Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Choosing Forgiveness

Leslie Basham: According to Nancy Cobb, we can forgive no matter what our emotions say.

Nancy Cobb: Your feelings may not be there. They may not yet have caught up with the choice you have made to forgive. But when the Lord says, "Forgive," it's a command. He tells us to do it for our own well-being.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, June 1.

Last week we started a series called "Recipe for a Godly Marriage." Today, we'll look at one of marriage's most crucial ingredients, forgiveness.

Here's Nancy to introduce our guests.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We want to talk today about what I think is one of the very most essential ingredients in having a marriage that works.

We have with us today two women who've been with us before on Revive Our Hearts and are joining us again today. Connie Grigsby and Nancy Cobb, thank you so much for being back with us on Revive Our Hearts.

Connie Grigsby: It's a joy.

Nancy Cobb: Yes, it's wonderful.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And you women, you're speakers, you're authors--you've written two books we're going to talk about in just a moment; but what I appreciate about you so much is that the things you write and speak about are things that have come, (1) out of the Word of God and (2) your own life.

You have a life message in these matters and your books are brimmed full of illustrations of how God has taught you these principles in your own marriages.

You've written a book called The Politically Incorrect Wife, and that it is, because things you're talking about--they just go against our culture and they go against what is natural for us as women and as human beings.

And then you've written another book called How to Get Your Husband to Talk to You. And in both of those books, you have a section on one of the most foundational, important ingredients in marriage, and that's this whole subject of forgiveness.

And I believe--and you've seen it in the women you've talked with--that the absence of forgiveness, un-forgiveness, is one of the greatest detrimental qualities that can possibly be in a marriage, and probably something that exists in most marriages today is this matter of un-forgiveness.

I know, Connie, in your marriage when you began to learn how to forgive your husband it really made a difference in your marriage.

Connie Grigsby: It did make a difference, Nancy. In fact, I used to wonder why my marriage ran so hot and cold. I just had a hot and cold marriage. It was as good as the last ten minutes or ten days or two weeks. And as I look back over it, the reason it was like that is because I didn't know how to forgive and forgive completely.

I would forgive until Wes did the next thing that irritated me or the next thing that hurt me. And then I would grab all the old offenses along with the new and go back into the same mode of being cold and wounded and, He needs to earn that forgiveness. I didn't know how to just give it instantly, how to forget about it, how to move on. I failed to look at how God's forgiven me, how I didn't deserve it.

You know, it's so easy to pierce someone else with your thinking. But we forget how, by God's grace, we've been forgiven.

Wes and I, one night years later, we were probably married sixteen or eighteen years at this point, we were sitting at the supper table and we began to recount the wonderful things in our marriage--some of the highs. And he said to me, "Connie, you know the greatest thing that you ever did for me--you know, the highest point of our marriage is--do you know what that is?"

And I had no idea and I was so curious. And he said, "It was the night you said to me, "Honey, I forgive you for the hurt that you caused in our marriage." He was a perfectionist. He had high standards for himself and for me and that wounded me in our early marriage. It was as if I couldn't measure up.

But I just simply said to him, "I forgive you for all of that."

He said, "That was the most meaningful thing you've ever done in our marriage." So forgiveness is huge.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: What brought you to that point, Connie?

Connie Grigsby: To forgiving?

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Yes.

Connie Grigsby: Because I believe I began to understand what forgiveness was. I looked at it through God's eyes. I saw that it was something I could do. I saw that it was something I should do. I was tired of being cold and bitter.

When I was a young girl, the one thing I hoped I never became was a cold, bitter, old woman. And at the ripe age of thirty-five, I discovered that I was a cold, bitter, middle-aged woman. And I was tired of living like that. I was tired of not knowing God intimately.

I was tired of knowing I would get to heaven but beyond that, there's really nothing. So I believe the Lord pressed me to Himself, taught me about forgiveness and then--He doesn't call us to do something without giving us the power to do it--He gave me the power to do it.

And I learned I could forgive Wes and go on with barely missing a beat. The Scripture says "Don't let the sun go down on your wrath" [Ephesians 4:26] and you know, the Scripture never has anything in there that's not possible for us to do in the Lord's strength.

Nancy Cobb: And forgiveness was a real issue for me. I had a hobby that I had nurtured for quite a number of years, and it was being angry. I saw in Scripture, after I bought my first Bible when I was forty-one, "Don't let the sun go down on your anger" [Ephesians 4:26].

My first thought was, What fun is that? And I thought My goodness. That is sick. Because I remember I wouldn't forgive. I wouldn't get over things. If somebody did something to me, like my husband, I would just wait until he seemed sorry enough or I no longer felt that way.

But then I realized that if I wanted to have a love relationship with Jesus, I had to do things His way. And He says in His Word, "Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you" [Ephesians 4:32]. So that meant I needed to forgive quickly.

So I thought, Well, I can hold onto my anger until the sun goes down. That's what Scripture says. And I thought, You know, this is getting a little wearisome. Because I'd go to the window and if the sun hadn't set, I wouldn't get over it. And I thought; Why not just get over it right away?

So now what I do in my morning prayer time is, I ask the Lord, "Is there's anything that I need to forgive or get over that morning?", because I can't afford to live a life that is not filled with the Spirit. I work at Christ Community Church. I'm Director of Women's Ministries. What I have to offer is my love relationship with Jesus.

