Years ago, I grew very interested in the subject of forgiveness, mostly because I realized how much I needed it in my marriage! So I committed to continuing education and training, as well as applying the principles to my own life with God’s help. This not only profited me with a new coaching niche, but also helped to make my marriage a lot less messy! 😉
I love this quote by Mark Twain . . .
“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
The reason I love it so much is because it eloquently captures the beauty that forgiveness can bring into our lives. When I was holding onto my anger and bitterness in marriage, I felt powerful. I felt like I was locking my husband up in a prison of sorts, when I was really locking myself away in that prison cell.
[bctt tweet=”Once I surrendered my complaints, criticisms and pain to the Lord, I felt His grace wafting in like the fragrance of a broken violet. #forgiveness #marriage #inspirational #LetItGo” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
My results from the Forgiveness Inventory (click the link to take it!) are along the lines of what I expected, being stronger here than I was in the Humility and Self Inventories. But I still have much strengthening to do!
The questions below are from the inventory and include the Scriptures that I anchored this inventory in . . .
How Forgiving are You?
1. I regularly seek God’s examination to reveal any ways I might be holding onto bitterness and anger in my marriage and life.
Hover over Hebrews 12:15 to read the verse.
I scored a “4” (often) because I’ve developed this habit, realizing how powerful God’s conviction can be to correct my perspective. Typically, I do this after I’ve had a bad argument with my spouse. But initially I did it quite a LOT to deal with accumulated resentments.
If you don’t make this a priority, you’ll begin to accumulate resentments too. That is, unless your spouse is easy to live with! If so, then, your mate might be the one who needs to do this more than you! Lol!
2. Most people view me as a compassionate and empathetic person, especially my spouse.
Hover over Colossians 3:12 to read.
I gave myself a “4” on this because this is something both my husband and I have worked hard to develop in our lives. But I still need to work on this more, letting everyone know how much I feel for them.
If you struggle here, especially in your marriage, you’re probably feeling rather walled out, apathetic or both. Empathy can be the sledgehammer that knocks down that wall.
3. I look to the Lord for the strength to be humble, gentle and loving toward those who irritate, challenge, and/or offend me.
Hover over Ephesians 4:2 to read this verse.
I rated myself a “5” (very often). Even though my internal attitude may not be humble, gentle or patient when irritated or offended, I do look to the Lord to do this through me all.the.time!
If you’re not tapping into the Lord’s power to help you be humble, gentle, patient and loving, you’re truly missing out! Try it the next time your spouse offends.
4. I work hard at not holding a grudge against others—especially my spouse—because I realize God has forgiven me.
Hover over Colossians 3:13.
I gave myself a “5” here because that’s always my motivation for letting resentments go. There’s no way I can withhold forgiveness when Christ forgives me!
5. When dealing with someone who continues to sin against me, I graciously confront, quickly forgive, while also holding him/her accountable to change going forward.
Hover to read Luke 17:3-4.
I gave myself a “5” because that’s the kind of forgiveness the Lord constantly extends to me.
Some people think that this passage means you should forgive only after someone repents. Though that’s ideal, it’s not the way Christ operated. In His sovereignty, He chose to redeem the elect while we were still in our sins (Rom. 5:8). #mindblown
If you don’t do this, you’re cheating yourself of God’s peace infinitely more than you are the person you’re bitter towards.
6. When conflict or disagreements arise, I am able, for the most part, to remain patient and self-controlled.
Hover over this mighty example from Proverbs 16:32.
I gave myself a “3” (sometimes) because I often let my emotions get the best of me when conflicts arise. #goingAWOL
If you do too, then letting God give you the self-control you need might just be what wins the battle for your marriage.
7. I accept that sometimes I may feel angry, but take that as my cue to find the Lord’s perspective and healing, as well as dealing with it promptly and respectfully with my offender.
Hover over Ephesians 4:26 to read this iconic rule-of-thumb.
I gave myself a “5” here because I’ve learned to deal with my anger quickly—not letting things fester. The same is true of any physical infection. Left unmedicated, it could spell disaster.
If you let your anger boil internally or externally, then you’re just asking for a messy marriage! 😉
8. My prayer life often reveals when I need to forgive someone and I’m quick to do so because I don’t want a wedge in my relationship with God.
Hover over Mark 11:25 to see the power of prayer.
I gave myself a “5” because prayer always reveals much more than I realize is there. Then I quickly release my hurts to the Lord so that nothing hinders my relationship with Him.
If you aren’t asking the Lord to reveal the bitterness in your heart, then you’ll surely miss more than you realize as well.
9. When my spouse or others offend me, I make sure to seriously deal with my sin in the matter before confronting them.
Hover over Matthew 7:3-5 to see the tempting route.
I gave myself a “3” because I get caught up in my emotions in the moment and tend to argue or criticize as my defense. Thankfully, I quickly take those ugly moments to God afterward. I just need to get better at zipping my lip and doing my own moral inventory first.
If you’re more like me here, then you’re probably creating some distance and even damage in your marriage with this one fatal exercise.
10. When someone sins against me, more times than not, I avoid retaliating against them, going on to look for ways to be a channel of blessing in that person’s life.
Hover over 1 Peter 3:9 to see how to replace the “tit-for-tat” strategy.
I gave myself a “3” here because, like #9, I tend to verbally spar due to adrenalin hijacking my brain’s ability to reason. But I know better! Returning evil for evil is never productive nor, more importantly, like Christ!
If you tend to do this, you’re playing a dangerous game that will serve to poison your spouse’s heart against you, not to mention creating a wedge between you and the Lord! 😦
[bctt tweet=”Take my free inventory to find out how forgiving you are. Then use the insights to improve your life and marriage. #forgiveness #marriage #insight #2020″ username=”BethSteffaniak”]
Homework: Take the Forgiveness Inventory. Then focus in on one or two of your weak areas this week, doing what the corresponding Bible verse(s) encourage as your action point. For example: I’m going to work on #9—asking God reveal my sin in a conflict before and perhaps instead of confronting.
FYI, if you subscribe to my blog, you’ll receive my “Forgive U” e-book, along with access to more than 35 resources in my Subscriber Library! Click the link to find all the posts in this series—Insight for 2020.
If you’d like some support for “gaining insight,” click on this link—Facebook group—to request to be added today!
Which of the 10 ways to be forgiving do you most want to work on and why?
What fear or hesitancy do you have about forgiving your mate or a significant offender in your life?
Here are some other lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me Monday, Kingdom Bloggers, Literary Musing Mondays, Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story, InstaEncouragements Linkup, Recharge Wednesday, Worth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Tune in Thursday, Heart Encouragement, Grace and Truth, Faith and Friends, Faith on Fire Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday
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