True Stories: Forgiveness is Stronger than Adultery

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True Stories: Forgiveness is Stronger than Adultery


Peacemaking for Families

Peacemaking for Families
Introduces the basic principles of biblical peacemaking and directly applies those principles to marriage, parenting, and other family relationships.
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When I first met with Brian and Julie, all they wanted was to resolve some legal issues and finalize their divorce as quickly as possible. Before I would discuss those issues, however, I wanted to know why they had decided to end their marriage. The surface reason was readily apparent. Julie had recently discovered that Brian had been unfaithful.Although Julie had initially been willing to seek joint counseling to try to save their marriage, her subsequent behavior had convinced Brian that there was no hope of repairing the damage he had done. Therefore, they decided to proceed with a divorce.

Sensing that there had to be deeper reasons for this decision, I continued to ask questions. Brian was obviously struggling with feelings of tremendous guilt. He admitted to me that what he had done was a sin and that he had been pleading with God to forgive him. After a long discussion, it was evident to me that Brian had truly repented of his sin, so I opened the Bible to show him God’s promises of forgiveness. When Brian learned that God had forgiven him, it was obvious that a great weight was lifted from his shoulders.

Sensing a significant change in Brian’s attitude, I asked if he would also like to be forgiven by Julie. To my surprise, he said no. Thinking he might have misunderstood my question, I repeated it, but he gave the same answer.

When I asked him why, he said, “I have confessed to Julie in the past, and she said she forgave me. But her forgiveness doesn’t mean a thing. Even when I really try to change my ways, she keeps throwing past wrongs in my face. Whenever she doesn’t get her way or we get into an argument, she reminds me of something I did months or years earlier. If she couldn’t forget those wrongs, there’s no way she’ll forget this one. I just can’t go on living with a person who keeps a record of everything I’ve ever done wrong!”

I looked at Julie and asked her if this was true. After thinking for a moment, she admitted that it was. “I know it’s probably not right to keep throwing those things back in his face,” she said, “but I just can’t forget all the things he has done that hurt me. Besides, he never seems to try to change.”

For the next few minutes, I described biblical forgiveness to them. I showed Brian and Julie that when God forgives us, he promises not to keep a record of our sins. Once we repent, he will never bring up our wrongs again. I then explained that God wants us to forgive each other in the same way and promises to give us the power to do so.


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Peacemaking Women
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When I ended my explanation, both Brian and Julie were deep in thought. In response to further questions, Brian again confessed that what he had done was wrong, and once more he said he was sorry for hurting Julie so deeply. In addition, he said he would be willing to get counseling so he could learn how to avoid similar sin in the future. Finally, he turned to Julie and said, “Will you please forgive me and give our marriage another chance?”When I looked at Julie, it was obvious that she was involved in a tremendous internal struggle. I silently prayed that God would give her grace to understand His forgiveness and to do what was right. Finally she said, “I can see that I have never forgiven Brian in God’s way. I have brooded over his wrongs and brought them up any time I wanted to hurt him or win an argument. If God were to forgive me the way I have forgiven Brian, I would be in a lot of trouble.”

Turning to Brian, she said, “I do forgive you, and with God’s help I promise never to use this against you in the future.” They both stood up, and Brian took Julie into his arms. They still had a great deal of work to do before their marriage would be fully healed, but the promise of forgiveness had opened the way for them to solve the other problems in their marriage and to be completely reconciled.

 

Skills

Posted on

February 19, 2015