As Christians we know we must forgive others, as God has forgiven us. But, as one woman discovers after being betrayed by her husband, this can be really tough.
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In Matthew 18:21 Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother when he sins against him. Jesus’s best-known answer is 70 times seven.
I have forgiven my ex-husband more than 490 times but I have a long way to go. I still harbour anger against him for breaking up our family.
It is easy to say ‘I forgive’, but so much harder to mean it.
In 2009 my husband announced that he wanted to end our marriage of 17 years. He initially denied having an affair. It was only at a marriage counselling session that he finally admitted it.
He moved out and my life spiralled into despair. Our children were confused and scared.
I couldn’t eat or sleep, cried constantly and contemplated ending my life. But God had other plans. A call to someone who had gone through a similar marriage breakdown made me realise I had a lot to live for – my children needed me.
God led me to three women I now consider best friends. My KYB (Know Your Bible) group prayed with me, and shared stories of forgiveness. The Bible reminded me I was not alone. God was with me.
Both my pastor and counsellor talked about forgiveness. But how do you forgive someone who has broken a sacred vow of marriage and lied to you? The grief was worse for me than when a loved one dies.
But just as my ex-husband chose to end our relationship, I also had a choice. I could let unforgiveness continue to make me sick or begin the process of learning to forgive and to heal.
Forgiveness is not about condoning the actions of an adulterous husband, it is about acknowledging that we all make mistakes and will be called to account before God.
It is about forgiving yourself for your failures, letting go of negative feelings and replacing them with positive, hopeful ones.
It is about learning how to trust and love again. It is about finding peace by talking to God and reading his word.
For me forgiveness is an ongoing process. I can’t change my past. I can only move forward into all God has planned for me. As God forgives me, I also must forgive others. Thankfully, he is there to guide me.
This is a true account by a member of the LCA.
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