Participants: Alanzo Smith, June Smith
Series Code: MGH
Program Code: MGH000051
00:30 Welcome to Marriage In God's Hands.
00:33 I'm Alanzo Smith, an ordained Minister of the Gospel.
00:38 And I am June Smith, Alanzo's wife.
00:42 Today we are talking about Empowering Couples to Forgive.
00:48 But before we do this, won't you bow your heads as we pray.
00:53 Father, we thank You for this new day.
00:56 And for all the possibilities that await us.
00:59 We thank You for the blessings and for the Holy Spirit
01:04 that You have made available to forgive us.
01:07 We ask, Lord, that as we contemplate
01:11 the events of our lives, that You will help us to be willing
01:15 to forgive those who have hurt us.
01:16 In Jesus' name, amen. Amen.
01:21 Empowering couples to forgive.
01:25 Let me share with you two passages.
01:28 Mark 10:7-8
01:34 I invite you to read with me.
01:54 Ephesians 5:31
02:12 Both Paul and Mark are endorsing
02:16 what was already written in Genesis.
02:20 The notion of the power of the attachment
02:25 between the husband and the wife when they come together.
02:30 We're talking about relationships,
02:35 and the meaning of relationships,
02:39 and the power of the attachment.
02:42 Let me share with you a statement about the
02:46 meaning of relationships.
02:48 Would you read along with me?
03:11 So, if you have hurt your spouse or wronged your spouse,
03:20 or if you have done something that you need to ask
03:23 for forgiveness, there are two things that you need
03:28 to understand even before you proceed to ask
03:33 for that forgiveness.
03:34 Number 1, you need to understand the meaning
03:40 of the spiritual attachment that existed between both of you,
03:45 as Paul and Mark and the Genesis passage have been telling us.
03:53 You need to understand the spiritual attachment.
03:58 That is consistent with John Bowlby's attachment theory.
04:04 John Bowlby, a British Psychologist, talks about
04:08 attachment as an emotional investment.
04:14 When two people form a relationship,
04:17 it's not just the physical attraction that
04:20 brings them together.
04:21 Well, that's a part of what brings them together.
04:23 But once they come together, they become invested,
04:28 not just physically, but emotionally.
04:30 And that is a commitment that brings them
04:34 to a very deep level.
04:37 The second thing you need to understand,
04:41 even before you ask for forgiveness,
04:43 you need to understand the emotional pain that occurs
04:50 when that spiritual attachment is threatened or broken.
04:58 Now again, Bowlby talks about the attachment that occurs when
05:03 two people form a relationship.
05:05 And he likens that investment to a physical,
05:12 what he would refer to as an amputation,
05:15 when that is severed or that is broken.
05:18 So the point we're making is that when two people
05:22 form a relationship and one injures the other,
05:26 there is a physical response that occurs,
05:31 as well as an emotional response.
05:34 People hurt at a very physiological level.
05:39 Like anxiety, guilt, and self-reproach.
05:45 Would those be some of the ones you're talking about?
05:48 Absolutely, people feel that they have contributed,
05:53 or the individual who is hurting thinks that to a large extent,
05:57 they are responsible.
05:59 Even though the person who hurt them is more likely
06:03 the perpetrator of the injury.
06:05 The person who is hurt feels or takes responsibility
06:10 to a large extent, and so they do feel self-reproach.
06:14 They experience fatigue.
06:16 They experience helplessness and shock.
06:22 Sometimes they have nightmares.
06:24 They will sit and cry through the night.
06:27 Taking responsibility for something that was done to them.
06:31 Not giving responsibility to the person who caused the injury.
06:37 Sometimes they even withdraw socially from society,
06:41 from the world, from friends, from everyone
06:44 because they're hurting so much.
06:46 And that's what we're talking about.
06:48 If you hurt someone, you need to understand the degree
06:53 to which they are hurting. You need to understand the pain.
06:56 And social withdrawal is one of those manifestations.
07:00 So we're saying, the person who is asking for forgiveness,
07:04 in order to appreciate and value the forgiveness he receives,
07:11 or she receives, really needs to understand
07:15 the injury that occurred.
07:20 Let's go back to the word of God.
07:22 Because there's a story there in Matthew.
07:24 Matthew chapter 18, Peter went up to Jesus
07:29 and asked a poignant question.
07:31 Matthew 18:21 says he went to Jesus and he says,
07:36 "Lord, how often should my brother sin against me
07:42 and I forgive him? Up to seven times?"
07:48 Notice Peters concern.
07:50 Peters concern was not a concern as to whether or not
07:55 he should forgive his brother.
07:58 Because Peter knows that there's no such thing
08:01 as an unforgiving Christian.
08:03 So his concern was not, "Should I forgive my brother?"
08:07 His concern was a concern of quantity.
