And so that’s the same thing with forgiveness,
So many times talk about people,
I just can’t forgive them,
and they’re speaking out of their emotions,
I don’t know if I’ve forgiven them or not,
and then they’re talking to us.
I don’t know if you’re forgiven or not.
You may be one choice away from the driving bear.
Welcome to the operation of driving here.
Too quiet work.
everyone thanks again for being here for the operation,
thriving marriage podcast.
Get to be in the studio with my wonderful wife,
jen and our producer Todd out there.
How’s it going,
Got uh some interesting things to,
wade into today.
It gives you we’re gonna be talking about the topic of forgiveness.
That’s a that’s a fun one.
It’s it’s but it’s almost kinda cliche,
We always talk about forgiveness in church and obviously forgiveness is huge part of our faith.
It’s I mean,
how we are reconciled to God.
Go on and on.
We could do an entire podcast series.
people could do a whole,
series of series of podcasts on forgiveness and what it means,
but I don’t want to say it’s talked about too much.
I don’t think you can talk too much about it,
but at the same time,
you hear about all the time in church,
It’s just what more could there possibly be to say about forgiveness that we haven’t heard.
I think there’s a lot to say,
because I think there’s a lot of things in forgiveness that we’re hearing in churches where it’s just presumed,
but it doesn’t really flesh out in a lot of times,
the congregation doesn’t get the tools and the equipping about how to do it or what do you do if you feel like you’re failing or it’s like,
oh my goodness,
I’ve tried to forgive this person so much,
so many times for this one particular incident and I’m still struggling with that.
I just want folks to know they’re not alone in that and we really want to make sure that we’re giving you some more practical tools to be able to get you to forgive.
And if you feel like you’re struggling and forgiveness,
you’re certainly not alone and we can see what we can do to direct you through that.
That’s a good point.
kind of we talk about love and it’s becoming more popular church,
that love isn’t just a feeling its actions and inside note,
I’m so grateful for that because,
I don’t always have the warm and fuzzies about people,
come on now,
that’s my honey,
I love my honey.
But it’s about it really being a verb and being in action because God certainly commands us to love.
But you can’t command somebody to have a warm and fuzzy feeling on the spot,
but you can command the actions to be loving towards a person.
And then I think the feelings a lot of times follow,
even if they’re not super warm and fuzzy,
at least you’re more positively predisposed.
And that’s so true.
it’s a command.
And so that’s the same thing with forgiveness,
So many times talk about people,
I just can’t forgive them and their speaking out of their emotions or just I don’t know if I’ve forgiven them or not and then they’re talking to us.
I don’t know if you’re forgiven or not because I don’t know what’s in your head and your heart.
That’s one of things that when we get into this a little bit later today,
forgiveness is commanded.
Forgiveness is an action.
Forgiveness is what you do not what you feel.
That’s a huge piece of it because you don’t always have to feel for giving me the emotions follow action if you want to feel something,
start acting like it and it’s not it’s not fake it till you make it.
Because that’s that’s just ridiculous.
But understanding that what you think about and what you do and how you process things affect how you feel about it.
It’s what you believe.
It starts in your head,
start on what you think about what you can control and then the emotions and stuff kind of follow along there.
It just pivots really on the actions and I think that that’s the big thing there.
And a lot of times those emotions can just go ahead and follow.
So when I mess something up when I sin,
I missed the mark.
I screwed something up.
What do you do when you want to forgive me?
That’s a huge question.
What I try to do.
first of all,
I need to unplug because something’s happened where I’m hurt,
It’s like you said something,
done something in it because there would be nothing to forgive.
Talk about a little bit more about what unplug means though.
So just take a moment to myself,
especially me being an introvert.
I need some time to myself to be able to process things and so unplug.
Take a moment to get out of the situation.
And then the big thing for me is two fold one.
We’ll talk about the definition of forgiveness and a little bit,
but it’s making that choice of you don’t have to pay me back for something.
You don’t owe me anything.
But then also,
it’s the team marriage idea.
It’s remembering the goodwill presuming.
whatever jen just did.
