Participants: Willie and Wilma Lee
Series Code: MGH
Program Code: MGH000034
00:30 Welcome to Marriage in God's Hands.
00:33 We are glad to be back with you. My name is Willie Lee,
00:36 your host, and our co-host is Wilma Lee.
00:40 Welcome. Today we talk about marriage and forgiveness.
00:44 And that's a very, very important topic because
00:49 it has a sense of freedom about it.
00:53 And God provides us with that freedom through forgiveness.
00:57 And we will pray with each other now as we begin.
01:01 Thank you, Lord, for knowing before we even know
01:07 how much we need You, how much we need forgiveness
01:11 and what it will do for us in our marriages.
01:15 And we ask you to be with us today to understand it
01:19 from the heart in every way.
01:22 Lord, we thank You because You have given us
01:25 the greatest model of forgiveness when You died for us
01:28 on the cross. We can't help but be amazed
01:32 that You would love us so much.
01:35 In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen. Amen.
01:40 Well, today we embark on a journey...
01:44 a journey that God planned
01:48 even before the foundation
01:50 of the world.
01:51 Because He knew we'd be here and we would need to know
01:55 what footsteps to follow. And we have the footsteps of Christ
01:59 who represented forgiveness and who actually accomplished it
02:04 for us through the cross.
02:06 But a lot of times - uhh - our marriages get stuck.
02:12 And a lot of the reasons for that hinge upon
02:18 the fact that forgiveness is not being offered,
02:23 granted, or asked for.
02:28 Well, I think because
02:30 forgiveness is...
02:31 well, not forgiveness but
02:33 those two words "I'm sorry, "
02:36 "I was wrong" are probably
02:39 some of the most difficult words to say
02:42 and probably are not said.
02:45 It's just... You know that I meant it
02:48 so we don't say it.
02:50 So, acknowledgement of the need for forgiveness
02:55 is maybe the first part. We can't get to forgiveness
03:00 and we can't know how to exercise it
03:03 without an acknowledgement that someone needs to start it
03:08 somewhere. Oh, definitely.
03:10 And usually that's not something anybody wants to talk about.
03:15 Well, God didn't mind talking about it in the very beginning
03:19 after man sinned in Genesis 3:15.
03:22 The promise is based upon His setting into motion,
03:25 from the foundation of the world a plan that included forgiveness
03:30 that He would be able to grant to man and actually
03:35 take care of the sin problem that exists in our lives.
03:40 But more accurately in Jeremiah the 31st chapter
03:44 I'd like to read a verse of scripture,
03:47 a passage of scripture in chapter 31 of Jeremiah.
03:52 If you have your Bibles, you might like to turn
03:54 in your Bibles to Jeremiah 31 and read along with us.
04:00 I am reading beginning with verse 31.
04:03 It's a very important passage because it sets the base
04:09 with God's promise being fulfilled.
04:13 "The day will come, says the Lord,
04:16 when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel
04:20 and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made
04:24 with their ancestors when I took them by the hand
04:27 and brought them out of the land of Egypt.
04:30 They broke that covenant
04:34 though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,
04:38 says the Lord. But this IS the new covenant
04:42 that I will make with the people of Israel on that day. "
04:47 The Lord said this to them... He says:
04:51 "I will put My laws in their minds, I will write them
04:56 on their hearts. I will be their God
05:00 and they will be My people. And they will not need to teach
05:05 their neighbors nor will they need to teach their families
05:09 saying: 'You should know the Lord'
05:13 for everyone from the least to the greatest
05:18 will already know me, says the Lord.
05:21 And I will forgive their wickedness
05:25 and I will never again remember their sins. "
05:30 Wow! That's quite a promise!
05:33 First you're going to forgive
05:35 and then you're not going to remember.
05:38 And that covers both areas that we want to talk about today.
05:43 But God started it. He says I'm not asking you
05:47 to do this without My already... not... I've already done it.
05:51 I've already set it in motion.
05:53 And He says that the day will come when you won't have to tell
05:57 your neighbor because everyone will already know.
06:00 And that's a fantastic promise.
06:04 That means that God is taking the responsibility
06:07 for providing forgiveness and for getting the word out
06:11 to everyone that forgiveness is available
06:14 and that when He forgives He remembers the sin no more.
