Forgiveness and Trust; Unconditional Love

Two More Tips for Healthy Marriages and Relationships

Forgiveness and Trust

In almost every case with struggling couples, no matter what the symptoms are, there are major foundational issues rooted in unforgiveness and distrust.  I want to share some Scripture and insights that have helped many.

Forgiveness is mandatory (Matthew 6:14-15; Ephesians 4:32); Trust is earned (John 2:24).

I tweeted some time ago, “God’s grace is amazing, but it never compromises His Truth.” If it did, He would be a liar and we know that’s not the case.

Unfortunately, wehave compromised His Truth. Many in counseling settings have fallen into this trap (with good intentions, but we know where that road leads).

Numerous couples have been told that forgiveness is a process and they would not be able to forgive until they had “processed” the pain and moved beyond the emotions, hurt feelings, accusations, or “fill in the blank.”  Stay with me here.

There is a process. It’s just that forgiveness is not that process. Emotions and feelings associated with the offense or violation require time and processing. Forgiveness, on the other hand, is a choice that you can make immediately because it’s what God has done for each of us who believe in Christ. And He says that we absolutely must forgive.

According to His Word, forgiveness is a mandate—a command (Ephesians 4:32). The only thing that Jesus repeated after His “Model Prayer” or “The Lord’s Prayer” (Matthew 6:9-13) is the issue of forgiveness (vv. 14-15).  If you do not forgive, then your Heavenly Father will not forgive you. If I want to know His forgiveness, then I must forgive everyone, period. I’m pretty sure you agree that we want and need His forgiveness.

This is the subtle deception that has entered into our counseling and wreaked havoc on countless marriages, families, and relationships. If I’m not ready (i.e., don’t feel like it), then I should allow time to “process” my feelings before I forgive. This ties forgiveness to our feelings rather than His Truth. I don’t see that concept in God’s Word. Again, His grace is amazing, but it never compromises His Truth to any degree.

If you are willing to be deceived and allow feelings to trump God’s Truth, then you give the enemy territory and ammunition.  He will use your flesh through your emotions to kill, steal, and destroy you and others in the struggle and process. It’s not a good ride or a gentle landing.

On the other hand, this Truth has helped many couples and people: If you are obedient to God to forgive, choosing to do so by His grace in and through you, then His Spirit and Truth will guide you through the emotional pain and process.

Know you are now forgiven and free in Christ as you give the same to others!

While forgiveness or unforgiveness is tied directly to trust they are not the same.  If we are willing to forgive, then we can rebuild trust but it takes time.  Even Jesus did not trust others because He knew what was in their heart (John 2:24).  In less than three years after this text, because He had taught and modeled truth, love and forgiveness for them, He entrusted His life story, The Gospel, to 120 men and women in an upper room (Acts 2:1-4).  His forgiveness had allowed His life to be formed in them and that is what He was trusting. 

We can do the same in our marriage and in all relationships, including in His Church, if we are willing to walk as His disciples, forgive others and learn to live as He did, and begin to see His life in them.

You can choose to take the burden, pain, and brokenness into other relationships by not forgiving, making it very difficult to move forward, build good loving relationships and learn to trust.  Or you can be obedient to Christ and His Word and choose to forgive which lifts the burdens, prepares you for healing and opens the door for future relationships of love and trust in Christ!  Your choice?!?

With this in mind we move into our second tip which really supports the others we’ve shared to this point…Real Authority in which pair of P.A.N.T.S. you’re wearing (; how True Authority is lived out in marriage and relationships (  In order to be able to live these out in our marriage, family and all relationships in line with God’s Word and will we must not continue to see and practice love as the world does, we must know and relate according to God’s Agape (Love).

Unconditional Love in Marriage and Relationships

Marriage is based on Commitment and Unconditional Love.  Here’s a simple and great definition for love, based on Christ’s love for His Bride demonstrated on The Cross: Give 100%, Expect 0%! (Romans 5:8; 8:38-39) 

Maybe I should say “Demand 0.” Here’s why.  Expectations and demands will naturally occur in our flesh.  The issue is not whether you’ll have them or not but how you’ll respond and how you’ll define your spouse, yourself, and your relationship based on unmet or partially met expectations.  We will all experience expectations—and unmet expectations—in our lives and marriage.  The trouble comes when we play God and demand that our expectations always be met based on our wants, needs, and desires.

Learn to love and serve even when the expectations are not met.  Not only will more of them be realized over time, but also you will become the person who is more interested in looking to meet your spouse’s needs rather than always expecting yours to be met.

Anyway by Mother Teresa’s

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

This is a game changer in every marriage and relationship that I encounter and deal with…when they begin to understand and practice God’s Agape rather than the world’s counterfeit love, everything changes! 

You can know Him and know His love in your life and relationships…Jesus has not only modeled it for us but also paid the price so we could know Him, receive His love, love Him, ourselves and others just as He loves us!  It’s too good to be true, except that it’s not!

He’s the real deal and His Love is incomparable…don’t miss it!

Contact L&L to let us know what you’re thinking and how we can help.

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Make it a great day and God bless in Christ!

Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – You can learn and grow in His unconditional love to love others the same way which includes obediently forgiving others and inviting the Holy Spirit to guide you through the process of the struggle, the emotions and the relationship(s)…OR you can choose to love conditionally, not forgive and allow the enemy to have his way with your emotions, the process and relationship(s).

Love and Lordship…Action Item(s) – 1) During your quiet time in The Word and prayer with The Lord ask Him to reveal to you anyone that you’ve not forgiven; 2) Ask Him to give you the humility, courage and strength to forgive everyone He reveals to you; 3) Ask The Holy Spirit to temper your emotions and guide you through the process of dealing with the pain and any broken relationships, and; 4) Trust The Lord, His Word and His Spirit to help you deal with whatever feelings, consequences and outcomes that comes from the pain and your obedient forgiveness.  He will see you through and strengthen you.