It was just a little lovers quarrel between two neighbors, David and Rachel. Then every week after that for forty-two years, he wrote her a love letter, asking her to forgive him, and every week she promptly burned the letter. Her heart was stoic and unforgiving. Finally, he summoned the courage to knock on her door and ask her to marry him. She said yes! They were seventy-four years old when they finally married!
Sad story, isn’t it? To have wasted forty-two years that they might have shared loving one another instead of holding a grudge. As I read that story recently I thought about how easy it is to think you’re so right that you will not forgive. Satan feeds us lies:
- You could not possibly give in because by doing so, he wouldn’t learn the lesson he needs to learn.
- Forgiving would rob you of the joy of hurting him like he hurt you.
- Forgiving would make you a doormat.
Yes forty-two years is a long time, but do we have a right to hold a grudge for forty-two days? How about forty-two minutes? No, forty-two seconds might be more like it.
We might all admit it’s wrong to stay angry and unforgiving, but HOW do you forgive? How do you let go of your right to stay angry? How do you let go when you’re sure you’re right and he’s wrong? The biblical answer is to see yourself standing before the cross. Are you behind your husband because you don’t need God’s forgiveness as much? No, we must see ourselves standing side by side before a bleeding, dying Savior who forgave us though He had done NOTHING wrong. We forgive because we are forgiven.
We forgive in God’s strength alone. We cannot muster up enough gumption to do this in our flesh. Our flesh believes the devil’s lies and “burns the letter.” But when we come to the Lord, we ask Him to give us the grace to forgive.
We forgive because it makes us like our Savior. We let go of our right, as Christ did and we bear His likeness so that a watching world may see His life in us.
Recently my husband said to me something that touched my heart. “Whenever we’re angry with one another, let’s just embrace.” You know what happens when you do that? The anger melts away. Humility and vulnerability are involved and the tensions are released.
What issue stands between you and your husband? No matter how big or small (and most times it’s the little things that get blown out of proportion that cause the most grief), there is nothing that is worth wasting forty-two minutes, hours, days or years over. Humble yourself and make it right.
Do it today. Time for your love is passing and you’ll never get it back.