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Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Art of Forgiveness

    I learned something (or, I should say, remembered something) about my husband over this past week. Everyone has certain skills that they are good at, even great at. Some women are great mothers, seemingly born with a nurturing ability. Some men are excellent fixers. Give them a hammer, some glue, and a wrench and they can refurbish a Toyota in their sleep. Others have what I call emotional skills. These are less tangible, although no less important. Some can sense the aura of a room full of people simply by walking into it, while others can detect the deeply hidden pain in a close friend’s voice over the phone. Everyone has something (usually a few things) God has made them pros at. For my husband, it is the art of forgiving.

            I realized over this past week, as we fought and made up, that he is an excellent forgiver. There have been many times when we have fought and have done things (not on purpose, usually) to hurt each other. I, being the imperfect forgiver I am, will kiss and make up easily but not quite truly forgive him. I say (and even believe) that I do effortlessly enough. Yet, a few days or even weeks later the incident will pop up in my head and I’ll realize I am still harboring some anger. I may even (gasp!) save it for a later fight to throw back in his face just to prove how wrong he is.

           With my husband, though, when he forgives me it is as if the incident had never occurred. He says he forgives and, here’s the kicker, he actually means it! I stand there, waiting for some more words on how badly I’ve hurt him and how wrong I was, but they never come. Perhaps it is so hard for me to believe it is really as simple as “I forgive you” because God has not yet perfected that art in me. If the tables are turned and I am the one being asked for forgiveness, you better believe the accused is going to know exactly how wrong they are. (Yes, this is something I am working on) My dear, sweet hubby, however, has this ability to forgive the way God forgives us – by forgetting afterward!

         Perhaps this is not the kind of thing one thinks of when listing another’s good qualities and special skills and very few ever perfect this art. But let me tell you this – it is one of the most special skills a person can have. God said in Hosea 6:6, “I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.” Forgiveness is a Godly quality! Sometimes the Lord needs to shake us out of complacency and He will often use my husband to achieve this with me. Often, I do not even realize that I am swimming in self-righteousness until I see that sweet humility in my husband when he so readily forgives my trespasses. Or when he willingly apologizes to end a fight (even though we both know I was the one who was wrong).  Thank you, Father, for giving me a husband through whom you can mold me, and thank you that you have already set him apart for your own.

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