How do I forgive my spouse for past mistakes?

Out of love for the Lord and your spouse, you make the choice to forgive! This may mean making that choice repeatedly, depending on the depth of the offense, but the choice must be made regardless. Making the choice to forgive does not mean that the feelings or hurts go away instantly, but as you continually choose to forgive, those negative feelings will subside over time.

Making the choice to forgive does mean that you are being obedient to the Lord and staying right with Him. Jesus taught us in His model prayer that forgiveness is a must. Right after that, He gave added explanation:

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:12, 14-15).

In this passage, we see that our responsibility to forgive others is directly linked to our heavenly Father forgiving us. He alone is perfectly holy. So, if our heavenly Father can forgive us for anything, who are we not to forgive someone else, especially the one that we have made such a special covenant with before God in marriage?

Jesus also taught that our forgiveness is not bound by how many times someone wrongs us. For example, in teaching on offenses, Jesus said, “And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent’, you shall forgive him” (Luke 17:4). Since forgiveness is continual with the Father, then it must be continual with us.

Forgiveness does not mean that you stay in a dangerous or abusive situation. You can forgive the way you should and still protect yourself and/or your children. If that is the case, seek help immediately from your local church and law enforcement. You may also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.