06:19 I thought it was interesting, though, that He talked about
06:22 like a husband and a wife. Um-hmm.
06:25 Does that mean that He expects husbands and wives
06:29 to forgive each other?
06:31 Well, since God says that His wife is the church,
06:35 Christ's wife is the church,
06:38 He sets that example, and in Ephesians 5 He uses that
06:43 and then talks about the mystery of Jesus Christ
06:48 as the husband of the church - the wife.
06:51 But then He says but that's also I'm talking about
06:54 husbands and wives too.
06:56 And so this is another illustration of that mystery
07:01 that God has set in motion in which He says:
07:04 "I want to build my relationships in the family
07:09 upon the way a husband and wife treat each other
07:13 with forgiving love. "
07:15 Well, I hope forgiveness isn't a mystery
07:17 because then we're really in trouble! No! No!
07:20 Oh, OK. It's not forgiveness that's the mystery.
07:22 It's how the church and Christ and husbands and wives
07:26 are supposed to be matched and mated and modeled -
07:31 oh, oh - through the family.
07:33 So, God first modeled on the cross
07:35 and in His relationship with us.
07:37 Now we are to also model that for the world
07:41 so that the world can see what forgiveness is all about
07:44 when they watch the relationships between husbands
07:47 and wives. OK. So that's a tremendous promise.
07:51 But we need to apply it in a practical way
07:53 because to just spiritualize it does not accomplish it.
07:57 I think you are right, and It think that's probably
07:59 where a lot of people get in trouble with forgiveness
08:02 because when we just move it
08:04 to the spiritual plane,
08:06 then we are really confused
08:09 about it. And I always think of David in Psalm 51.
08:13 And, you know, I have a particular affinity for
08:18 The Message. And Psalm 51:10 in The Message Paraphrase says:
08:24 "God, make a fresh start in me. Shape a Genesis week
08:29 from the chaos of my life. " Wow!
08:31 And I think that's what we're talking about when we're
08:34 talking about forgiveness. We want a fresh start,
08:37 and we want a Genesis week: creation - yes -
08:42 in the chaos of our life. Cosmos... Cosmos versus chaos.
08:45 Yes! Isn't that something? God created cosmos.
08:48 He created a perfect world,
08:51 a perfect environment.
08:53 And God says that can be
08:55 re-created through forgiveness
08:57 by coming to God and letting Him
09:00 take the chaos of our lives and creating once again
09:05 the unity and the peace that comes... that happens only...
09:09 through God. And that's the uniqueness that we want to share
09:14 with couples today. And we'd like to share
09:16 a little bit more of that with you.
09:19 So, I guess one of the first things that has to happen
09:23 with forgiveness is that you have to acknowledge
09:26 that you need to be forgiven.
09:28 Well, I think it's that AND
09:31 sometimes the acknowledgement needs to be
09:36 that forgiveness is needed in the relationship.
09:41 Too often we want to place the blame on one person
09:45 and then say that person needs to acknowledge
09:51 they are wrong and ask for forgiveness, and I'm not
09:55 going to say anything or do anything until that happens.
09:58 Oh, you mean it takes two?
10:00 Oh, we are back to dialogue again? Again!
10:04 Back to dialogue. The dialogue needs to take place
10:07 so that each of us in the marriage...
10:09 both the husband and the wife...
10:11 must see the marriage as needing help,
10:15 the marriage as needing support,
10:18 the marriage as needing power to move and to grow.
10:22 And if we both work toward it and not worry about
10:26 who needs to get the forgiveness peace started,
10:29 but let both work toward forgiveness taking place.
10:33 Ah, so now we are talking about commitment. That's right.
10:37 Because we are committed to this marriage relationship -
10:41 that's right - and we want it to last for a long time,
10:45 so we will dialogue about how we work this thing out.
10:48 That's right. And not necessarily just the blame
10:52 but to admit how I feel about not having forgiveness
10:56 being processed and not having reconciliation taking place.
