What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ. — 2 Corinthians 2:10
The authors of The Love Dare declared today’s dare to be the toughest in the whole book. They write, “Forgiveness has to happen, or a successful marriage won’t.” (p. 121) I recall hearing that “what a marriage takes is two good forgivers!” What this means is that good marriages aren’t ones in which there is never any hurt, never any disappointment, never any betrayal, never any mistakes . . . . but marriages which follow 1 Corinthians 13:5 which says, “(Love) keeps no record of wrongs.”
How important is forgiveness? The authors say, “When you forgive another person, you’re not turning them loose. You’re just turning them over to God, who can be counted on to deal with them His way . . . It’s about freedom.” (p. 123) And we can add that it is about peace. Carrying around the burden of unforgiveness is especially dangerous during deployment because it can cause distractions and guilt. Misunderstandings can be so common when you are geographically separated—we must always be in a posture of grace, thinking the best of each other (Day 7).
Easier said than done? Perhaps, but it’s worth it if you can day-by-day surrender the arguing, the winning-and-losing, the rehearsing of wrongdoing, the scripting of grievances—and let God do what He promises in Romans 12:19, “’Vengeance is Mine, I will repay’, says the Lord.” This does not mean that things don’t get addressed that need to get addressed. “It just clears you of having to worry about how to punish them.” (p. 123) This is not a simple issue, and more will be said in days to come. But try the dare—you might feel like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders.
Here is today’s dare during deployment: Say “I choose to forgive” and mean it.
I appreciate Mary Dixon Lebeau’s writing in “My Love Dare Journal: Part Two” for Day 25: “. . . .well, I’m always one argument, one suspicion, one hurt away from ripping open old wounds all over again. Why? Well, I guess the truest answer is that it hurt . . . . But as a Christian, I believe I am forgiven. I have confidence that the blood of my Savior has washed away my sins—not just covered them with red, but cleaned my soul white again. So if the perfect God is willing to do this for me, how can I deny forgiveness to a fellow struggling sinner?” Mary and her husband took the dare—so can you.
Here are Scriptures to encourage you in truth:
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. — Ephesians 4:32
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. — Colossians 3:13
Kendrick, Stephen and Alex, The Love Dare (Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, 2008)
Lebeau, Mary Dixon, “My Love Dare Journal: Part Two,” FamilyLife.com, January, 2009