So forgiveness is huge. I saw in Matthew 18 that what you don't forgive can come back into your own life. That's repeated in Luke 6, and I didn't want that to happen.

In fact, I remember teaching this and a woman who was sitting in the audience, after she heard the message on forgiveness; she realized she was in a state of depression. And the depression was caused by remembering that she was the less loved daughter.

She had told her father, "Dad, you love my older sister more than you love me." And he denied it, but the whole family knew it was true. The issue wasn't settled; the father died. Three years later, she was deeply depressed.

She heard this message; she got in her car and she went straight to the cemetery. She stood over her father's tombstone and she said, "Lord, forgive me for holding this against my father." And she said the weight of the world left her shoulders. She drove away a free woman.

You can forgive. Jesus says in Matthew 18, hundreds of times a day if it's that many times, you just choose to forgive. It's an act of the will; it's not a feeling. Your feelings may not be there. They might not have yet caught up with the choice you have made to forgive.

But when the Lord says, "Forgive," it's a command. He tells us to do it for our own well-being so that that person will be released to Him and the Lord will deal with it.

Romans 12 [:19] says, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." And He said to bless those people who have been maybe unkind to you, and treat them in a precious way. And then sometimes what happens, because of that, is they will feel guilty and pressed to better behavior.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Why do you think it is that it seems easier sometimes to forgive people we work with or people, you know, that are casual acquaintances? In the context of the home, in the context of marriage, why is it so much harder to let those things go--to release the offender--the offender being the husband in many cases?

Connie Grigsby: You know that's a great question. I think because we expect so much more from our husbands. We expect them to understand us and think like we do perhaps and nurture us. We put expectations on our husbands that we don't put on anyone else. And so, when those expectations aren't met, we're deeply hurt and deeply wounded.

I think the familiarity of marriage sets in and we may hold them--we hold them to a higher standard. We may become quicker to criticize, quicker to become harsh. We grow colder with them. So I think there's a lot of dynamics why we do that. I know I did that in my own life.

In fact, one day I was with a friend, and she asked my opinion on something and I gave it to her. And I am a fairly gentle person, but I'd been a little bit bold because I felt so strongly about it.

I went home that night and I felt a bit grieved that perhaps I hurt her feelings. I couldn't wait to call her up and say, "Did I hurt your feelings at all? Because what I was really saying is blah, blah, blah." And I thought to myself that night, Do I afford Wes that same luxury? Do I speak to him in any way that may be harsh or critical or condemning? Am I just as quick to make that right? Well, the answer was no.

You know they're going to be there. We have a security with them maybe that we don't have with others. So it is an interesting "wake-up kind of call" when you begin to think like that.

Who more would we want to keep our relationship clear with? Other than the Lord, would be with our own husbands and so often they're the last one to receive that blessing by us.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You know, I want us to continue tomorrow on this subject of forgiveness, because I believe this may be the number one issue among women that keeps us from having a right relationship with God, and that is destroying our families and our relationships with others.

I've asked many times over the years, as I've spoken on this subject of forgiveness in women's conferences and retreats, how many of you would be honest enough to say, "There is a root of bitterness in my heart--there are one or more people that I have never fully forgiven?"

And then I ask them just to raise their hands--no heads bowed or eyes closed--these are Christian--groups of Christian women by and large. And invariably, 90, 95, 98 percent of the hands will go up in the air.

And I am confident that in many, many cases the object of the bitterness and un-forgiveness is a husband. And we're talking about being the recipients of the incredible grace and mercy of Christ on our behalf, and then refusing to extend the same mercy and grace that Christ has given us.

And what happens is that we think we're putting that person in prison, when in fact, what we're doing is putting ourselves in prison.

So I just want to ask you as you are listening, is there a root of un-forgiveness in your heart? Is there some bitterness--is there some bitterness towards your husband? It may be something that happened this morning. It may be something that happened fifteen years ago.

It may be something that's happened every day for the past fifteen years. It's been an ongoing source of irritation or upset in your life. What is your heart toward him? Have you let it go? Have you pressed the delete button?

Now, I realize when we say that, there are some really tough issues that surface that need to be dealt with, some women who are having to forgive their husbands of some horrendous offenses.

And when we come back tomorrow, we want to talk about how to deal with those bigger issues and how to really let the other person off of the hook so that God can deal with them and so that we can experience a greater measure of God's mercy and grace in our own lives.

Leslie Basham: That's Nancy Leigh DeMoss and her guests talking about how we can benefit when we forgive others. We heard a lot of great wisdom today from Nancy Cobb and Connie Grigsby.

If you'd like to hear more from them, they've written two books called The Politically Incorrect Wife and How to Get Your Husband to Talk to You.

You can get both books for a suggested donation of $20. We're calling it The Godly Wife Package and to order, visit ReviveOurHearts.com or call 1-800-569-5959.

When you contact us, would you consider making a donation to Revive Our Hearts? When you give to Revive Our Hearts, you're helping us reach more and more women with a message like you heard today.

We'd love for you to be a part of our ministry. If you would like to donate, write to us at Revive Our Hearts.

On tomorrow's program, we'll continue to discuss how it's our responsibility to forgive no matter what. We hope you can be here for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

 

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About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.