Question:

Hello Minister,

I write this with the hope that you'll be able to help me to unshackle this chain that I've been hauling for many years. I'm a very angry man, and I find it difficult to forgive and let it go. I used to be a very kind and loving person of which I'll like to believe deep down I still am. It all started with my ex-wife cheating with another married man and eventually caused us to divorce. That whole experience has left a very deep scar in my heart, and as a result I've since stopped trusting women in general.

Since then I remarried and we have children. The new wife also cheated with another married man,  she asked for forgiveness, and I told her I forgave her, but the truth is that I haven't and each time we have a disagreement I end up bringing up the whole cheating saga. It's been several years since the cheating happened and we've been married for over a decade now.

I need help before it's too late. What should I do to be healed? Is there a chance for me to ever love and learn to trust a woman again or any other person for that matter? I'm living a lie. I pretend to be happy, but the sad truth is that I'm far from it.

Please, man of God, tell me what to do.

Thank you in advance and I'm looking forward to hear from you.


Answer:

For a Christian, true forgiveness is not an option. "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 6:14-15). Your salvation is determined by your ability to forgive others. Yes, I understand that your wife's adultery hurts deeply, but that is not an excuse to withhold forgiveness.

I assume she has not repeated her sin, so all you are doing is trying to punish her by constantly bringing up the past every time you are mad at her. However, love "keeps no record of wrongs" (I Corinthians 13:5 NIV). By constantly bringing up the past, you make it more difficult to solve current problems. Problems are easier solved when they are dealt with one at a time. How would you like it if your boss at work reminded you of your past mistakes each time you made a different mistake?

Therefore, first understand that your wife did not leave you for another man. She has chose to stay with you, and that says something considering the way you've been treating her. Appreciate her. Love her because that is what you are commanded to do. "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her" (Ephesians 5:25). When Christ died for us, we were not all that lovable; yet, Christ chose to love us and die for us. That word for love in the Greek refers to a dedicated love that is given, even when it is not returned. It isn't necessarily something you feel but something you choose to give.

Second, there are two studies I want you to work through, reading all the passages:

These will give you a better idea regarding how to manage your anger. Most often we get angry when we want something to change and can't make it happen. I suspect that you are wanting the past to change. What you have to realize is that it won't change, but you can change the future. Focus on what you do have the ability to change.