Something happened between my wife and I. I love her very much and, in word at least, have forgiven her. I want to trust her again, but morning to night my thoughts go back to what happened and I find myself in unguarded moments making up things that she “might be” doing while I’m away. I believe she is sorry for what happened. I believe she loves me. I know my mistrust of her will further damage our marriage if I continue and I may become bitter. How terrible that would be! I hurt, but I hurt her with my mistrust and make the “wound” raw with mistrust. We talk, I’m better for a while then back I go………..Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. Can you prayerfully show me how He desires me to forgive? A lasting, forever forgiveness?
The first thing to do is admit, not that you might “become” bitter, but that you “are” bitter. Hebrews 12:15 says, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you…” You have been hurt, and that hurt keeps “springing up” and flooding your mind; making you troubled. That is bitterness. The first step to total recovery is just being painfully honest with God. You cannot confess the sin of your wife — she has to do that personally. But you can, and must, confess your own sin. I John 1:8,9 says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Along with confessing your present sin of bitterness, you must also be painfully honest with yourself to see if all things were right on your part before your wife did this thing. Psalm 139:23,24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Can you now look back and see where she was trying to give you hints that she needed your time and affection? As you look back now, did she make requests back then that you did not take seriously? Things that maybe seemed trivial or foolish to you at the time, but things that you now see were very important to her? Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.”
Your “back and forth” thoughts about forgiving her, or being angry with her, is answered by Matthew 26:41, which says, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: THE SPIRIT INDEED IS WILLING, BUT THE FLESH IS WEAK.” You testify that you are saved, so your spirit belongs to God, and wants to forgive your wife, as the Bible commands you to do. Ephesians 4:31,32 says, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, FORGIVING ONE ANOTHER, EVEN AS GOD FOR CHRIST’S SAKE HATH FORGIVEN YOU.”
But while your spirit is saying, “I forgive my wife,” your flesh is saying, “No way! I will NEVER let you forget how you have hurt me!” What you must do is NOT LET THE FLESH HAVE A VOTE in how you are going to handle this problem. This is not something that is easy to do, but it is called “dying to self.” I Corinthians 15:31 says, “I die daily.” That is why you are fighting this “up and down” struggle. Some days, you may be forgiving, loving, and kind to your wife. Other days, you may feel so angry at her, that you lash out at everything she says to you. It takes a DAILY “dying to self.”
Romans 7:18-23 says, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”
The reason that Eve did the wrong thing, is because she let the flesh have a vote in that inner struggle that was going on in her mind, too. Genesis 3:6, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” THE BATTLE WAS LOST IN HER MIND. She SAW that the tree was good for food (that was the flesh thinking it over in her mind). God said that if they ate of it, they would die in that day, but the flesh argued that it was not poison or anything like that. Then, she considered in her mind that the fruit was PLEASANT to the eyes (the flesh once again reasoning, “How can something so pleasant-looking be so bad?”). And then, she considered the serpent’s promise that it would make her more WISE if she ate of it (the flesh, once again, being allured to the easy way to get anything, including knowledge).
How can you forgive someone that has hurt you so greatly? Only as you think about what Christ has done for you, will you find the strength to truly forgive. Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS, CHRIST DIED FOR US.” While we were still out in our unfaithfulness to Him, He loved us enough to die on the cross for us.
Should you forgive your wife and allow her to still be married to you and to live with you? That question will only be settled in your mind as you think about your relationship to God. When we sin, should He allow us to still be His children? Should He still allow us to go to heaven and live with Him forever? Yes to both questions. John 6:37 says, “…him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” Hebrews 13:5 says, “…he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
When we give in to the flesh, and are angry, we are only putting ourselves in bondage and shackles. John 8:34 says, “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” When we daily die to self, we eventually find it easier to not give in to those angry thoughts. The longer that we are free from that sin, the less that sin finds a foothold in our minds. With each passing day that we personally obey the Word of God, more freedom will come. John 8:32 says, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Going through these hard times in our lives, makes us realize more clearly what Jesus suffered for us, and molds us more to His image. John 1:11 says of Jesus, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” His own people did not desire Him and accept Him, but turned aside to others, instead. Now you know, from personal experience, how Jesus felt.
Philippians 3:7-10 says, “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SUFFERINGS, being made conformable unto his death.” I Peter 4:1,2 says, “Forasmuch then as CHRIST HATH SUFFERED FOR US IN THE FLESH, ARM YOURSELVES LIKEWISE WITH THE SAME MIND: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.”
The key to that “lasting, forever forgiveness” that you so much desire, is a daily dying to self on your part. Romans 6:7 says, “For he that is dead is freed from sin.” It is hard to die to self, because the flesh fights it all the way, every day. But when you do, you will experience a new peace in your life that cannot be explained. John 12:24-26 says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” If you will obey the Lord, you will be honored and blessed for it.