Forgiveness takes time, effort, intentionality and God.
I don't have it in myself to be a completely forgiving person, but God is utterly and infinitely forgiving and I have Him, so that makes all the difference.
God can enable me to forgive anyone, but He also allows this whole forgiveness thing to be part of my sanctifying. Do you remember how many times Jesus said you have to forgive? 70×7 (Matthew 18:21-22). His point was that we need to forgive a lot. Why would He say that we were gonna need to forgive so much if we weren't gonna need to forgive so much?
I think that if Jesus was just talking about how much we forgive in general he wouldn't have even needed to say 70×7. I can absolutely forgive one person one time... It's having to repeatedly forgive the same person that's tricky.
In my situation with my ex—forgiveness must be offered without request or repentance. In fact, I think we have been moving further away from repentance rather than closer to it over these past few years. So forgiveness is challenging—and continually choosing to forgive is also challenging (sometimes almost as much as the first time).
In marriage we must continually offer forgiveness. It is the same in divorce. But I'm kinda getting the impression from people that it is not okay to have to repeatedly forgive my ex. That I should forgive and move on already. (I think that is a message I'm getting about a lot of things, but I will hit that in another post.)
When I forgave my husband's adultery and then his abandonment I didn't understand the nature of forgiveness... at least not totally. I kind of expected some warm fuzzies and some serious peace about things... a happily ever after of sorts. Although I did experience that peace which passes all understanding, it came with a cost. I had to and continue to have to lay aside my feelings in order to embrace the gospel as it relates to forgiveness. And boy does it!
God has modeled forgiveness for us... and to us.
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