See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Hebrews 12:15
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. Revelations 3:19
How many times did I withhold forgiveness? How many times did I store up bitterness and resentment in my heart? Many. I tried to be a good wife, loving, giving, and supportive. I felt as if I was pouring myself out for my husband and was in many ways, but I desired (and deep down expected) him to do the same. He didn’t. I kept a record of his wrongs in my heart and mind. His behavior was wrong and words were abusive but God told me time and time again to bring it to Him and leave it with Him, but I didn’t. I stored them up feeding my bitter root and it grew up. It grew into my mind and ultimately did exactly as God’s word said it would do, it caused trouble and has defiled many. In my bitterness and anger I did what was wrong in the eyes of the only One that matters. I gave in to the hatred and exposed my husband for who he really was.
In His gracious time, the Lord revealed this to me. With great gentleness and compassion He lifted my eyes to the revealing mirror of His word. There was no condemnation, no yelling, nothing to raise my defensives, just His love and the truth of me. He told me “Jodie my dear, you missed My grace. I poured out my blood for your forgiveness and I asked you to pass that on. You didn’t. Were his sins against you greater than your sins against me?” Of course my sins against the Creator are greater than anyone’s sins against me, including my soon to be ex-husband. God did not expect me to stay in an abusive relationship but what He did expect of me was to bring my brokenness to Him and go the way He was leading me. He told me over and over to “let go and let God” but I did not listen, I heard but I did not listen. I am listening now. However, now I must first forgive all the wrongs of my husband and then use them against him in a court of law. It would have been much easier to have followed the Lord’s leading initially than to have to do it now in this way. The valley is deep and the lesson hard, but it is a lesson learned. Jesus’ forgiveness is not just for me and I cannot hold onto it thanking Him for it then turn around and withhold it from people who sin against me. I was the unmerciful servant from Matthew 18:21-35. I so graciously accepted the forgiveness of my wrongs but withheld that same forgiveness from the man I married. Do not misunderstand me, an abusive relationship is not a model of a covenant marriage and God does not condone abuse. I had biblical reasons for divorce I also had Biblical reasons to make it work.
Are there people who have sinned against you who you withhold forgiveness from? Are you also the unmerciful servant Jesus warned us about? Take those hurts to the Lord and ask Him to help you overcome and forgive so that no root of bitterness grows in you. I warn you dear person, it will cause trouble and defile many. If you are in an abusive relationship, you must put a stop to it by leaving the relationship. Divorce may not be the answer separation may bring just enough space for healing and reconciliation. Give thanks to the Lord when He does rebuke you, it is only because of His great love for you.