Bear with each other and forgive one another. Colossians 3:13
Eighty years of marriage! My husband’s great-uncle Pete and great-aunt Ruth celebrated this remarkable milestone on May 31, 2021. After a chance meeting in 1941 when Ruth was still in high school, the young couple were so eager to get married that they eloped the day after Ruth graduated. Pete and Ruth believe God brought them together and has guided them all these years.
Reflecting on eight decades of marriage, Pete and Ruth both agree that one key to sustaining their relationship has been the decision to choose forgiveness. Anyone in a healthy relationship understands that we all regularly need forgiveness for the ways we hurt each other, whether through an unkind word, a broken promise, or a forgotten task.
In a section of Scripture written to help believers in Jesus live together in unity, Paul refers to the essential role forgiveness plays. After urging his readers to choose “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12), Paul adds the encouragement to “forgive one another if any of you has a grievance” (v. 13). Most importantly, all their interactions with each were to be guided by love (v. 14).
Relationships that model the characteristics outlined by Paul are a blessing. May God help all of us work to cultivate healthy relationships characterized by love and forgiveness.
How have you experienced healing through forgiving or being forgiven? How are relationships strengthened through practicing both forgiveness and accountability?
Jesus, help me to forgive others just as You’ve forgiven me.
Compassion is kindness for people in need. More than just feeling pity, compassion moves you to relieve the misery of a person. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the Samaritan “had compassion” on the injured man (Luke 10:33 esv), which moved him to come to his rescue. The Greeks and Romans valued courage, strength, wisdom, power, and revenge. For them, compassion was a weakness, not a virtue. But for believers in Jesus, compassion is what marks us out as God’s children. Jesus tells us to imitate our heavenly Father: “You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate” (6:36 nlt.) Compassion is God’s very person. In one of the greatest self-revelations in the Bible, He described Himself as “the compassionate and gracious God” (Exodus 34:6). We’re most like our Father when we’re compassionate, kind, and gracious to others.