Part Two: Horizontal Forgiveness

The ultimate forgiver

Quite a few years ago, the wife and I sat in a pastor’s office enumerating our woes as wounded partners in an injured marriage. As we poured out our hearts to him, he patiently sat there listening to every word. I told him that I loved my wife, but we were beginning to drift apart.

After we’d finished, he reached into his back pocket and retrieved his wallet. He thumbed through a couple denominations and withdrew a twenty-dollar bill. He said, “Let me tell you a story about a twenty-dollar bill.

He laid the twenty on his desk and said, “Just for a moment, imagine this twenty-dollar bill represents the love you and your wife have for each other.” He reached across the table and picked up a small stack of papers. “. . .And let’s further suppose this stack of papers, depicts the differences, arguments, and garbage you’ve experienced in your marriage.

He began placing the papers, one at a time, on top of the twenty-dollar bill naming each one as he went: “Here’s a little dissension. . .here’s some jealousy; how about some anger; woe, there’s some impatience; oops, there’s some unkindness.” He continued stacking them, “. . .lack of self-control. . .disharmony. . .stonewalling. . .bad attitude. . .oo-o-o and here’s a bad tongue and some nit-pick.” He wasn’t done yet. “Here’s some control. . .lording. . .lack of gentleness and sensitivity.” The man was a prophet.

By the time he finished he had close to two-dozen papers on top of the bill. “This seems like a lot,” he said, “. . .and. . .it is. . .but over time, you can see how the garbage stockpiles and covers love up, one sheet at a time until. . .” He jestered toward the invisible twenty-dollar- bill, and said, “Where’s the love at? This is where you’re at right now.

v12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. [Ecclesiastes 4:12 KJV]

For the next session, we had to do something nice for each other and share it next meeting. That week, I went to a retail store and bought the prettiest silver picture frame I could find, placed a twenty-dollar bill in the center of the glass, wrapped it, and presented it to her at Sharis, our favorite restaurant. She loved it. . .and I loved giving it. Maybe the love may still be there. Well, it was this week.

Things get complicated without the threefold cord. Christ should be the backbone of any relationship or marriage. It takes more than love. It takes commitment and forgiveness.

Thank you, Lord, for our pastor servant who helped us in our time of need. Thank you for being that third cord in our relationship. Thank you for the woman you sent me. Help us figure things out Lord. I put myself and us in your hands and I can’t think of better hands in which to reside. In your precious name, AMEN.

Forgiveness is the basis of our faith

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