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Unforgiving: NOT a Christ-like attitude

Published: Wednesday, 02 July 2014 Written by Carlton L. Arnold

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”  Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.  Matthew 18:20-22

People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God   2 Timothy 3:2-4

“He lets her dress like a prostitute!” 

“She lets him drink alcohol and stay out as late as he wants!” 

“He totally ignores her and lets her play with anything.” 

“She buys him whatever he wants.” 

“I can’t get him to bring her to church.” 

“He/She is ruining his/her life with the way he/she lives.”

“I am always having to go the extra yard to buy him/her what is really needed.”

“I don’t know how I will ever forgive him/her for what he/she has done to me and my kids.”

The above are a few comments that you have heard when there is a divorce.  I’ve added children to most of the comments because of the impact divorce has on children.

Most of the people reading this will probably have personally experienced a divorce or have had a family member involved in a divorce.  A divorce is an agreement to separate.  However, the love and affection shared during the good times of a marriage usually build such a high emotional stake that separation is extremely difficult.  What happens are the incidents described above. 

To protect the high emotional investment, strong feelings carry over after the divorce.  It takes an extremely herculean effort to overcome these emotions and feelings that have been trampled on by another person.  There is something that comes within us that says, “I’ve got to pay them back for what they did to me!”  When this is put into the brain of a divorcee, that person CAN NEVER act in a Christ-like manner toward their ex. 

This is not an evaluation of when and if Christians should divorce.  I am speaking strictly about the person’s attitude after divorce.  It is spiritually wrong for a Christian to possess feelings of hatred, revenge, loathness, etc. toward another human being when their Savior died on the cross asking forgiveness for those who were crucifying Him.  I cannot reconcile anyone’s feelings toward their ex when I picture Jesus Christ forgiving the sins of both divorcees.  There is no separation when Christ loves them. I don’t think God accepts any excuses for not demonstrating love toward everyone especially our enemies. 

The “worldly” Webster dictionary defines “unforgiving” as follows:

: not willing to forgive other people

: very harsh or difficult : not allowing weakness, error, etc.

I praise God that He does not apply that definition to me or you or anyone involved in a divorce.  God forgives those that are the most difficult to forgive – YOU!  Now, don’t let your “after divorce” feelings toward your ex determine your Christ-like behavior.  Let the love and peace of God flow through your entire being so that when you and your family look back at post divorce incidents, all that can be seen are the nail-scarred hands of your Lord and Savior.


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