Real Men Are Desperate To Forgive
by: Jason Jenkins
At about year 12 of marriage I thought the marriage was over and a lot of me hoped it was over. I hated her, I hated us, but I really hated me. I hated what we had become. I hated who I had become. I had become safe, predictable, and religious. We had played the game for so long and we were both tired. Our marriage was full of “I O U’s”, selfishness, playing church, work… It was all just a game. The worst part was, as a fixer, I couldn’t fix it.
The foundation of our marriage was birthday parties, Christmas presents, kids, and stuff. Man we could accumulate some stuff. Houses, paychecks, dogs, vehicles, tractors, anything to keep the “new car smell” in our life. When it came to depth, there was none. What were we really made of? What was genuine and authentic about who we were? Nothing.
There was never an affair or any kind of secret sin either of us had. We weren’t addicts, or alcoholics. We didn’t gamble and didn’t have stupid spending habits. Basically on the outside we were perfect. But we were unforgiving, we held grudges, we had a truck load of junk in our childhood we had never dealt with, and we didn’t know how to communicate well at all.
When it came to forgiveness, it was like I had a pocket full and I would weigh each fault, then distribute as needed.
I always thought of forgiveness like it was a “do I”, “should I”, or “how much” for each offense against me. Like medicine to a wound, “apply when needed”. Almost like the rose petals being thrown at a wedding, I only had so many and they would soon be gone. We usually weigh the situation and determine if forgiveness should be given and how much. Real funny.
When I hit the wall and realized I was my problem and I had to fix me, the first person I had to forgive was the person who molested me when I was 10. I had to go to the moment, say his name out loud and forgive him. I had to go to him personally, tell him I love him and that I can’t move on until I forgive him. That was a huge moment in my marriage. It’s sounds weird, but what happened to me shaped me into the person I was and it was killing my marriage. Forgiveness saved my marriage. If I could forgive the greatest sin against me, I could forgive anything in my marriage. Bitterness, anger, insecurities, grudges, shallowness all went away when I learned how to forgive. I learned how to love my bride fully when I learned how to forgive.
You see, forgiveness isn’t something you do or don’t do, it’s who you are. I don’t decide if I’m going to wear my skin or not, it just goes where I go.
If I claim to be a Christian, forgiveness no longer becomes an option. Jesus went to the cross knowing I would blow it and he still forgave me…before the offense. Forgiving is a decision you make when you said yes to Christ, not your vow on your wedding day. When do I forgive? Yes! How do I forgive? Yes! But what about? Yes!
When I grasped this in my thinking, it changed my marriage. It changed the way I love people. It changed the man I am. Real men forgive because Christ forgave first. Ahhhh, what a breath of fresh air. No where in my thinking do I get angry with anyone who wronged me, especially my wife. It’s a beautiful place to be.