She did not intend to hurt me.
You didn’t intend to hurt my feelings.
You didn’t intend for this for me to be feeling pain or feeling anxiety or anything.
I’m not the type to try to do that on purpose certainly.
And you know,
we should never be out to punish our spouses or give them a hard time or treat them as a combatant.
They’re supposed to be somebody on your team,
That team marriage.
And so for me,
when I need to take the action to forgive,
I’m releasing the debt as it were.
I’m choosing that.
You don’t you don’t owe me an apology.
You don’t you don’t have to make up for anything.
I’m making that choice.
I’m not going to force something out of that.
The first step is always for me remembering team marriage and presuming goodwill in you.
brian that hurt.
So I feel that pain.
I feel that emotional experience,
whatever it is,
that was horrible that I didn’t like that.
Why did jen do it?
I don’t know why she did it,
but I know it wasn’t intended to hurt me.
And then from there,
I can move on to restore.
And I think in marriage,
restoration is very important.
We’ll talk about that a little bit more later.
But then it’s one of those I come to you and say,
I know you didn’t mean to hurt my feelings.
I know you didn’t mean this to happen,
but it did.
And here’s how I felt.
And I want you to know,
I mean we’re good and but I reach out and restore and we have a conversation about that and you always are repentant because that’s just who we are.
That’s important in marriage.
But I never wait for your repentance before I forgive,
it’s always forgiveness is the first step.
And oh by the way,
jesus died for all of us before we repented and jesus tells us to pray forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Forgiveness doesn’t start with the other person’s repentance.
Forgiveness always starts with the individual doing forgiving.
It started with God for giving us when I want to forgive you.
That’s the process.
you’ve had the dubious pleasure.
Pleasure is the wrong word,
the dubious honor perhaps of representing people in divorce.
You’ve dealt with divorces and divorce law is never a fun happy process.
Tell me about a marriage that you’ve seen,
where there was no forgiveness and what did that look like?
I think you’re spot on for asking that just because that is going to end in divorce,
because in a lot of ways I feel like in a marriage relationship,
forgiveness just has to be this abundant,
never ending flowing river jesus of course,
talks about how many times are you to forgive?
And the Apostle Peter Uh decides to say,
I’m going to kind of show off and be a hotshot is it’s the seven times and then you hear that Jesus is coming back saying 70 times seven,
certainly not to quantify the amount of times,
but to say no,
this is just excessive and this is just so abundant.
And what I like about saying that forgiveness should be like this huge stream of running water,
it should always be available,
it should always be fresh,
it should always be flowing from us as those rivers of water that jesus talked about us would would be flowing these rivers of life and forgiveness I think is a key characteristic of this and also a key action to always be taking in that.
But certainly marriages where there is no forgiveness,
If we continue the analogy,
it’s gonna dry up,
it’s going to be rough,
it’s going to end and almost predictably there’s going to be a divorce.
I think for us and those of us of the christian faith,
I mean that’s part of what our identity in christ is required to be right,
Not that okay,
we’ve got to be perfect at it.
I do think that God really meant it when he said,
be holy as I am holy.
I do think that jesus said,
if you love me,
you’ll obey my commands and obviously there’s room for mistake,
But our identity should be that of forgiving people,
particularly in marriage because the relationship is so close and you’re not going to be able to maintain that in any healthy manner without actually talking through it.
That’s certainly the case there.
So what are the hardest things to forgive?
Oh my goodness,
for me personally,
and this is just kind of a personality thing.
It’s very disappointing to me when because I have a very strong sense of responsibility if people say they’re going to do something,
especially if somebody is relying on,
especially if I’m relying on it and they don’t follow through.
That’s something that can be just really difficult.
I think from the onset for me to forgive,
but I have learned to let that go because I don’t want that to have a negative impact on me.
I don’t want that to have a negative impact on the relationship and certainly don’t want to damage any relationship that I have with God,
want to follow his commands.
And I think that’s important.
We talk a lot about when we’re talking to couples that to be a good husband to be a good wife,
to be a good christian husband,
to be a good christian wife at the end of its being a good christian,
it’s following jesus and jesus said in john the world will know where his disciples by our love for one another.
