Failed relationships are not uncommon among people. They change, grow apart, find new interests, move; and a myriad of other things. While statistics continue to reveal that in marital relationships; the divorce rate continues to increase although there is much debate as the cause. The current divorce rate for first time marriage is higher than 50% while for second or third marriage it is said to be even higher.
Many will say that the cause for divorce is marriage which is true; however, it is much deeper than most people will discuss or even recognize. The rate for couples going their separate ways after living common law is also increasing since more people are choosing to cohabitate compared to getting married. Toss into the mix the number of homosexuals who get involved in intimate relationships and additional statistics will reveal more broken relationships. The reasons? The so called relationships experts will claim the proverbial lack of communication, trust, times are changing, financial reasons; and more. While all of these may contribute; not one of them is the hidden core that is left un-investigated. In parent-child relationships it too is evident. Yes the problems may not be the same; however, the outcome still desecrates the lives of those who unknowingly let it.
It is the one killer of relationships that contaminates more people than cancer. It breeds to every area of a person’s life and causes much internal struggle, selfishness, rage, envy, control, bitterness and resentment. It takes no prisoners and it destroys lives through every thought, action; and future behavior. It breaks people down and tortures their lives beyond their wildest imagination. It is one thing that no pill or chemotherapy can cure. It is something so small that can change one’s life in a matter of seconds to the detriment of everyone involved. It ruins lives without fail or hesitation to unsuspecting victims who are too focused on themselves to see what is actually taking their lives. What it is? It is un-forgiveness.
Un-forgiveness is very unforgiving in the pain that it is known to cause. Not only does un-forgiveness wreck havoc on a person spiritually; its physical manifestation is clear for all to see. Unforgiveness has been defined by Worthington and colleagues (Worthington, Sandage,& Berry, 2000; Worthington & Wade, 1999) as a combination of delayed negative emotions (i.e., resentment, bitterness, hostility, hatred, anger, and fear) toward a transgressor. It is clear to understand in this definition how the negative emotions lead to negative thoughts as well as negative or even criminal behaviors. Yes the almost 40 symptoms of un-forgiveness cause one to behave in a manner contrary to the Word of God; however, it is the un-forgiveness that is the root to the internal problem that destroys lives. In addition; for the Christian the consequences are much deeper with a much higher price to pay. Matthew 6:14-15 reads: “
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (KJV)
There are a few words that must be further discussed in order to truly understand the importance of this message. The first word to understand is ‘if’ because this places the responsibility on the person who needs to forgive. To be obedient to Christ this means that forgiveness is a command not an option for a rainy day. ‘If’ a person forgives ‘then’ he or she will be forgiven. It is also important to note that there are over 176 places in the Bible where ‘If you then I’ are stated. There is no way around obedience to Christ through being unforgiving toward anyone for their actions. And if you want healthy, sustainable, godly relationships, family, community and society then it starts with you; and it starts with you living in forgiveness.