me
24:00 to forgive but I'm going to borrow the forgiveness of Jesus
24:03 because I want to do what you've commanded me to do. I borrow
24:07 Christ's forgiveness for this person while I have none of my
24:10 own and I'm going to use that forgiveness until you give me
24:13 forgiveness for this individual for myself.
24:16 Man, that's powerful. Oh and it's beautiful.
24:18 It's a wonderful concept. And Corrie Ten Boom said in that
24:21 situation it was as though the Spirit of God had actually
24:25 picked up her hand and moved it there. He gave her that gift
24:28 of forgiveness of borrowing his.
24:31 If the Lord would give it to her he will give it to us.
24:36 He will give it to us. You know, there are wonderful things about
24:40 this. We have seen people use this plan of forgiveness and
24:44 recover from all sorts of things. I've seen men and women
24:48 forgive each other for the most horrible of experiences.
24:51 One couple in particular I remember he was a very cold,
24:55 harsh, legalistic, unloving husband; drained the love out of
24:58 his wife's heart and she did something that was wrong, it was
25:01 a bad choice; she had an affair. He found out about it.
25:04 She confessed, she repented of it. He said that he forgave her
25:07 but he really did not and he still let this anger build up
25:11 inside of him. Finally he decided to get even so he went
25:15 out to have an affair himself and he was successful in doing
25:18 so. She figured it out. They came to me for counseling but
25:21 he was not telling the whole truth and I knew that. So I kept
25:25 pushing him to tell the whole truth. He would only admit to as
25:28 much as he knew she knew. So finally I gave him a book to
25:31 read. He said, this isn't a marriage book. I said I know,
25:34 it's the book you need. You read it and come back. He protested
25:37 but he read it and then all of a sudden when he came back he
25:41 started to confess everything. He was open and honest about it.
25:44 And it changed him and his wife said this is the man I've always
25:48 wanted to be married to. I can't believe it. She said shouldn't
25:52 we go back and look at his past though just to make sure that
25:55 he doesn't change again. I said well we can sister but who do
25:58 you trust, God or Freud? She said well if you put it that way
26:02 I'm going to trust God. So it changed him. I've seen God do
26:06 this. What we have to recognize also is that God has forgiven us
26:09 as well. We need to forgive ourselves. Not just know that
26:13 our spouse has forgiven us, that God has forgiven us, but we need
26:17 to forgive ourselves. We don't have the right to hold
26:19 resentment against ourselves. Paul tells us that there is no
26:24 condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. That means that
26:28 God won't condemn you. If Satan condemns you he tells him to
26:32 shut his filthy mouth. If I condemn you God won't listen,
26:36 but it also means that you don't have the right to condemn
26:39 yourself. Jesus himself said that he didn't come into the
26:42 world to condemn the world but that the world through him
26:45 might be saved and that's what he wants for you and for me.
26:49 We're running out of time. We've got 45 seconds. Let's close this
26:53 up by a thought. My thought is this is that when
27:00 God forgives you, you don't see that sin again. He says I put
27:03 your sin as far away from me as the east is from the west.
27:06 He didn't say the north from the south. You go due north, you hit
27:09 the North Pole, you're going south. He said east from west.
27:13 You can go due east throughout all eternity and never see west.
27:16 You'll never meet your sin again and that's what he can do for
27:20 you. Amen, Amen. So actually that
27:24 would be like the depth of the sea. That's right.
27:28 Fifteen seconds. Well I think we need to
27:30 remember that God moves us through this as a process and in
27:35 day to day life we'll have little hurts and we can move
27:38 through this in a minute or two. In the big hurts, it may
27:42 take time but God can do it for us.
27:44 Yes Amen. Needless to say, we love you. Thank you for being
27:49 here. This has absolutely been fantastic.
27:52 We love you out there in our TV land too. God Bless You.