Summary: Mostly a marriage sermon on the 5 phases of forgiveness and reconciliation (Material adapted from Dr. Paul Coleman's book, The Forgiving Marriage) This was preached over 2 Sunday's so it has two HoHum's and WBTU's.
Gerald Lebowitz tells this story- On the way home one night, I spotted some fresh cut roses outside a florist’s shop. After selecting a dozen and entering the shop, I was greeted by a young saleswoman. “Are these for your wife, sir? she asked. “Yes,” I said. “For her birthday?” she asked. “No,” I replied. “For your anniversary?” “No,” I said again. As I picked up the flowers and headed for the door, the young woman called out, “I hope she forgives you.”
How can a marriage recover from the worst of sins like adultery? Adultery breaks a marriage in a way nothing else can. Many marriages cannot recover from adultery and they end. Jesus even said in Matthew 19:9- “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness (adultery), and marries another woman commits adultery.”” Jesus is saying that divorce is permitted in cases of adultery. This is permitted but not commanded. We can forgive and be reconciled and stay true to the marriage covenant even after adultery.
Said last week, A marriage will die without a heavy dose of forgiveness. The failure to give or receive forgiveness probably accounts for nearly every marriage that stops. How can two people survive together without saying, “I’m sorry”? Unfortunately many husbands and wives have a hard time knowing when and how to say these words.
Going to talk about the steps outlined in the “Forgiving Marriage” by Dr. Paul Coleman. However, these steps need to be put into action in all relationships. In marriage but also in parent child, good friends, work friends, church friends, etc.
Tried to put this in one sermon but going over the first 3 phases today and the last 2 next week
Thesis: 5 phases of forgiveness
1. Identify the Hurt and Feel Remorse
Some people think that feelings are always wrong. We all have emotions and the Bible speaks a lot about emotions. Jesus showed emotions - weeping over the death of his friend Lazarus (John 11), being angry at the way the temple was being used, filled with compassion for the sick and the crowds. A well-adjusted person isn't afraid of emotion and realizes that this is a gift of God. God has emotions and we are made in His image.
To feel emotions is to be alive. Sadly, people often hide or deny their feelings. Many of today's psychologists are convinced that one's "emotional intelligence," or EQ, is a far better predictor of life success than one's "rational intelligence," or IQ.
Now the Bible does warn us about using our feelings as the controlling force of our lives. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9, NIV. However, in relationships headed for trouble, we need to admit and identify our feelings. Yes, there are some situations that we just need to overlook. However, that is what some people do all the time and this is not good especially when these things affect the future of the relationship. For example, if you are frightened by your anger, you may pretend instead that you are just a little annoyed. Or you may convince yourself that the hurt against you was no big deal, when it was. If you are afraid of admitting your guilt, you may try to assure yourself that someone else made you act that way or that you didn’t intend to let things get so out of hand. Denying our true feelings is not going to help the relationship.
Feeling remorse is an important part of forgiveness. Remorse can come about only after you acknowledge your guilt. It shows that you feel bad about your role in the problem and that you wish to have a more caring relationship. Remorse goes beyond the feeling of regret. Whereas you feel sorrowful when you regret your actions, remorse goes one step further and points you in the direction of reconciliation. When you’re remorseful, you want to do something constructive to begin the healing process.
Paul said something similar when he confronted the Corinthians about their sins and this lead to productive change. “Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it--I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while-- yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Corinthians 7:8-10, NIV.
2. Confessing and Confronting
Whether you are the one who needs to confront the other person about the hurts against you, or the one who needs to confess to the pain you’ve caused, there is no avoiding confessing or confronting if there is to be a healing of the relationship.