Finding Forgiveness in Unlikely Places

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Husbands and wives sometimes have a hard time forgiving each other for leaving dirty clothes on the floor, forgetting to bring dirty dishes to the sink, or not remembering to get the oil changed in the car after several reminders. When the situation involves the people they love the most, couples can be really stubborn about the smallest issues, which often end up becoming the biggest problems in their marriage.

The next time you have difficulty forgiving your spouse, I want you to remember the story of a woman from Muskegon, Michigan who actually hired a hit man to kill her husband. What she didn’t know was that the hit man was an undercover police officer. Apparently, this woman had initially spoken to a co-worker about carrying out the fateful deed. After he refused, he tipped off police about her plans.

Fortunately, because of that tip, the plan was never carried out and the woman was arrested for attempted murder. During the trial, however, you may be surprised to learn that her husband was her biggest cheerleader. He forgave her and then rallied for her sentence to be reduced.

This woman claims her motive for having him killed wasn’t money, but that she thought it would be easier than divorcing him. That way, she said she wouldn’t have to feel the judgment from her family or worry about breaking her husband’s heart. Her thinking is obviously troubling, but it’s amazing to me that her husband still found it in his heart to forgive her, even going as far as saying that she is even more of a godly woman since it all happened than she was before the incident. Despite her husband’s efforts, she was convicted and received a sentence with a minimum of five years and eight months to a maximum of 20 years.

Why is it that a man can forgive his wife after she tried to have him killed but many husbands and wives can’t forgive their spouse for failing to remember to pick up something at the store or speaking harshly in a moment of frustration? Too many marriages are in trouble because couples are failing to forgive one another.

One of the reasons that forgiveness is so hard is because people believe that by forgiving someone, they are condoning their behavior and dismissing everything that happened. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Even though this man has forgiven his wife, it didn’t diminish what happened or prevent this woman from spending time in prison.

When you choose to forgive your spouse (or any other person), you don’t do it for the sake of the other person, you do it for yourself. It actually releases you from the stress that comes from holding a grudge. The other person may feel some sort of relief from your forgiveness, but they still have to live with the consequences of their actions. That means they are most likely reliving the situation in their mind over and over again wishing they’d made a different choice.

A study conducted by a health psychologist at Stanford University in 2002 revealed that “not forgiving” can actually raise your blood pressure, adversely affect your immune function, lead to depression, and cause physical stress to your body.

The next time you have trouble forgiving your spouse, remember the guy who forgave his wife for far more than what you are dealing with!