Our first stage of forgiveness is we rediscover the humanity of the person who hurt us. The second stage is we surrender our right to get even. The third stage is we revise our feelings.
After seeing his/her humanity and giving up on vengeance we may actually begin to desire some good for the one who caused our pain. In other words we become ok with God granting some grace to him/her. It isn’t a strong feeling at first but it builds to where we feel sincere in saying it.
Looking back a war exploded within me. At first, it seemed the enemy would win. Hatred, anger and bitterness had the upper hand just like two little boys alternating hands on a baseball bat until they get to the top and the last hand that can grasp the bat wins first pick or first at bat. Hatred, anger and bitterness picked first and batted first. And they hit hard!
But they didn't account for the conversations that took place before they really hit. I remember telling Ann, "We'll get through this. It won't always look like we will, but we will." I told my daughter Stephanie, "I'm really mad at your mom, but we'll stay together. We won't get divorced."
I didn't always remember those words, but they were there, in the dugout so to speak. They fueled the late inning rally of forgiveness along with the early words from my chaplain, Steve Smallwood, "Ben, your marriage isn't over and God isn't through using you."
Over the course of 14plus months, roughly 444 days, hatred and anger and bitterness were overtaken and outscored by love, sorrow and compassion. Her affair hurt like hell, but it became understandable to me. I saw where I too needed grace.
God's grace flowed through me and I offered it to the bride of my youth. He was way ahead of me.
In this I can be sure that I was teamed with God in a modest miracle of healing.