08:12 "How often should I forgive my brother?"
08:18 So, Peter did not quite understand
08:20 the forgiveness process.
08:24 Especially in Peter's time, there were those rabbi's.
08:28 For example, Rabbi ben Sera, he taught that forgiving
08:33 a person two times is enough.
08:36 If they do it after that, you don't have to forgive them.
08:39 So no doubt, against that backdrop, Peter thought that
08:44 his seven times forgiveness was extremely generous.
08:48 So when we're hurt, and we are asking for forgiveness,
08:54 or we are forgiving, it is essential for us to understand
08:58 the process that is involved in forgiveness.
09:04 There are two things that we need to understand.
09:09 The first thing, we have to accept the reality,
09:15 accept your reality.
09:18 What has happened? That's your reality.
09:22 So, you have to accept the facts of the situation.
09:28 No matter how you try, there's nothing you can do
09:32 about what has happened.
09:34 So, don't distort the facts. Don't try to change it.
09:38 When you hear it, don't try to reframe it.
09:41 We spoke sometime before about reframing a situation.
09:45 Don't take your facts, don't take your reality
09:50 of the situation and try to reframe it.
09:53 Accept it as it is.
09:57 Another thing that is essential in accepting your reality is
10:00 understanding the meaning of that reality.
10:04 The reality is what it is. The facts are what they are.
10:08 But the meaning of that occurrence or incident
10:12 might be that you have to relocate from where you are.
10:17 It might mean you have to change schools.
10:21 It might mean you have to downsize.
10:23 The occurrence, the hurt, the injury has a meaning.
10:29 So as you prepare to forgive, it is essential for you to
10:33 understand the implications of that hurt.
10:36 And if you're going to accept the forgiveness
10:40 and say, "Yes I'm going to move on",
10:42 that's the reality.
10:44 Another thing that you will have to do is to
10:47 accept the fact that what has happened cannot be reversed.
10:53 We know the little nursery rhyme,
10:55 Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall and he had a great fall.
11:00 And all the kings horses and all the kings men
11:02 could not put Humpty Dumpty together again.
11:06 There are some things in life, once they have happened to you,
11:11 You cannot reverse the situation.
11:13 It makes no sense to spend the rest of your life
11:16 living it and going over it.
11:18 You have to get to the point where you accept it
11:21 and you move on.
11:23 So we're saying, one: accept the facts of the situation.
11:27 Two, accept the meaning of the situation.
11:30 And three, accept the irreversibility
11:33 of the situation.
11:35 Don't you think that it might be the
11:37 reason people have difficulty?
11:40 Many Christians accept that when you're hurt,
11:43 you need to forgive.
11:44 But many times, I talk to people and they say,
11:47 "Well, I forgive but I don't forget. "
11:49 And I think it could be that cognitively,
11:52 they haven't worked out these steps.
11:55 And so, spiritually and theologically,
11:58 they know they need to forgive.
11:59 But they haven't quite let go of all the meaning,
12:03 and the fact that it is irreversible,
12:05 or the details of what has happened or caused the injury.
12:09 And the concept of forgetting does not totally carry with it
12:14 erasing it from your memory.
12:17 Because there are certain things that happen to you in life
12:20 you will remember.
12:21 But when we say forgive and forget,
12:24 we mean forget the hurt, forget the pain.
12:26 So when you remember, you don't remember with malice.
12:30 You don't remember with hurt.
12:32 You remember but it doesn't mean anything.
12:34 Because you have forgiven, you have moved on.
12:38 You have gotten beyond that point.
12:41 And that's what the concept of forgetting means.
12:44 Not that the memory won't be there, but when you remember,
12:49 it won't be with malice.
12:51 Now in marriages and in families, many times
12:55 there is a lot of hurt to go around.
12:59 So the notion of forgiving is a constant.
13:05 Yes, we have to forgive.
13:07 We have to accept the reality.
13:11 And secondly, we have to work through the pain.
13:17 We're going to talk about that when we come back.
13:20 We're going to go into the question,
13:22 "Why should I forgive?"
13:24 So stay with us, we'll be right back.
13:26 We want you to hear the second part.
13:28 It's exciting.
13:30 You want to hear about it.
13:42 There are many "How To" books available.
13:44 But there's one that's free and perfect for every couple.
13:47 How You Can Build A Better Marriage
13:49 Bible-based matrimonial advice is given in a light-hearted
13:53 easy to read manner for those contemplating marriage,
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13:59 and everyone in between. Call or write for your copy.
14:17 Welcome back to our program Marriage In God's Hands.
14:21 We have been talking about Empowering Couples to Forgive.
14:26 Just before our break, we were discussing how you need
14:31 to understand the forgiveness process.
14:34 And the first thing we say is that you need to accept
14:38 the reality of forgiveness.