11:00 Even Jesus spoke about that when He says:
11:03 "If you have... if someone has aught against you
11:06 or you have aught against the other,
11:08 you leave your gift at the altar and you go back and make sure
11:12 that everything is OK before you come and give your gift. "
11:16 Ummm. So that means even in our personal prayers
11:18 if there is something that's hanging up
11:20 and that... making our marriage feel stuck
11:24 in one place without being able to move forward,
11:27 whether you are the person in the wrong
11:29 or maybe you have not done wrong,
11:31 you should take the responsibility
11:33 of seeing to it that there is some type of confrontation
11:37 in a loving way through dialogue to talk about where we
11:42 might get stuck and where we might be able to unstick it
11:46 and move forward with our relationship.
11:49 Well, you know, that's something we talked about in the
11:51 gifts of the Spirit:
11:53 the willingness to have a sweet relationship.
11:58 Yes! And you know, we are not alone.
12:03 The world has understood that there cannot be a completion
12:08 of reconciliation in a marriage relationship between two people
12:13 unless forgiveness takes place.
12:15 They don't want to acknowledge God necessarily in the world
12:18 but they have done research and have found out
12:21 that when forgiveness takes place there is progress
12:25 and growth in relationships
12:28 and that the relationship gets off of that sticky part
12:33 and moves on and flourishes when forgiveness takes place
12:37 in a relationship. So, without talking about God -
12:40 wow - even the world is understanding that forgiveness
12:44 is a necessary part of relationship building.
12:47 That's interesting. And here God has told us
12:50 this so long ago, and all we have to do
12:53 is acknowledge and use what He gives us.
12:56 That's what it comes down to.
12:59 And that's why we are going to spend some time today talking
13:02 about forgiveness and the components of forgiveness,
13:05 the parts of it, and some things that we may not
13:08 have thought about forgiveness before.
13:10 So we will share some of those special times
13:13 when we come back from a short break.
13:17 But if your marriage partner is not there,
13:21 if your spouse is not with you, go get them.
13:23 Come back and let's study a little bit more
13:27 and find out how forgiveness takes place.
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14:01 A handy little tool
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14:14 Welcome back to Marriage in God's Hands.
14:17 We've been talking about
14:19 And forgiveness is not a foreign
14:21 thing to us because most
14:24 Christians already repeat
14:27 the Lord's Prayer, and in that prayer it says forgive us
14:31 our sins - or our debts - as we forgive
14:35 those who sin against us - or trespass against us -
14:39 our debtors. So, God has already
14:42 said that unless there's forgiveness
14:45 that we extend toward others, we cannot receive it from Him.
14:52 So, share something that will help us
14:56 in this problem area of trying to acknowledge the need
15:00 for forgiveness. You know, sometimes I think
15:03 we repeat that not realizing
15:05 what we're actually saying.
15:07 We're saying that if we don't
15:09 forgive others,
15:11 God don't forgive me. Yes.
15:14 It's almost like a covenant that we are saying
15:16 we expect to keep our part so that you will keep Your part.
15:20 Yes. And if we really thought about that,
15:24 we wouldn't take that very lightly because, you know,
15:29 it's again. It's like the company stuff.
15:31 We bring out that for outsiders but we can walk around for days
15:36 and weeks and hold grudges and issues with people
15:41 that we live with and think that's OK.
15:44 OK. But that's probably because, you know, there is not
15:49 forgiveness for some things. Aren't' there?...
15:51 Some things are just so terrible and they hurt so badly
15:54 that we need to make people jump through a few hoops
15:57 before forgiveness takes place so they won't forget it.
16:00 No, that's not our responsibility first of all.
16:06 If I recall correctly, Romans 12 tells us
16:10 that the Lord says vengeance is His and HE will repay.
16:14 So we don't get to do that.
16:16 So it's not payback? No!
16:18 Then if there's not payback, then what about these things
16:22 that I have a difficult time forgiving in others?
16:27 Are there some things that really cannot be forgiven?
16:32 We have to forgive, but that does not mean - you know...
16:36 Sometimes we say I'll forgive it but I won't forget it.
16:39 Um-hmm. No, you can't forget it because humans have this
16:44 marvelous thing that God has given us called a brain. OK.
16:47 And somewhere up there as long as you are in charge
16:51 of your capabilities and facilities,
16:53 it's there... you can't forget it.
16:56 But I Corinthians tells you that love does not keep score.
17:01 Oh, wow! If I don't keep score...
