Psalm 130:3-5 – If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.
Col. 3:12-14 – Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Forgiveness is a choice. Many wives proclaim, “Well, I have to forgive him. After all, I’m a Christian and that’s what Christian’s do.” You are not obligated to forgive your husband. So, be patient with yourself in reaching this point in your healing journey. Don’t rush to forgive before your heart has had time to begin healing. The decision to forgive is a BIG one, and you shouldn’t enter into it lightly.
The benefit of forgiveness extends far beyond simply the one being forgiven. There is a release from the anger and bitterness that can cripple the spirit of the one offering it. But you must acknowledge the pain, specifically address each wound, and then choose to forgive the offense(s) against you. Forgiveness never minimizes the wounds. But as you release yourself from bondage to fear and anger through forgiveness you will gain a new compassion for your husband (and yourself) that didn’t exist before. You will truly identify with Jesus, who bore in his body the shame of all our sins.
When your heart is healing and you are feeling God leading you toward a time of forgiving your husband, it is important to receive good counsel. Talk with your trusted caregivers and get constructive, biblical feedback as to how you will offer your forgiveness.
One other note about forgiveness: it is an on-going process. There are watershed moments of forgiveness when you forgive the “big stuff,” but there will be even more moments of choosing to forgive daily trespasses. Wounds come in all shapes and sizes, and each one needs the healing touch of God. And each one also requires a choice of whether or not you will forgive. Your memories of the pain your husband’s addiction has caused will try to haunt you even after forgiving him. Be prepared to fight those thoughts with truth and remind yourself that, in the same way Christ has forgiven your sins permanently, you have chosen to forgive your husband in the same manner.
I choose to move toward forgiveness. I do this not merely for the sake of my husband, but for my own emotional and spiritual growth.
I will wait until I am emotionally and spiritually prepared to forgive. I will not use this as an excuse to withhold forgiveness, but I will be patient to wait for the Lord’s timing and direction.