14:41 And secondly, you need to work through your pain.
14:47 You cannot hide from it.
14:49 There is a thing called geographic cure.
14:53 That is to say, individuals, in trying to find a cure
14:57 for their pain or for their situation,
14:59 they move from one location to another.
15:02 But still, whatever the issue is, it's not settled.
15:06 It's like running away from your pain.
15:08 You cannot.
15:10 We're saying you must work through
15:13 that forgiveness process.
15:16 Work through the pain.
15:18 So if you attempt to avoid or suppress the pain,
15:22 it only retards the forgiveness process, or the healing process.
15:30 Now you're looking at us.
15:34 You're listening and you're saying,
15:37 "You have described to us and explained to us that we need to
15:42 understand the whole essence of the forgiveness process. "
15:47 "But tell me something. Why?"
15:50 "Why should I forgive the person that hurt me so badly?"
15:55 "Why should I forgive for the pain and
15:59 all they have put me through?"
16:01 "Give me a logical reason why I should forgive that person. "
16:08 It's funny you say "logically" because it may not
16:11 necessarily be logical.
16:13 But that is what Christians do.
16:16 We forgive because we are required to forgive.
16:19 Now, one reason I can think that we should forgive,
16:22 is for what we call the remorse that we feel.
16:28 So in order to free ourselves from self-guilt,
16:33 we need to forgive.
16:36 As strange as it appears, when people hurt you or hurt us,
16:42 although they're the ones doing the hurting,
16:45 the injured person feels responsible on some level.
16:51 Sometimes they say things like, "What did I do
16:55 that allowed this to happen?"
16:56 "Maybe it's because I said this or did this. "
17:00 And it is true that in every conflict,
17:03 that happens between two people, on some level each person
17:08 contributes in some way.
17:10 But it still does not always explain the extent
17:13 to which the hurt occurs from the perpetrator.
17:17 So, the injured person is left with guilt
17:21 or is left with remorse.
17:22 And you want to forgive to free yourself from that
17:25 so you can move on.
17:28 I think that ties in beautifully with a concept, the notion of
17:33 forgiving for the peace of your own soul.
17:37 So if someone said to me, "Why should I forgive?"
17:41 I would look them in the eye and I would say,
17:43 "You should forgive for the peace of your own soul. "
17:47 When you forgive someone,
17:49 it's like a burden is lifted, removed.
17:54 It's like you start to enjoy the peace of Jesus Christ
17:58 within your own soul.
18:00 You can pray better. You can sing better.
18:05 You can worship better.
18:07 You can go to God and feel more confident
18:12 of that which you are asking Him for.
18:15 Because within your heart, within your soul,
18:18 there is peace.
18:20 And so, the forgiveness process must be based upon
18:24 not who the person is, but who you are.
18:27 You forgive for the peace of your own soul.
18:32 Another reason we forgive is because the past is the past.
18:36 What has happened has happened.
18:38 It's water, we say, under the bridge.
18:42 And to sit and dwell in the labyrinth of that experience
18:47 forever is non-productive.
18:50 So in order to move on, in order to get up and
18:54 put the pieces back together, you must forgive
18:58 or you should forgive.
19:00 As you talk about the past being the past,
19:04 do you know what it reminds me of?
19:06 It reminds me of an experience I had
19:10 early in my ministry as a young pastor.
19:13 I went to a church board to discuss a problem
19:19 between two feuding members.
19:21 And I was amazed when I asked how long
19:26 this problem was going on.
19:28 The lady who was making all this complaint and who was angry
19:34 and irate, she looked at me and she said,
19:37 "Pastor, I don't forget it sir. "
19:40 "I remember it as if it was tonight. "
19:44 "It happened 27 years ago, but I don't forget it. "
19:51 Unfortunately, some people carry grudges for a very long time.
19:56 I can't even imagine how difficult that must have been.
20:00 Can you imagine for all those years?
20:03 What constituted her prayer if she had such animus,
20:09 such pain, such hurt, such bitterness.
20:13 It's like carrying a wound that has not been healed.
20:17 And there are a lot of wounded people.
20:20 And please understand me.
20:23 I am not trying to minimize your hurt.
20:26 I'm not trying to minimize your pain.
20:29 I know that pain is real. I know that hurt is real.
20:34 Some of you listening right now, watching this program,
20:37 you might be crying because we're bringing back
20:42 what you have lived or what you are living.
20:47 I understand it.
20:49 But I'm saying to you, in the midst of that pain,
20:53 you have to find peace for your soul.
20:56 You can't carry it on forever.
20:59 You're dying slowly, when Jesus has the awesome power
21:04 to bring you peace and to give you rest.
21:07 It reminds me of a dentist who moved into an area.
21:14 And he had a beautiful home, white picket fence,
21:17 lovely green lawn.