17:04 'cause I can remember how many times something has happened
17:08 to me, and I'm saying well until something changes
17:11 I'm not going to forgive. Unless that person
17:14 can promise me they are not going to do it again...
17:16 So, how do I move on from that?
17:20 And what is forgiveness all about?
17:23 Forgiveness means that the next time you do it
17:26 it's the first time. Oh!
17:29 Are you telling me that I get a fresh start every time
17:34 with forgiveness? Remember Psalms 51:10?
17:39 "Lord, give me a fresh start. " If God gives me a fresh start,
17:44 then in our relationship I give you a fresh start.
17:48 So, between us as husband and wife then, we need to make sure
17:54 that we are not holding back something or denying something
17:57 because we haven't felt like forgiving, number 1,
18:01 or either we think it's too difficult to forgive that
18:06 because it hurt too much and it was such a terrible thing.
18:10 Exactly. Because we must give forgiveness as we experience
18:15 forgiveness. Oh, so that's the basis of forgiveness.
18:19 In other words, if I have been forgiven,
18:22 if God has been willing to forgive me,
18:25 then I must not withhold forgiveness from others.
18:29 Exactly! Isn't that what we pray?
18:32 Yes it is. That IS what we pray.
18:35 It just doesn't sound quite like that because of the Bible
18:38 language the way it's been put in the Bible,
18:40 but that's exactly what that means.
18:42 So forgiving does not mean that we don't forget.
18:46 It just means that we don't
18:48 bring that up and say: "Oh, you did that before so... "
18:52 I Corinthians says we don't keep score.
18:56 OK. So, if that's the case, then forgiveness takes place
18:59 because someone has already paid? Because, obviously,
19:05 if we don't make the person pay, somebody has to pay for wrong.
19:10 So, I guess, maybe Christ must be our substitute.
19:15 Through Christ, that sin, that wrong,
19:19 has been paid for on the cross. Yes!
19:23 So forgiveness is not only substitutionary,
19:26 it's grace based - OK - because you're getting something
19:30 you don't deserve.
19:31 All right. So, you can't earn forgiveness.
19:34 No. And you can't make a person earn it... earn the right
19:37 to be forgiven. No. Forgiveness is given out of love.
19:41 So how can I be assured, then, that if I forgive you,
19:46 you won't turn around and do it again?
19:49 You can't... because I'm human.
19:52 And that's the human frailty... that it just might happen again.
19:58 But that's no reason to withhold forgiveness, because
20:01 Christ did not withhold it from us just because we might
20:06 infringe upon that again.
20:09 Exactly. Now, there is a place for dialogue,
20:12 because if I care about you - um-hmm - and you tell me about
20:15 your feelings and you tell me what my behavior did
20:19 to make you feel uncomfortable, then I'm going to be aware
20:24 that you didn't like that. And if I really, really care,
20:29 I'm going to try not to do that again.
20:31 All right. So the intention, the effort, and the willingness
20:36 for change is what you expect.
20:39 Not that it's an accomplished fact that it will never
20:41 happen again. Yes, because I am human.
20:45 I still walk with feet... not wings...
20:47 so I'm capable of hurting your feelings again.
20:51 But there's always room for forgiveness again.
20:55 All right. And that's the promise I have to be assured of
20:59 that God provides. So it's through Him that it happens.
21:02 Not me alone doing it, but Christ has done it first
21:08 and I pass it along to you as my spouse.
21:11 Well, there's another area that we are concerned about
21:16 sometimes, and that is that I may not feel like forgiving.
21:22 I may still be hurting.
21:25 I may still not have enough belief in you as a person
21:31 and I feel that if I forgive you it will set up some situation
21:37 later on that I'll be sorry about.
21:39 So, shouldn't I wait till I feel more like it...
21:43 and then when I feel better then I can forgive?
21:46 Feelings where forgiveness is concerned
21:50 don't really fit because forgiveness is a principle
21:54 not a feeling. So you're saying that the act
21:58 of forgiving is something that is done whether or not.
22:02 In other words, I release that person
22:05 I release the obligation whether I feel like it or not
22:09 because that's what God expects of me.
22:12 Exactly. See, we are back to talking about that freedom
22:14 that God gives. And that's based upon God's grace. Exactly.
