“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)
In the communication that flows between a husband and wife there are ten critical words that often must be spoken. These ten words have saved marriages and the lack of them has dissolved marriages.
The ten words are: “I was wrong. I am sorry. Will you forgive me?” And they critically need this ten-word response: “You were wrong. I was hurt. But I forgive you.”
Some people will never say the words: “I was wrong.” They will never say: “I am sorry.” And they certainly would never ask for forgiveness. They would rather live alone for the rest of their lives than say these ten critical words. It may be their pride prevents them or perhaps they are driven by the myth of their own perfection. But these words can make the difference between marriage and living alone.
It is hard to imagine an unforgiving authentic disciple of Jesus Christ when the Disciple’s Prayer instructs us to forgive as we have been forgiven or we invalidate our own forgiveness. (Matthew 6:8-15) According to most translations of the Disciple’s Prayer, we are actually asking our Lord to forgive us as we have already forgiven those who have sinned against us.
Can you say these ten critical words?
“I was wrong. I am sorry. Will you forgive me?”
Dick Woodward, 25 September 2012
Editor’s Note: Singletons out there are not off the hook, as this teaching can also be applied to family and friendships – maintaining healthy relationships all around vs. being alone in ‘perfect’ aloneness.