I welcome you to the second segment of our teaching on ‘Power of Family Unity’. Previously, I taught on what unity is and the essence of family unity. This week, I shall be looking at one key to maintain family unity, which is ‘Forgiveness’. The Bible says, And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32). The Dictionary meaning of forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense. Letting go negative emotions such as resentment and vengeance with an increased ability to wish the offender well.
Today, many are filled with anger, bitterness, resentment, hate and vengeance towards others, their spouse and children inclusive. They believe they cannot just let go of an issue without retaliation. Clearly, retaliation is not a virtue; it is outrightly wrong and unhealthy. Although some have been taught that forgiveness is cowardly, this is not true. We must understand that it takes forgiving others for us to be able to receive forgiveness from God. It is written, For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you (Matthew 6:14). Unforgiveness has hindered family unity and prayers in many homes.
However, we must understand that the price for vengeance is severe, and the end result of unforgiveness is extremely high. Hence, it is not worth it. We see an account in Matthew 18:23-35 of a man who was owing ten thousand talents, he begged his creditor to be patient with him till he was able to pay back the money owed, and his creditor forgave him the debt. However, this same man saw a fellow servant who was owing him only a hundred pence; he refused to forgive him and then threw the man into prison. As a result of his unforgiveness, he was classified as being wicked. Unforgiveness is wickedness! An unforgiving wife, husband or child is a wicked person. Do you want to be identified with the wicked?
The second thing about unforgiveness is that it incurs God’s anger on the perpetrator. Let go of unforgiveness so that God will not be angry with you. Unforgiveness also brings torments. That wicked servant was delivered to the tormentors to be tortured in order to pay off his original debt; unforgiveness and bitterness torments. As a result of unforgiveness, afflictions such as poverty, barrenness, sickness and the likes in marriage are from the tormentors. Unforgiveness opens the door to the tormentors of life. The servant never enjoyed his master’s forgiveness. In the same vein, embittered people never enjoy forgiveness from God because what you sow is what you reap (Genesis 8: 22). What a price!
Unforgiveness imprisons people in the past. A husband who is unwilling to forgive his wife will continue to keep the offence alive and vice versa. The pain is there, and you are picking at an open sore, thereby keeping it from healing. When you do not forgive, you are daily sentencing yourself to go through life feeling as bad now as you did in the past when the offence was committed with no end in sight. You have chosen to embrace hate and cultivate it through your life. Unforgiveness imprisons you in the pain of your past; therefore, refuse to be a slave to your past!
You may have been terribly hurt by your spouse, child or extended family, but the Bible admonishes us to forgive. God will not tell us to do what is impossible to do. The Bible says, Let all bitterness…be put away from you, with all malice (Ephesians 4:31). So, forgive all family members that have offended you so that you can live a peaceful and burden-free life. Please forgive whosoever has offended you, do not wait for the person to come and apologise to you because they might not. Learn the secret of instant forgiveness; that is, forgive as soon as you are offended, whether the offender asks for it or not. In Matthew 18:21-22, Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive someone, …how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Peter thought he was pretty generous, but Jesus responded and told him to forgive seventy times seven; that connotes no limit to forgiveness. This is one of the secrets of success in marriage and family life. The Bible says, For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work (James 3:16). Many have lost their homes and marriages to bitterness; you do not have to join them. This principle of instant forgiveness has helped me a great deal. My husband and I practise it, and it has paid off for us. It pays to forgive!
The testimony below will inspire you:
I got married twenty-six years ago and after the first year of marriage, my husband left me for another woman. In fact, he gave me a letter of divorce, but I did not accept it. I tried all possible ways to dissuade him from his plans, but they failed. It was not easy at all, and everything around me kept saying it was over. However, my spirit believed that reconciliation was on the way, and since then, I kept my focus without wavering. I never stopped praying and thanking God for the restoration I was seeing.
In February 2004, my husband called and told me that coming together was not going to be possible again. He further stated that if I die before him, he would bury me as his wife, but if he dies before me, I should know he died as my husband.
He admitted making some mistakes, emphasising that he was prepared to live with them for the rest of his life. His statements gave me a prayer point, and I told God to please help remove the sense of guilt from him as I have forgiven him. Thereafter, on getting home, the first thing he told me was that he had given his life to Christ. He also said he wanted reconciliation as he now knows that divorce is not God’s will. We prayed together, and the twenty-six years of separation was terminated. Now, our home is blissful, and the favour of God is thick around us. I return all the glory to God! — Mrs Manya M.
This woman made a choice to refuse offence and bitterness, and she kept praying for her husband until not only did God save his soul, her home was also reunited blissfully after twenty-six years. You are next in line for a testimony!
However, only Jesus can impart grace for genuine forgiveness. If you are not yet born again, and you desire to do so right now, please pray this prayer with faith in your heart: Dear Lord Jesus Christ, I come to You today. I am a sinner. Forgive me my sins and cleanse me with Your Blood. I accept You as my Lord and personal Saviour. Make me a child of God today. Thank You for delivering me from sin and satan to serve the living God, and thank You for accepting me into Your Kingdom.
Congratulations! If you prayed this simple prayer of faith with me, you are now born again and a child of God. He loves you and will never leave you. Read your Bible daily, obey God’s Word and seek Christian fellowship (John 14:21). With this, you are guaranteed all-round rest and peace in Jesus’ Name! To share your testimonies with me, Call 08141320204 OR Email me at email@example.com. For more insight, these books authored by me are available at the Dominion Bookstores in all Living Faith Churches and other leading Christian bookstores, Marriage Covenant, Making Marriage Work, Building a Successful Home and Success in Marriage (Co-Authored).