Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Forgiveness and Acceptance

Leslie Basham: When you're angry with your husband, how do you handle it? Here's what one woman has been learning.

Wife: Usually after we would have a fight early in the marriage, I could go cold for about three days. He would want to seek forgiveness a lot sooner and repair the relationship a lot sooner than that.

But who am I not to forgive him when God has forgiven me for all of my trespasses?

Leslie Basham: It's Friday, May 28; and this is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. We heard some practical advice from our guest Holly Elliff yesterday. She's a pastor's wife and mother of eight who has a lot of wise counsel for younger married women.

Nancy and Holly will resume their conversation today and help us learn to accept our husbands just as they are. Here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We received last year, I think it was, I may not have the number quite right, but I think it was 82,000 letters and e-mails and phone calls at Revive Our Hearts. I don't read all of those but I do receive all the e-mails that have any kind of message in them and a lot of the letters.

I read all of those that I possibly can and a huge percentage of those are women pouring out their hearts and some men as well about marriage and family issues that are just where the rubber meets the road.

It's something to be a Christian, to love God, to serve God but where you get that all tested is in the laboratory of life which, for most of us, the most pressing point there is within the four walls of our own homes. That's where you live out Christianity.

That's the hardest place to live it out, but that's where God's Word and God's truth and God's principles are so practical because they are meant to be applied in every circumstance and situation of life.

Here's the other thing, a lot of these letters and e-mails that we get are from women whose marriages are in crisis and very complicated. Now I do believe in the grace and power of God to redeem and restore and that's what gives me hope. But it's a hard thing to be putting back pieces of lives that would not be that messed up if they hadn't violated some basic biblical principles to start with.

For example I read a lot of these letters and they are on their second, third, fourth, fifth marriage and pouring out their hearts about all the different issues and my heart goes out to them.

But I want to say at times, "Why are you in this marriage?" Now that's not constructive for me to say that once they are, but I hear those stories and I want to say to the younger women, "Listen to this. Don't get into a marriage that is not God's will for your life, that's not biblically approved for starters."

But my other burden is that we do have listeners who are married, or who are going to be married and we want to help them lay a foundation in the choice of a mate and then in the building of a marriage. And then of course parenting builds on that.

So you need a good foundation of a relationship with God and then a godly marriage. And then that's the basis on which to build strong parenting relationships. So we want to share some things together as we interact with Holly and then with some of you women as well about what are some of the ABC's that we can share with women whose marriages aren't in disaster yet, that may help them never go there if they could understand some of these basic principles of God's Word.

So the whole area , Holly, is acceptance, accepting your mate, accepting how they are wired. How do you do that?

Holly Elliff: Well, obviously, it's critical to learn to accept our mates. A lot of the conflict in our homes comes from the fact (somebody said a minute ago), "I had a lot of expectations when I walked into my marriage." If we do have a lot of expectations which we all do and those are not met, then what happens lots of times is we begin to get disappointed and that disappointment leads to anger and bitterness.

My husband and I counseled a couple from out of state whose marriage is in real crisis. As I met separately with that wife for awhile, she started talking about things. They had been married 23 years.

She started talking about things that made her angry that happened the first year of their marriage. What happened was because they didn't communicate real well; she would get angry and she would take it and she would stuff it in this sack. And then she would get angry again and she would stuff it in this sack.

Over the years as she got angrier and angrier and more and more resentful of how her husband handled things because it was different from the way she would have handled it, she began to build up this huge container full of bitterness toward her husband. He was doing the same thing but in a very different way.

So here they are 23 years into their marriage at a huge impasse both of them with truckloads full of junk that they have not resolved for 23 years. We had to take them back to the point where they could see that they have to go empty those trucks.

All those things that have made them hurt and angry and bitter for years have to be forgiven to even get to the point, a foundational point of being able to rebuild their marriage.

I think if we must be careful to keep real short accounts. That's why Ephesians says "Don't let the sun go down on your anger" (Ephesians Hour="16">4:26). You are going to get hurt. You are going to have things happen in your marriage that will bug you.

Now the question is whether or not you are going to hang on to those things or whether you are going to see those as an issue but then take that issue to the Lord and say, "God, I can't even forgive my husband for this. I don't know how to respond to him. I don't even know where he is coming from on this. What do I do with this issue?"

Then if I will go to the Lord what happens is God gives me the ability to understand why my husband is doing that. Even if I don't understand why he is doing that, God begins to give me grace to forgive.

As I take steps into forgiveness, then that account book is still empty. I don't begin to build up layer after layer of resentment and bitterness and anger that eventually becomes so massive that it affects my whole marriage.

