You might not do it verbally. You might not even mean to - but your actions say it loud and clear. You might as well tell them to get down on one knee and start begging...
Forgiveness is one of those words we just look at and squirm a little. You might have a history of "hurts" in your marriage or in your family that just keeps getting in the way of real progress towards forgiveness. Things said and done during heated discussions. A forgotten birthday or anniversary. A bad business decision or a regret over financial mishaps in your marriage can produce an unforgiving spirit. How about betrayal or lying? What do you do with repeated anger, resentment, and yes - even hatred?
To better understand forgiveness, lets look at its root definition: to cease to feel resentment against an offender; to pardon. We have to understand it from God's perspective (Psalm 86:5). When God forgives, it's for good. It's complete. It's final. It's gone with no trace of having ever been there (Isaiah 43:25). No dredging up the past; no looking for leftovers, and nothing to retrieve from the hard drive. Zero - Zip!
Can you and I forgive that way? No - not in our own strength or by our own volition. We can only forgive as Christ does when He lives in our hearts and works in our lives. As believers, we have been freed from the bondage that unforgiving can cause. Because of Christ we can forgive. He exhibited the ultimate forgiveness when He hung on the cross for our sins. He purchased our right to be forgiven and modeled forgiveness (Luke 23:34).
In II Corinthians 2:6-8 the Apostle Paul instructed the Corinthians to forgive someone who has caused grief due to their sin against fellow believers. His point was to forgive him so that he would not be overcome with too much sorrow, and thus not be received again back into fellowship with God, and ultimately once again within the church. In marriage, to forgive is to restore hope, and that is essential in moving past the hurt.
You give up the right to your own hurt and disappointment when you forgive someone. You give yourself permission to move on - to release them and the offense. Healing can take place in a relationship when you both move from bitterness to forgiveness.
Love and trust can be restored where forgiveness is cherished and pardon is practiced.