Finding the Strength to Forgive

“If you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Mark 11:25

Forgiveness is never easy, but it’s the vital first step toward healing. A woman once wrote to tell “Dear Abby” that her husband of two years had had an affair with a young widow, who then carried his child. The wife wanted to die; she also wanted to kill her husband and the widow. But she knew those weren’t the answers she needed. Instead she prayed to God, and the Lord gave her the strength to forgive both the husband and the widow.

The baby was born in the home of the husband and wife and raised as their own. He turned out to be their only child. In fifty years, wife and husband never discussed the incident again. “But,” the wife wrote, “I’ve read the love and gratitude in his eyes a thousand times.”

By praying for God’s help, this woman received peace, a loving marriage, and a child she otherwise wouldn’t have had. The next time anger and resentment rise up in your throat, get on your knees and ask the Lord for the healing work He wants to do in your heart. We believe He will hear and answer that prayer.

Just between us . . .

• Who in your life has been most difficult to forgive? Why?
• Is there someone you have never forgiven?
• How has God honored the times you’ve forgiven someone? • Do we have anything that calls for forgiveness between us? What?
• How will forgiving now make our marriage stronger in the future?

Dear Lord Jesus, forgiveness sometimes costs so much and hurts even more! But You forgave us—and now You ask us to forgive others. Teach us the heal- ing power of forgiveness. Help us to bring this gift of love to our marriage again and again. Amen.

• “Dear Abby” illustration from The Christ-Centered Marriage by Neil T. Anderson and Charles Mylander (Ventura, Calif.: Gospel Light/Regal Books, 1996).

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This devotional is taken from Night Light for Couples. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reservedUsed with permission.