During Christian Ed this past Sunday, we began a series on Marriage and Relationships. Most of the brains behind this ‘operation’ come not from inside my noggin but from that of Bryan Chapell’s Each for the Other. I’ve found this the most easy to read, informative, challenging, and well illustrated of marriage books.
Based upon the famous wedding/marriage passage in Ephesians 5, Chapell identifies several general commands which explain how the husband is to love the wife. Some include Prioritizing Partnership, Providing Care, and Communicating Forgiveness. We camped out on that last one briefly but found it nevertheless quite challenging.
For the husband to communicate forgiveness, he must be willing to be an open repenter, even the lead repenter in the house. Not necessarily a Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor way (who was ALWAYS wrong; I never heard Jill apologize-but you can correct me if I’m wrong), but one who is quick to admit his own need of forgiveness.
One of Chapell’s subpoints under Communicating Forgiveness, was to offer forgiveness not as one who forgives out of obligation, but one who forgives because he needs forgiveness himself.
Probably we’ve all experienced people who offer forgiveness because WE need it. Its really quite condescending.
But to offer forgiveness because THEY need it as well (not necessarily for the same action) is something quite different. Its freeing. It creates an atmosphere of grace where repentance, faith, and forgiveness can become a regular part of life. As it should be.