There we sat, my friend Cynthia and I. Sitting in cold, stale chairs in her pediatrician’s waiting area. Five other families surrounded us. Sniffling children. A receptionist at the front desk and a quiet television mounted in a corner.
My phone, the ringer on high, blasts from my purse.
It was Tracie. I talk and I talk, forcing Cynthia, the receptionist and the five surrounding families to hear my entire conversation. My voice loud and inappropriate for a small waiting area.
It was the receptionist.
“Hold on Tracie.” I turn to look at her.
“Mrs. Crenshaw, your phone call is very disruptive. Will you please step outside.”
My face hot with embarrassment and all eyes on me, I look to Cynthia. “I’ll go wait in the car.”
I grab my keys and take my phone call and purse outside. I sit in my gray minivan, turn the key in my ignition and … nothing.
My battery – dead.
Phone still to my ear, I look up to see Cynthia standing at the window.
“That’s what you get.”
“For having that obnoxious phone call. That’s what you get.”
I start to cry. “Cynthia! How can you say that? I’m humiliated enough. And now my battery is dead! I just need a little grace here!”
I pop upright in my bed. Awake. I look at the clock. 4:10a.m.
OH HALLELUJAH! It was a dream. The whole thing. A dream.
None of it happened. I am free from all of those emotions : Embarrassment. Frustration. Humiliation.
(side note: Cynthia would NEVER say that. She is so precious and gentle.)
So at 4:10 a.m. I think, LORD. Isn’t that just like you? All of our bad experiences, our hurts, our embarrassments, our humiliations, our foul mouths, our hurtful words, all of our mistakes – upon asking forgiveness – we are free.
As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12
I will think on that dream today. It was very real.
And much like our sin, there are repercussions. We may still remember. But in Christ, we get to take a huge sigh of relief and experience mercy that is new with each waking day.
Freedom and forgiveness.
So how does this Biblical truth hash out in marriage?
Coming from the chief of grudge holders (ahem, me), true forgiveness can be very difficult.
I tell you, I have such a humble husband (who is not writing today because he is camping – in 25 degree weather). Brent is quick to apologize and ask forgiveness.
Not everyone is like this. I’m not. Sometimes it is physically painful, seriously, physically painful to apologize. Can you relate? My flesh likes to wallow a bit in my frustration. But not Brent. He seeks resolution.
“One universal factor is required to turn any marriage around: COMPLETE FORGIVENESS.
Complete forgiveness means holding nothing between you and your spouse and deciding I will make a daily commitment to practice forgiveness as a lifestyle.” – Kendrick, Dare to Love
Read that again.
If you are in a difficult marriage…holy wow! Compete forgiveness may seem impossible. There may be years and years of hurt and history. But remember how much you are forgiven?
“God doesn’t skimp when in comes to forgiveness.” – Kendrick.
Why should we?
I am learning that forgiveness is easiest in light of God’s great mercy on me. I am learning, also, to allow God to take watch over my offender. God is the Judge, not me. I can release all of my vengeance, bitterness and frustration over to Him…and be free to love. sigh.
Love Dare #6
Pray through your areas of wrongdoing. Ask for God’s forgiveness; then humble yourself enough to ask your spouse for forgiveness as well. Whatever you haven’t forgiven in your mate, forgive it now. Let it go. Just as we ask Jesus to “forgive us our debts” each day we must ask him to help us “forgive our debtors.”
With Christ we are free and forgiven. And free to forgive.
God is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think – according to the power that works in you. Ephesians 3:20
I know this is a daunting dare for many. But God is able. In our weakness HIS STRENGTH is made perfect (2 Corinthians 12:9). Let Him do a work in your heart with this new waking day.
Choose to forgive and be free. Give it all to Christ. *Big sigh*