The Honeymoon's Over

by J. Randal Matheny, editor
latindiscord.jpgIn his book about forgiveness, Brazilian author Hernandes Dias Lopes tells about a bride who made detailed preparations for her honeymoon. On that special night, she presented herself to her husband, dressed all in silk.
Instead of the endearing terms and gesture of tenderness she expected, he said, “You’re dressed like a prostitute!”
For 20 years that wife carried the wound of those words. She never felt pleasure in her relationship with her husband. Her bitterness led her into adultery.
The lack of forgiveness produces resentment and bitterness. In the fertile ground of forgiveness, love grows.
“The one who forgives an offense seeks love, but whoever repeats a matter separates close friends” (Proverbs 17:9 NET).
Besides indicating, by its inclusion, the difficulty of forgiveness, the Lord’s prayer shows the interdependence of our forgiveness and God’s.
“and forgive us our debts, as we ourselves have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). Luke’s rendering makes it clear that debts refer to sins (Luke 11:4).
The more we understand the enormity of God’s forgiveness, the easier we will be able to forgive.
And God’s continuing forgiveness of his people depends upon their imitation of his disposition to forgive.
The love of God explodes any attempt to limit or extend forgiveness on a human basis (Matthew 18:21-22). While Peter thought seven pardons was a merciful and gracious number, Jesus shows us that the forgiving heart stops counting altogether.
Forgiveness trumps health (Matthew 9:2). Extended to others, it must come “from the heart” (Matthew 18:35).
Forgiveness is the key to restoring and cultivating relationships. The experience of God’s salvation comes “through the forgiveness of … sins” (Luke 1:77). Redemption is summed up as the forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14). This is true in our relationship to God, and to one another.
Failure to forgive, then, destroys relationships. Only when we refuse to hold others’ failings against them will we be able to build lasting and intimate relationships in the home, in the church and in the world.
Because honeymoons end, sometimes, before they begin.

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