Monthly Archives: December 2015

Forgiveness When a Relationship

FORGIVENESS never seemed a struggle for me until I found myself in a situation where wrong had been done to me and there was absolutely no burden felt by the other side. And to give you an indication of how much I’d been blessed by God in the extension of forgiving grace, I’d forgiven a major marital infidelity in my first marriage.

Having attended the ‘church of AA’ at the time, I was skilfully coached through the blessings of journeying with my responsibility and not my blame. Still, to have a partner of over a decade move you out so they could establish a relationship with a new partner, and to reach a place of real forgiveness and understanding in less than nine months, that was God’s blessed grace – a miracle I have no power of explanation for. Though it wavered for a time, I never lost respect for nor the friendship of this first spouse. And, to that end, I thought forgiveness was easy.

But for some issues forgiveness is not easy – and it can seem impossible.

FORGIVING SOMEONE WHO SHARES NO BURDEN OF RESPONSIBILITY

This is the hardest issue; where there’s no responsibility taken for the mess. In such situations where people we’re in conflict with aren’t sorry, and worse, when they can only point their finger at us, we’re left feeling infuriated.

Of course, some people don’t understand because they’ve got no desire to understand; they don’t want to compromise nor see that the way they treated us was uncaring. They may not have a heart to reconcile matters. I’m assuming here that we’re the ones who’ve owned our side of the mess; we’ve done our apologising and reparation.

For some, it’s more important being right than having right relationships. And, even though that is a foolish way to live, we have to respect their right to live as they see fit. But living as we see fit is opposed to God’s purposes, when God would have us reconcile to make the relationship right. Being right is secondary to the relationship in the Lord’s eyes.

RECEIVING AN APOLOGY WE MAY NEVER RECEIVE

Many of us are waiting on an apology we may never receive. I’ve heard many encouraging stories from pastors who, years and even decades later, received someone’s heartfelt apology. We should live in hope that people are close enough to God that his Holy Spirit may convict their hearts to reconcile unreconciled matters. Of course, we need to follow this ourselves, ardently.

In the meantime, we can take their avoidance of us as an indicator that they’re uncomfortable without being sorry. We can take their ongoing mistrust of us as an indicator that they anticipate that we cannot trust them either. We can be thankful that relations don’t need to be close. And yet we ought to pray that one day there would be an opportunity to reconcile.

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We don’t know how much we need God’s strength until we have to forgive someone who isn’t sorry, and accept an apology we may never receive.

God’s wisdom bears repeating: it’s better to be in right relationship with people than to be right. When we think we’re right, more often than not we’re wrong. Just thinking that we’re right means we’re blind to the portion of wrong we cannot see.

Relationships are a two-way street, no matter whether it’s family, church or work. One-way relationships only work if the person doing all the work is empowered by God’s grace.

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The Need for Love and a Relationship

Men and women were created to be physically attracted to each other, irrespective of their looks, stature, colour or other qualities that differentiate one person from another. What causes attraction between the opposite sex is in-built in men and women. This is why couples fall in love with each other and later get married – just as it was intended by God, the Creator.

However, “many couples fall in love, marry, and assume that the job is completed. They believe that everything else will work out automatically.” This is far from the truth. A successful relationship does not come by chance. It has to be worked for in love by the couples concerned.

“The cure for all the ills and wrongs, the cares, the sorrow and the crimes of humanity, all lies in one word – ‘love’. It is the divine vitality that everywhere produces and restores life. To each and every one of us, it gives the power of working miracles if we will.” According to Nancy Van Pelt, “thousands commit suicide each year, multitude flock to the courts for divorce while many are in mental hospitals, all for the lack of love and human affection”.

Dr. Smiley Blanton in his book, Love or Perish, says “For more than forty years I have sat in my office and listened while people of all ages and classes told me of their hopes and fears… As I look back over the long, full years, one truth emerges clearly in my mind – the universal need for love… They cannot survive without love: they must have it or they will perish.”

When love fails, relationships fall into ruins and impossible frustrations deluge those involved and those around them. Such emotional pressure may result in juvenile delinquency, adult crime, alcoholism and various forms of drug addiction.

You need to love your spouse. “It is love that spins the universe, and when we fail to use love properly, all of life suffers.” The truth is that we all need love in huge quantities. Love is the single most important force contributing to our total well-being. With love in your relationship, you can forge ahead through life’s most bitter moments and also withstand insults and cruelty.

A word of caution is necessary here. Do not expect unconditional love from your spouse all the time! This is humanly impossible. You must recognize that your spouse demands a certain standard of behaviour from you before he or she will be able to love you more.

Love – the Woman’s Perspective
Love is necessary for human survival, and women have great capacity for love and capacity to be loved. A woman’s love is seen in the home when she prepares the family meal, when she washes her spouse’s and children’s clothes, when she cares for the children in a variety of other ways. A woman’s love is expressed when she speaks to or discusses with her husband. When she rises early to prepare the children for school, her love shines through. Her fervent prayers for the man’s success speak of her love. Her warm greetings as the man leaves in the morning and when she arrives home at night evidence her great love for the man.

A woman’s capacity to love can bring out the very best from a man. Her love can keep a man from a life of crime. Her love can spark hope and renewed trust in a man – making him feel wanted and important. When a man’s hopes and dreams are shattered, her love can comfort him. When discouragement sets in and dreams crumble, the woman can help him build new ones.

The world needs the gentle, loving, affectionate touch of a woman, and the love within her merely awaits the right man to tap its fountain of love and affection. Women also have enormous capacity for love. Not only do they have to share affection, they also have large capacity to absorb love in return.

Often when a young man woos a young woman, he persists all day with sweet words and kind deeds. This suddenly stops as soon as the young man has won the young woman over, forgetting the woman’s intense need to feel loved on a daily basis for the rest of her life.

Because of her capacity for affection, daily expressions of romantic love are vital to a woman’s existence. It is the key to her self-worth, her satisfaction with married life, and her sexual responsiveness. By consistently and thoughtfully expressing romantic love, many men could melt even the most frigid woman.

While love and romance is sweet and play an important role in a relationship, it may be reasonable to conclude here that love alone is not enough. “A cake made from nothing but sugar would soon dissolve.”

Love – the Man’s Perspective
Men are lovers, but their approach to love differs from that of women. Men are affectionate by nature, and it is a gross misunderstanding to think that men resort to affection only when it involves sex. Although a man’s love may not be so directly tied to his emotions as a woman’s, it is still very real. He is just more often practical and less romantic in his demonstration of love.

A man shows his love as he juggles the bank account to buy things for the home, the wife and the children. A man may feel very little emotion in rising very early in the morning and returning very late at night every day, but his main reason for doing so is his love for his family. Men endure this routine for a lifetime and often as for a little more than meals and an embrace at the proper time.

No matter how rough the outside of a man, tenderness and love still lurks underneath the surface. A man by nature is kind, affectionate, loving and sentimental. He has tender ways and can be deeply thoughtful. And he expresses his love for his family in a variety of ways.

Whereas love does not make up a man’s entire existence, he cannot live without it. Love motivates a man to work, plan, sacrifice, invest, expand and pursue. It is for love that he gives up his singleness, accepts full financial responsibility for her and all children born to the union, and gives away his most prized possession – freedom.

There is no limit to the love a woman can receive from a man when she learns to open the door to his heart, for she can provide the right emotional atmosphere for him to freely expose his feelings and dare to share his love.

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