And that’s one of the beautiful things about marriage because people can see us and they can see us forgiving each other.
And that’s one of the things that part of our mission is to represent jesus to the world.
This idea of forgiveness is so hard for people if they’ve never experienced it and they’ve never really seen it,
we have the privilege being married where we can show people a little bit of what God is like and how we love each other and how we forgive each other.
That’s so important to growing in our holiness in living in his kingdom and being part of bringing his kingdom on earth.
At one point,
jesus going to return and his kingdom is going to be here with him.
But now we’re living our lives preparing for that future life and showing other people how they get that opportunity.
But to do that,
to be able to live that and to represent that to the world,
represent God’s forgiveness,
where we kind of need to know what that is.
So how do you define forgiveness?
What is forgiveness mean?
I think a lot of it has to do with treating the person as though that offense hadn’t occurred.
And of course,
sometimes things need to be reorganized or relegated differently.
So certainly have to put out there immediately.
If there’s been some sort of abuse or the law has been broken,
some sort of a significant breach of trust.
If there’s some adultery,
there’s some addiction that has happened,
Some sort of abuse that’s happened.
Sometimes you have to restructure how you’re relating with the person.
But maybe boundaries right?
Like may have boundaries in place,
but boundaries aren’t penal boundaries aren’t punishments,
boundaries are to protect me from what could happen again.
That’s exactly it.
And of course,
sometimes there is going to be legal consequences to somebody’s actions.
Where sometimes the best thing to do is to press charges in domestic violence situations because the law has to get involved in that to keep people safe and and stop that perpetrator from acting out,
not just against the person who he or she hurt,
but also potentially to lash out on other people in that kind of violence.
So if if that is something that is you and you’re facing a domestic violence,
there are a lot of great organizations that are out there and you can google domestic violence hotlines to certainly make sure that you’re safe and get yourself some help in that realm and never any shame in that.
But it is important for you to forgive the perpetrator.
There another thing is like forgiveness.
This is an example from parenting and you can’t parent your spouse.
So don’t try but the idea of being able to forgive and they’re still being consequences.
We do this all the time with Children.
The child has done a bad act.
They’ve done something and there are consequences for their actions in our household.
It’s usually taking away some form of technology.
I have to do this.
But as your parent,
I would be a bad parent and I’d be lying to you if I didn’t.
Like I told you,
if you continue to do this,
you will lose privilege in something and then if I don’t do that,
I’ve lied to you.
But that doesn’t mean that our relationship I’m holding like,
you are perpetually a person that does this in a marriage.
What does that look like?
Abuse and adultery and things like that.
Those are huge.
But what about just like every day forgiveness?
What does that look like?
What’s an example that you could give on how someone would know,
that forgiveness has happened?
I think a lot of it is reassuring the spouse that the relationship is no longer broken,
that it’s mended or that it’s in process of being mended by talking things through and also adjusting and making some some changes to behavior.
I think for some things,
sometimes the spouse will deal with some natural consequences of things.
And what I mean by that if it’s all right,
we have to be at a certain event at a certain time.
If your spouse doesn’t get home by a certain time and that would make you late to the event.
Sometimes you’ve just got to go to the event.
Sometimes you can be late to events.
Sometimes you can’t but sometimes your spouse might have to miss out.
And that’s just more of a natural consequence of their behavior.
But I think that something’s when it has to do with forgiveness or showing that kind of restoration as a lot of it is we’re hoping that the spouse who is the offender repents,
apologizes and is showing that they’re ready to restore the relationship as well.
And forgiveness needs to happen though even before that,
I think for us,
how I know when forgiveness happen,
and this is just in the marriage situation,
I want to be very clear.
There’s a lot of situations that you deal with with forgiveness that are not the same.
Because sometimes there’s a situation where you can’t have complete restoration.
The offender has passed away.
But in marriage there has to be restoration.
You have to go all the way through.
And so for us,
I know that we’ve gone to that point when there’s physical affection and I don’t mean sex.
we can hug each other.
