By Trisha Davis
Foreword by Ashley McIlwain
Justin & Trisha Davis just released a new book that you’re going to want to get your hands on . . . that is, if you are ready to join the movement away from an ordinary marriage.
It’s called Beyond Ordinary.
In this beautifully written book, Justin and Trisha take us inside the slow fade that occurred in their own marriage—each telling the story from their own perspective. Together, they reveal the mistakes they made, the work they avoided, the thoughts and feelings that led to an affair and near divorce, and finally, the heart-change that had to occur in both of them before they could experience the hope, healing, and restoration of a truly extraordinary marriage.
Visit www.BeyondOrdinaryBook.com today and download a FREE 2-chapter sample of the book PLUS access additional FREE RESOURCES that are available for a limited time.
Today, Trisha shares with us about part of her journey from pain to forgiveness, and ultimately, forgiveness …
Forgiving the Cheating Pastor
In the fall of 2005 my husband Justin, the lead pastor of the church we planted in 2002, confessed he was having an affair with our children’s director. She not only was a staff member but also my best friend of seven years. With one confession I lost my husband, my best friend and my church family. I had to make one of the hardest decisions of my life. Would I become bitter knowing that bitterness leads too bondage? Or become broken knowing that brokenness leads to forgiveness and through forgiveness comes freedom?
Most of us have a story of being mistreated, betrayed, abused, lied to and the list could go on and on. Being a Christian seems to complicate forgiving the person(s) that hurt you especially when they don’t deserve it. But lets be honest, even when we think we should forgive we have no idea what that means in the context of ourown story. Forgiveness can be so frustrating!
Matthew 18:23-33 tells the parable of the Unmerciful Servant. Jesus paints a picture of a servant that owed a great debt to his master. The master chooses to forgive the servant’s large debt completely! The servant then returns home only to demand that one of his servants pay him back in full the small amount he was owed.
The servant was “wicked” because although he was forgiven for his HUGE debt, he wouldn’t forgive his servant’s small debt. This story makes sense right? But then I realized … oh wait … God are you telling me that I am the unmerciful servant because I won’t forgive…
A year after the affair I felt like God was calling me to write a letter to the “other woman.” I needed to tell her I forgave her. I wanted her to know God had given me eyes to see that the affair was a manifestation of a deeper brokenness within both of them. I told her I loved her and her family and would miss them no longer being a part of my life. The freedom I felt after sending the letter was amazing. I had closed that chapter of my life and now it was time to move on … so I thought.
Months went by and then years and I never received a response. Over time I felt myself spiraling into that deep place of pain … AGAIN. Slowly the feelings of anger and bitterness started to creep in. I poured my heart out, forgave her, extended grace and she doesn’t even respond?
I had offered forgiveness the best way I knew how. What I later realized was that my understanding of forgiveness was really not forgiveness at all.
I thought I was the “Master” forgiving her of her great debt. She was the unmerciful servant never responding to me! But by God’s grace I came to realize what you probably don’t want to hear. I realized that I, too, am the unmerciful servant when I choose not to forgive freely!
Jesus died for MY SINS when He did nothing wrong. He was spit at, cursed at, beaten, abused, and hung on a cross to die a slow death so that I could have eternal life with Him. Whatever your story, whatever your hurt, He knows and understands. Forgiveness is a gift from the Father that brings freedom and life.
Forgiveness is painful. It may at first feel like you are being crucified when trying to forgive. Forgiveness may never make sense, and reconciliation may never happen. With or without forgiveness, you will feel pain. The difference between the pain of forgiveness and the pain of resentment is the pain of forgiveness is redemptive pain. Resentment will only bring destructive pain. But each time I choose to forgive, I am set free and a part of my heart is healed.
Forgiveness leads to freedom.
Justin & Trisha Davis met at Lincoln Christian University. Justin received his BA in Christian education, and Trisha later earned her BA from Indiana University. The Davises’ return to ministry is the result of a victorious battle for their marriage and family. In 2009 they founded RefineUs Ministries, Inc., to ignite a movement in the church and among pastors and church planters to build healthy marriages and families. Today Justin and Trisha are bloggers, authors, and teachers in Nashville, TN.