Forgiveness Trumps Conventional Wisdom
By Bruce Hebel –
Brad and Molly came to us in crisis. Three weeks earlier Molly had discovered Brad’s pornography addiction and his multiple affairs, including Molly’s best friend, Brad’s best friend’s wife and prostitutes. She was shocked.
A couple of days after the initial confrontation, Brad picked up his Bible. As he began to read, something inside him broke. For two hours he tearfully read the Bible and for the first time, understood the grace of God and the forgiveness provided for him through the blood of the cross. He was dramatically transformed. Heart cleansed. Desires changed.
Molly recognized the change but couldn’t get over the offense. “I thought we had a great marriage. I swore I would not be like my mom, but now I have become my mom because he has become my dad.” She went on to explain how her father would leave her in the car as an alibi while he had affairs with women.
Conventional wisdom wouldn’t give this couple good survival odds, but conventional wisdom doesn’t understand the power of forgiveness. I looked at Brad and asked who hurt him as a child. He described the horrific sexual abuse his sister committed against him from the time he was five years old until he was age eleven. We gently told him, “You must forgive your sister.”
As Brad began to forgive the numerous wounds from his sister, Molly began to weep uncontrollably. Toni knelt beside her and cradled Molly in her arms. After Brad finished forgiving the wounds from his sister, he forgave himself. I asked him “How is your heart?” He told us he would never have believed his heart could be any better than the day he trusted the Lord, but in fact it was better now than ever. He was unmistakably free.
Then Toni looked at Molly and said, “You won’t be free, totally free, until you also walk through forgiveness.” After forgiving Brad and her father, the change in her countenance was remarkable and as they stood up to leave, Molly embraced Brad for the first time in three weeks. In fact, on the way home, she unbuckled her seat belt and slid over and snuggled next to him. He almost wrecked the truck! When we saw them a month later she told us their marriage has never been this good. Forgiveness trumped conventional wisdom.
AUTHOR QUOTE: Jesus never let the offence determine whether or not He would forgive someone!
“He himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world” (1 John 2:2 NASB).
Today’s devotional is by Bruce Hebel, President of Regenerating Life Ministries (forgiving forward.com) and Adjunct Professor at Carver Bible College. Bruce is the author of the seminar and soon to be published book “Forgiving Forward: Unleashing the Forgiveness Revolution” He is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and, along with his wife Toni, has served in pastoral ministry for over 35 years.