We can hold each other’s hands.
We can kiss each other.
we we come we come back together physically after there’s been a conflict and there’s been forgiveness.
And so for us,
I think that’s how,
at least for me,
that’s how I know,
we’ve gone through the whole cycle because I know we’re physically close again and showing physical affection.
That makes sense.
There’s a lot of different things that can affect affect our marriage if there is no forgiveness.
And I think that that’s the big thing,
because we’re certainly talking about forgiveness being so important between the husband and wife if you’re letting unforgiveness linger in other relationships.
If that’s with your parents,
If you can’t forgive yourself for something if there’s a co worker,
someone that you’re volunteering with,
possibly a member of your church or community that can really spill over into your marriage and your family because you have that unforgiveness issue.
So it’s always important to do that.
I know a pastor where he had just been praying saying I believe that I’ve forgiven people.
I don’t believe I have anything against anyone.
And what God brought to his mind,
I was a kid that had bullied him in school when he was in elementary school and the vision that God gave him was this kid who was probably 10 or 12 years old in just a little boat.
And this pastor as an adult was basically pushing him off the shore line and letting him go as that just this physical manifestation of I’m letting this grudge go.
I’m letting this unforgiveness go and I am extending forgiveness to this individual and I like that.
I think that’s that’s important letting it go.
And it’s not Elsa let it go.
Let it go and build an ice tower and get away from everyone.
We’re not singing on this podcast brand.
I can’t subscribe.
You’re gonna get us in trouble here.
but it is letting go of the offense and not holding that when when you hold a grudge,
that language is really good because you’re holding onto something and so let releasing that person from owing you a debt.
But how do when we’re when there’s someone that you haven’t forgiven?
we talked about the spouse and we talked in the past couple of podcasts if you haven’t had a chance to listen to those earlier podcasts.
we talked about and resolving conflict and managing anger.
And that’s this is just kind of goes along with that when you do those well,
the things you have to do is forgive.
But what about those other relationships?
How does unforgiveness from dealing with parents?
How can that?
It seems to me like,
whatever that that’s my relationship with my dad,
that’s my relation with my mom.
What does that have to do with my relationship with you?
How does unforgiveness like leech into our relationship if I haven’t forgiven my dad for something?
And I think that’s the hard thing because we as humans can’t completely compartmentalize.
there’s kind of a stereotype where for women,
it’s this one big thing of their lives and their relationships,
but men can compartmentalize and when it comes to forgiveness,
that is just not how it can be because holding that kind of grudge against that person and holding them in unforgiveness,
it does spill over to everything because it is that lack of shalom in people’s lives unpack that shalom in case people aren’t familiar with.
So that’s a hebrew word and we normally hear this piece,
but it’s more than that,
It extends more to being really the wholeness of the experience of God and experiencing his life in the most abundance and I know you’ve done the MD of course is brian,
so you can,
dig into this even more than I can.
it’s that absolute connection and being completely restored.
So shalom isn’t just the absence of strife,
it is the presence of fullness and wholeness and peace.
A lot of people think of peace is just there’s no conflict.
Well from a military perspective,
we can have a peace treaty saying,
conflict has ended.
We’re not going to blow each other up anymore,
but shalom is that restoration,
When there’s unforgiveness in relationships,
it destroys your personal shalom,
your personal piece.
So if you were not forgiving each other,
then obviously goes back into anger and festering conflict and stuff.
Those things that haven’t been handled well,
it starts to distance us and it starts to pull us away from each other.
But then if it’s outside on relationships outside of this are my own personal shalom is damaged and because we are one,
not just because we’re one in christ,
but we’re one,
God said that the two become one that when you’re married,
the two become one flesh where some house in a way that isn’t apparent in the material world,
but in the spiritual world where one couple and if my shalom’s damage,
so is yours Sure,
it has that ripple effect and it certainly goes into the family,
you hear about,
I think some things where it’s like somebody has a hard day at work and they come home and they take it out on the dog,
they take it out on their kids,
they take it out on their spouse just because it’s that disruption and the shalom.
for the parents that are listening though,
because often when you get married,
Children come into the picture,
it’s not a requirement,
but it’s off place.
