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Learning to Choose Forgiveness

Learning to Choose Forgiveness

Finding freedom and healing in the aftermath of betrayal

A few years ago I arrived home to my husband, who said he needed to talk. He told me the Lord had been pressing him for a year to confess something to me. He wasn't sure why the Lord wanted him to confess this information, but he finally decided to be obedient. He continued by telling me that during our dating years he had been unfaithful, and that it had usually happened whenever we had an argument. He assured me that it never took place again once we were married. This confession came ten years into our marriage—a marriage that was once insipid but, through the grace of God, had grown to be incredible. Why would God help us take our marriage from humdrum to amazing, only to have it potentially ruined by this painful confession—a confession about events that took place before we were even married?

My husband could have lived his entire life with his secret. I never suspected it; I would have never known. While he was confessing, I was preparing questions to ask him: With whom? When? Where? But I heard the Lord say to me, "You are not going to ask him anything. He is doing what I asked him to do, and telling you all you need to know." When my husband was done speaking my response was, "Okay. I forgive you." That was it. We never discussed it again.

Why would God help us take our marriage from humdrum to amazing, only to have it potentially ruined by this painful confession—a confession about events that took place before we were even married?

My own sin

I was actually quite surprised by how easy it was for me to forgive my husband. But why was it so easy? This was infidelity, after all—the ultimate betrayal, right? One reason I was able to forgive was because the Word of God tells us to forgive: "But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins too" (Mark 11:25). As my husband confessed, the Lord reminded me that we were not Christians when the unfaithfulness occurred.

The Lord also reminded me of my own sin. During our dating years, I often talked to my husband like he was the scum of the earth. He bore the brunt of all the anger, bitterness, and hurt from my past. My parents' destructive life, no father to love me, being bullied, barely graduating high school, being in an abusive teenage marriage, becoming a twenty-one-year-old divorced single mother—my husband became the unfortunate recipient of all that pain.

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