Letters of Forgiveness
Imagine that every morning after you got dressed you put a stuffed envelope in your back pocket. You consciously open the drawer to your nightstand and grab a worn letter inside an envelope, fold it in half, and put it inside the back pocket of your jeans.
That might seem like a small little difference to your normal routine, because I don’t know anyone who does this, haha. However, think about doing that every morning, and carrying it around all day. It might not feel comfortable when you sit down or even walk. Though it’s not heavy enough to be noticed most of the time, you’re still reminded multiple times a day that it’s there.
You might be wondering why I am talking about some dumb letter. That dumb letter represents a grudge we hold onto. Just like carrying a letter in your back pocket every day can be inconvenient, unwanted, annoying, and uncomfortable, a grudge can be the same. The thing to remember is that you consciously choose to hold that grudge, just like you consciously fold that envelope in your pocket every morning.
Apply it to marriage
While I think this little object lesson/metaphor can be applied to holding a grudge with anybody, I think it holds more weight when it occurs within a marriage. Because with a marriage, you’re reminded of that relationship many times a day; in seeing your spouse multiple times a day, in looking at your ring, looking at pictures, through conversations, etc. So if you have a grudge held against your spouse, those feelings of hurt and anger are more likely to surface more often. It’s as if that letter instead is folded up inside your front shirt pocket where it’s obvious to be seen and felt, and someone keeps pointing at it saying, “Hey what’s that in your shirt pocket? That’s kind of weird to put there.” After awhile, this pattern would get old and tiring really quickly, right?
When it comes to this letter idea, forgiveness means not carrying that reminder with you everywhere you go. It doesn’t mean the letter vanishes because that’s not only impossible, but offenses done to someone can never be erased either. Forgiving that offense means letting go of your hold on the letter, letting it get lost somewhere only to be found when the back of our mind occasionally remembers it.
Forgiveness is not easy
I’m very glad that their haven’t been major things in my marriage we have had to forgive each other for so far. But when we do little things to each other, my husband has set an example to me by always asking me for forgiveness. I remember the first time he ever asked for forgiveness from me in our marriage and I was so taken aback, like: “There’s nothing to forgive it’s not a big deal!” But him asking me for that released any lingering frustration I may have had and all I am left feeling is love because of the humility he showed me (even if it was so small that I didn’t really warrant it!).
Forgiveness is hard in marriage, especially when major betrayals occur. I could write so much more on this subject but I’ll save it for another time. I do know that if we want to stay with the relationship we should forgive our spouse. They may have to earn your trust still, because that’s a separate issue, but forgiveness opens the door to allow that to be restored.