What effects are there on Children?
If there is unforgiveness in our marriage?
I think it’s an awful kind of thing because kids are so perceptive and kids are that perceptive.
And you might remember as a kid,
as you’re listening to this,
if there was some tension in the household,
you’re going to be more sensitive to that,
that even you might be as an adult.
But the problem is when you’re a kid,
you don’t really have that kind of control over being able to smooth things over because you weren’t very likely involved in whatever has upset the parents in that kind of conflict.
So it’s really important,
I think to make sure that you do have that home of shalom,
you don’t have anything that would be troubling.
growing up in the eighties,
I’m the Star Wars kid,
we don’t want a disturbance in the force.
There’s some theological problems with that.
but also kids,
the research has shown time and time again,
that Children need to know their parents love each other even more than Children need to know their parents love them.
And it’s that I know that I’m safe because my parents love each other certainly.
And I think that what goes along with that is they know that they have that safety and security and stability in that stable home because even though kids certainly want to be loved and appreciated and cared for,
they need to have that foundation of that stability.
And that’s going to be the parents who are both submitted to christ and submitted it to each other and looking out for each other first,
what would you recommend to a couple right now?
That is there’s just there’s something between them.
They’re having trouble forgiving.
What would you recommend to them how to move forward with that?
I would say that again,
that’s being that one difficult or awkward conversation away from having a thriving marriage and taking those steps towards doing that.
It’s it’s important to I think show courage and be brave,
pray to God first for that.
If there’s something significant going on,
there’s certainly never any shame in in counseling or marriage mediation.
And you can go to our website at operation thriving marriage dot com to get more information about marriage mediation and can certainly get referrals to therapists as needed and again,
never any shame in seeking that kind of help.
But it’s important to be able to have that open and honest conversation with your spouse about what’s troubling you.
And sometimes you have to certainly go back and forgive multiple times.
And what I mean by that is keep forgiving until it sticks and don’t let the enemy knock you down,
where it’s just like,
I thought I forgave my spouse or I thought I forgave a parent or somebody outside of the family.
Sometimes you have to continually go back and go through that kind of forgiveness process.
It’s feeling like it’s not sticky.
just because you’re not feeling the way you want to,
the actions can still happen.
And so another thing I would add to that is if you’re feeling like you can’t forgive.
If there’s something that can’t be forgiven,
I’d ask you to ask yourself this question.
What are you afraid of?
What would happen if you forgave?
What’s the negative consequence you’re afraid of that this forgiveness?
Are you afraid that the person that needs forgiveness won’t learn their lesson?
Are you afraid that the person who needs forgiveness won’t change and walk through what that is?
And then think through what needs to happen?
Because if your concern is I’m afraid that person won’t change.
If it’s your spouse,
you didn’t marry them to change them.
And while in christ he is changing us to be more like him as your spouse,
as the spouse,
your job is to love them and to show them who they are in christ and help them see that.
But you’re if you’re waiting to forgive until they change.
That’s not forgiveness.
That’s very true.
And I think that in the marriage relationship it has to be not just forgiveness but reconciliation.
Because as you had mentioned earlier,
you can forgive somebody and for whatever reason,
somebody outside of the marriage relationship,
maybe you have to part ways to be married and be in that thriving marriage.
You need the forgiveness plus the reconciliation.
so that that you can go on as if that offense hadn’t occurred.
for some serious offenses,
you need the counseling.
You need certain kinds of boundaries,
but you need to be able to move forward together in the relationship and be reconciled to each other as we’re reconciled to christ and really want to encourage you make the choice that forgiveness.
It’s been clear in scripture and it’s been psychologically affirmed that that forgiveness is healing for both you and the one forgiven.
You have been created in God’s image and then you as a couple.
God has brought you together as one to become more like him and to show his love to the world.
And we’ll make that choice to forgive so that you can experience the thriving marriage that God wants for you.
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And so that’s the same thing with forgiveness,