21:19 But he had one problem in that neighborhood.
21:21 Some teens were riding their bikes across his lawn,
21:26 ruining his lawn.
21:27 Several times he called to the boys.
21:29 But they were always rude to him.
21:31 They would give all these sarcastic remarks.
21:33 And they would not stop riding their bike across the lawn.
21:37 So before long there was a track right across the beautiful lawn.
21:42 Well, one night he had retired to bed.
21:45 And he got a call.
21:48 It was from a desperate mother.
21:50 Her son was in need of care.
21:52 She said, "I have no money. Can you please help me?"
21:56 The doctor said, "Bring your son over. "
21:58 Would you believe me, to his amazement
22:01 when he looked at the boy that was sitting in his chair crying,
22:07 is was the same boy, the leader of the boys riding their bikes
22:11 across his lawn.
22:13 Wow, what a time to exact vengeance.
22:16 But what did he do?
22:17 As a good dentist, he sat there and he did his work
22:22 without money and without price.
22:24 That's awesome.
22:26 Isn't that what Jesus did for us?
22:30 Without money or without price?
22:35 And Isaiah tells us that.
22:37 Read with me, Isaiah 55:1.
23:01 This is the essence of true forgiveness.
23:05 So we're saying, we forgive because we want to
23:09 free ourselves from guilt and self remorse.
23:13 We forgive for the peace of our souls.
23:16 And we forgive because the past is the past.
23:23 To correct Peter's misunderstanding
23:28 of forgiveness, Jesus told this parable.
23:32 Do you remember that parable in the Bible
23:34 about the servant who owed his master?
23:37 The first one owed his master 10,000 talents.
23:43 And he went to his master and he said,
23:46 "Master, forgive me. "
23:49 "Give me some time and I will repay you. "
23:52 And the Bible says his master forgave him.
23:56 But no sooner than he got his forgiveness,
24:00 he went out and he saw someone who owned him 100 pence.
24:07 And he asked for his money.
24:09 And his fellow servant said, "Well if you could just give me
24:13 some time, I will pay you back. "
24:16 He said, "No, I need my money now. "
24:18 And his friend asked him, he said, "Please,
24:21 just give me some time. "
24:23 And Jesus said that man who just received forgiveness
24:27 of his 10,000 talents, he grabbed his fellow servant
24:32 by the throat and put him in prison for 100 pence.
24:40 Sometimes it seems that in families there are small deeds
24:47 that occur, that sometimes allow the injured person
24:51 to carry a grudge for a very long time.
24:56 As a matter of fact, Jesus had a message to Peter
25:01 in that story.
25:04 I can just imagine Jesus was saying to Peter,
25:09 "Peter, your transgressions and your sins before Me
25:17 is like a 10,000 dollar debt. "
25:21 "And you ask Me to forgive you. "
25:25 "And I forgive you of your 10,000 dollars. "
25:29 Let me just use dollars as a monetary unit.
25:33 Some people might not even understand talents.
25:36 And when you do the calculation, it's way beyond 10,000 dollars.
25:40 But let me just use that.
25:41 He says, "Peter, I forgave you of your 10,000 dollars. "
25:47 "Now your brother owes you 1 dollar. "
25:52 "And you're coming to ask Me, Peter, how often
25:57 should you forgive 1 dollar. "
26:01 So Jesus is saying, when we ask the question,
26:04 "how often", we have missed the point.
26:08 That's not the question.
26:09 The real question is, "Why should I forgive?"
26:13 Why should I forgive you? Why should you forgive me?
26:17 Why should we forgive one another?
26:19 And the bottom line is because Jesus Christ has forgiven us.
26:25 Isn't that awesome?
26:27 That's what forgiveness is all about.
26:29 So we're saying, in our marriages
26:31 and in our families, when injury occurs,
26:34 there are sometimes that it seems it is just something
26:40 we can't get over and we just can't forgive.
26:44 The reality is, regardless of what we feel,
26:49 we must forgive the person who has injured us
26:52 so that we can have peace in our souls,
26:56 so that we can free ourselves from guilt and self remorse.
27:00 And recognizing that what has happened is gone.
27:04 But more so, because Jesus has forgiven us.
27:10 And that's the most powerful thing.
27:12 And so, my friends, whatever your pain,
27:15 whatever your loss, whatever your injury,
27:18 whatever it is,
27:20 remember, we have a friend.
27:23 One who understands, One who sympathizes,
27:27 One who loves us.
27:28 Enough that He went to Calvary's cross.
27:30 And He's saying, "I'll be with you. "
27:33 "I'll carry you through your pain. "
27:35 "But I want you to free yourself of that pain
27:39 by letting go, by forgiving. "
27:42 May God grant you the power and the courage to forgive.