22:20 Well, you know, we can go into many different aspects
22:23 of that, and I have not found in the Word of God...
22:26 I don't know about you... I have not found in the Word of God
22:28 any sin that He will not forgive
22:32 that man commits against another.
22:35 You know, in the study of God's
22:38 Word, I'm always amazed at
22:41 how longsuffering He is
22:43 and how willing He is
22:45 to forgive us.
22:46 And how, even on the cross, He was willing to say
22:50 "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. "
22:54 Yes. And if God can give up His life
22:57 and forgive in those circumstances,
23:01 I don't think there's anything in our relationship
23:04 that we can't communicate about and forgive one another.
23:09 And certainly, through prayer,
23:12 we ought to be able to work things out.
23:14 Well, that's God's plan for us, isn't it?
23:16 That we actually, through prayer, gain the opportunity
23:21 and the power to extend forgiveness.
23:24 Because it comes from God.
23:26 We cannot forgive another unless we are empowered by God.
23:31 In fact, there a special power that James talks about.
23:34 In James 5:16 he says:
23:37 "If we would pray for one another,
23:41 we would be... " What? Healed. "we would be healed. "
23:44 So there's healing available for our problems,
23:49 for our sinfulness, for our misgivings in marriage.
23:54 And if we would learn to pray,
23:57 if we would learn to pray for one another
24:01 and with one another, God would bring the healing
24:05 into our relationship and place it on a much better basis.
24:09 And that's worth reaching for,
24:12 and it will help to unstick some of those sticky issues
24:17 that stop us from growing our marriage in the right direction.
24:21 And, you know, usually that text is used for physical healing.
24:25 Um-hmm. But sometimes there are emotional hurts.
24:28 OK. Sometimes there are other types of hurts in relationships,
24:32 and God will heal those as well if we'll just pray for and with
24:37 each other. You know, you have hit upon something that
24:40 we don't often speak about.
24:43 But because of the very sensitive nature of the mind
24:49 and the heart of man... as the Psalmist says:
24:54 "Who can know it? " Because there are some parts of us
24:57 that don't really get healed until something outside of
25:01 ourselves happens. And a lot of times
25:05 we can go into depression. We can experience
25:11 real low periods because there is not the healing.
25:14 We can help each other as a couple -
25:17 yes - in promoting good health yes -
25:21 and healthy relationships - yes - through prayer and
25:24 through forgiveness. Yes. We actually set people free.
25:27 And the text says: "If Jesus makes you free,
25:32 then you are free indeed... you are free indeed. "
25:34 And that's a real joy and a real happiness.
25:37 And it provides, I feel, it has provided us
25:41 through time with the opportunity to go and grow
25:46 our marriage even further than it's ever been before.
25:49 That's what forgiveness does: it sets you free.
25:52 Well, the Word of God says: "If you confess your sins,
25:55 He is faithful and just to forgive you and to cleanse you
25:59 from all unrighteousness. "
26:01 Let's stop and pray right now, and ask God as couples
26:06 if He would not forgive us
26:08 when we have withheld forgiveness.
26:11 Dear Lord. We know that it's the human thing
26:16 that stops us from doing what is right and best for us.
26:20 But we ask you that in Your divine power
26:26 provide us now with the opportunity to see
26:30 a new thing happening in our relationship
26:33 that forgiveness can happen.
26:35 And we ask it to happen for us now.
26:39 Thank you, Lord, for forgiving us first.
26:42 And now let us share that forgiveness with each other
26:45 and experience the joy and delight that comes from
26:48 being free in Thee. In the name of Jesus we pray,
26:52 Amen. Amen.
26:54 We hope that you have exercised with your spouse
26:59 the opportunity to dialogue and to talk about those areas
27:03 of getting stuck. We can tell you from experience that
27:08 when we have allowed that to take place and we enter
27:11 into those communications with each other that would bring up
27:16 those issues and then present them to the Lord
27:18 and to each other, we feel so much better after the fact.
27:22 We may not feel better before, but I guarantee you
27:25 through faith extending yourself toward God will help you to
27:29 extend that forgiveness - yes - and it will help to free up
27:32 that relationship, and you can grow your marriage
27:35 and you can reflect the very essence of who God is
27:40 as a forgiving, loving God.
27:43 God bless you today.