“Forgiveness!”

5/9/18 – Pastor Brian’s blog –

Forgiveness: It Is a Wonderful Thing!

August 10, 1973 is a date that changed my life.  For you see it was 45 years ago this August 10th that I married Judy, the mother of my children.  We had only been dating for 6 months, so the rumor mill was working overtime: “They must have to get married,” or “It will never last.”  To be totally candid, I never doubted that it would last, because from the first time our eyes met… I knew Judy wanted me!!  (Judy might have a different take on this part of our story, but then she can write her own blog!)

After our wedding reception, a group of my “friends” followed us, and, always the one willing to take on the challenge, I tried to ditch them.  We ended up going over 90 MPH, 4 cars abreast south on Interstate 95.  When I took an exit trying to lose them, I ended up in someone’s driveway on a dead-end street, only to be blocked in by my friends.  As Judy and I are sitting there in our car trying to figure out what to do next, a man comes out of his home with a rifle telling us to get out of his driveway and off his street.  Maybe I will come back to that story in a different blog.

Someone once said if you want to show your children how much you love them, then love their mother or love their father.  My children can never doubt how much Judy loves them because Judy loved their dad even when he did not deserve to be loved.  Judy showed my children how much she loved them by giving me one of the most precious gifts known to mankind and that is the gift of forgiveness.

Little did Judy know what she was saying, when she said… “to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life, until death do us part.”

Judy and I have been counseling couples for a long time, and although there are many issues that people are working through, if you go back far enough, you will find that most problems stem from unforgiveness.  Many burdens are carried; many problems go unsolved because of choosing not to forgive.  But the opposite is also true: although often it is difficult, there is a wonderful freedom to those that are wronged as well as the one that did the wrong, to know that they have been completely forgiven.

I don’t need to share with you my stupidity over our almost 45 years of marriage, other than to say, if it wasn’t for Judy’s willingness to forgive me, we would not be celebrating 45 years of marriage this year. There would not be just one dad for my children, nor would be there be only one Nana for my grandchildren.  Judy was so in love with her God and with her children that she chose to forgive the unforgivable. Judy chose to forgive like she has been forgiven… Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

Because of that choice Judy and I are more in love with each other today, than at any other time in our 45 years of marriage.

Now think about this in light of our spiritual life.  I was thinking about this last week as I was preparing my message for this past Sunday. As a bridegroom I rejoiced over Judy, my bride some 45 years ago, and because we had been together only 6 months, it made it much easier for us to rejoice over each other.

Now think about God, my bridegroom. He knows me from eternity past, so He knows all there is to know about me.  He has been watching all my failings. He is aware of all the times I would resist His leadership, those times I would be embarrassed to be called one of His, yet at the marriage supper of the Lamb, when I become His bride, God will receive me with gladness and a song.  He will be ecstatic over me, He will delight in me, His bride… The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

Just imagine! God rejoicing over me, God delighting in me, and then singing because of me!!  And it has everything to do with God’s willingness to forgive me of my sins.  And it is no different for you, if you have accepted Christ as your own personal Savior.

So Happy Mother’s Day Judy! Thanks for living in forgiveness and making our marriage work.  And God, thank you for forgiving me for far more than anyone knows, and then rejoicing over me with singing.  I am eternally grateful, because of that forgiveness, I am free.  Forgiveness: it is a wonderful thing!