Chapter 4: Healing Hurts through Confession and Forgiveness

Chapter Summary

  • If the work done on the lists in Chapter 3 was done in connection with God, each spouse has taken responsibility for those things that hurt the other
  • The reason time is given to deal with both the List 1 (Unresolved Guilt) and List 2 (Unresolved Pain) is to give each individual time with God to understand God’s love expressed in forgiveness for List 1 and comfort for List 2
  • A tender heart is helpful when it comes to being willing to now take responsibility for hurtful actions in a meeting with the one whose heart was hurt
  • Hopefully the answer to the Show Empathy question on page 32 is “Yes
  • Agree with God and your spouse about your wrongdoing (NOT YOUR SPOUSE’S!) and remembering that you have not only hurt your spouse with your sin, but God as well.
  • If you want to use scripture memory:  Ephesians 4:31-32
  • Learning to choose forgiveness even when you don’t feel like it and tearing up your list—the hurts must be forgiven just as God has forgiven you (he doesn’t continue to hold our sin against us—it is forgiven once for all time!)
  • Forgiving another person is a form of stewardship – Christ gave me forgiveness; now I have the privilege and responsibility to give it away, even before being asked
  • As confessions are made using List 1 – realize your spouse may have never done or seldom done this.  Please do not judge sincerity of the confession
  • Realistically, will your spouse hurt you again in the same or similar ways?  Will you possibly hurt your spouse?  Yes, but less often and by God’s grace will take responsibility and ask forgiveness more quickly.  Some things must never happen again…adultery, abuse, etc.


Small Group Questions

  1. Take 1-2 minutes and write in the margin of your book on page 35 or 36 some words that describe your Marriage Staff Meeting.
  2. Share with the group some of the words you wrote down that characterize your Marriage Staff Meeting.
  3. Even if you did not complete all you hoped of the exercise, do you see the value and why or why not?
  4. What can happen if you apologize for an offense before taking personal responsibility for it?
  5. Why is it important to try to view how you hurt your spouse through his/her eyes?
  6. What happens when you view your offensive behavior through God’s eyes?
  7. What were your feelings after the confession / forgiveness exercise?
  8. Since Godly sorrow brings repentance (change), name one area that you anticipate God will change in your life.
  9. How can you and your spouse keep short accounts with each other in the future so you don’t “…let the sun go down on your anger after hurt has occurred?  (Ephesians 4:26)
  10. If couples get “stuck here and can’t or won’t move into confession and forgiveness, encourage them to get help along with continuing IE or instead of continuing with IE.  See the pastor or other trusted source for referrals and recommendations.