So I think it's critical to keep real short accounts in this area as we accept our husbands as they are because they are going to be different from us. As we are honest in communicating, we can see those things resolved and then get to God for the grace and ability to see those things resolved.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: How about someone share an illustration out of your own marriage where you have seen the power? Now do this without reflecting negatively on your husband, okay? We want to be women who reverence God's men in our lives. But how have you seen the power of forgiveness make a difference in your marriage or the damage of unforgiveness?

Sherrie: One of our, I guess, cornerstone verses would be Ephesians 4:32 "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you."

My husband has taught me a lot in this area. Usually after we had a fight early in the marriage, I could go cold for about three days. And he would want to seek forgiveness a lot sooner and repair the relationship a lot sooner than that.

But who am I not to forgive him when God has forgiven me for all of my trespasses? That's just something to keep in mind and we try very hard not to let the sun go down on our wrath. Sometimes I can still stretch it. I'm learning from him.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I heard a man speaking recently who has been married for 30 some years and has a terrific marriage now. But he and his wife didn't come to know the Lord until later in their marriage.

He was telling how they came to the place where they made this commitment that Sherrie was just talking about that they would not go to bed at night with any unresolved conflict.

In fact they determined that as soon as there was a conflict, immediately they would set out to resolve it. They also made a commitment that as soon as they had a conflict they would talk about it and they would join hands and pray.

He told how hard that was in some instances. He said "I just wanted to let it go, to let it pass, but to join her hand, to take her hand and pray, sometimes he would just be gritting his teeth."

We have to do this, but he told some precious stories of how just, as they would do that practical commitment in the face of the heat and the discussion and the conflict, that God would come and meet with them as they prayed even though they were there but didn't want to be praying or holding hands.

They had made this silly commitment they had to keep and he said how God would just in that moment in the Lord's presence would melt and break their hearts, would dissolve the pride.

Proverbs says "Only by pride comes contention" (Proverbs 13:10). We say contention comes because he did something really dumb and the Scripture says, "No, pride is what causes contention."

You say, "Yeah his pride." No, your pride. It has to have two people with pride to have contention. As they would invite the Lord and His presence into that moment, into that relationship, into that marriage how God would just break down the barriers.

You can't really hate the person you are holding hands and praying with, not for long. So that little practical thing I think was so wise dealing with it immediately. We are not going to go into another day with this unresolved. You may not solve the issues you have, but you are praying together, you are bringing the Lord into the situation and watching Him do what only He can do.

Leslie Basham: That's Nancy Leigh DeMoss on what can happen when a couple prays together. Nancy has been talking with Holly Elliff and it's part of a series called "Recipe for a Godly Marriage."

If you missed any of Holly's counsel, you can go on-line and read a transcript or listen to today's program. Find out how to order our current series called "Recipe for a Godly Marriage." While on-line, you can also donate. It's quick and easy. Your gift will help us realize many opportunities to share this message with others. Here's Nancy to tell us more.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I remember a few months ago being in a service where Dr. Joseph Stowell, the president of Moody Bible Institute, was taking an offering. As he began that offering he said, "Some people say to me, "Don't you get tired of having to take offerings and tell people that you need money?"

He said, "Not at all. If I were asking for myself, yes, I might feel embarrassed about that. But I'm not the least bit reluctant to ask you to give an offering today for Jesus' sake and for the sake of His great kingdom. "

That's exactly how I feel as we come to you from time to time and just share with you that we need the financial contributions of God's people in order to keep the ministry of Revive Our Hearts airing in your community and on stations all across the United States.

God has been so gracious to us and has brought around us people, men and women and couples, who have written, some with small amounts and some with larger amounts, to say, "I want to have a part in investing in this ministry because I want to see this message going into the hearts of women all across this country."

So today I'd ask you, "Would you drop us a line, would you let us know the station on which you hear Revive Our Hearts and would you tell us how God is using this ministry in your life?

And then if God has made it possible for you, would you include a financial contribution? I'm asking you to do this not for my sake. You should know that I don't get any personal income from Revive Our Hearts at all, not a dime.

So I am not asking for my sake, but I'm asking for Jesus' sake, for the sake of the women who are hearing this program and whose lives are being changed by it. And I'm asking for your sake because Jesus has said "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).

I know as you obey the commands of the Lord and invest financially in His kingdom and His work that God is going to bless you.

You can send your donation to Revive Our Hearts.

It seems like makeovers are one of the most popular things on television these days. Well Monday we are going to hear from some women whose words have gotten a makeover. Please join us 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.