January 9, 2020

What is Forgiveness?

Devastation, unbelief, deep hurt, a grief that consumed her heart, these are all the emotions she was going through.  Her husband had confessed to an affair and now all that she knew about her marriage, her family and her life over the past 3 years seemed to be a lie.  How could this happen? How could he do this to her? These are questions that cycled through her mind endlessly. Anger swelled into contempt and into bitterness in the days that followed his confession.  She didn’t see any way for happiness or peace again. It wasn’t just that he cheated on her; it was that he destroyed the whole family with his actions.

Too often, couples come into counseling after one of the spouses has devastated their marriage and whole family by having an affair.  This couple came to Cord of Three because they wanted to see if their marriage could be saved. On that first appointment, she told the counselor that this was her last ditch effort before going to a divorce lawyer.

It wasn’t during that first session when the bitterness and anger began to change.  However, as the couple continued coming to counseling, each time feeling a little more hopeful and seeing that there were other possibilities than divorce, a vision for their marriage began to come into view.  As the couple worked through past hurts, the needed questions, and her concerns as to whether or not he was truly repentant, counseling turned to the issue of forgiveness. The question would remain as to whether or not she would or even could forgive her husband for his infidelity.

As Christians, we ought to be ready to forgive.  It is in the example prayer by Jesus that we read the conditions of God forgiving us, “forgive us as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  Yet, many Christians find forgiveness to be an ambiguous concept that feels like giving a pass to the one who hurt us. Should this lady forgive her husband of the infidelity he committed and work toward reconciling their marriage?  The answer becomes clearer as we understand what forgiveness is and what it is not.  

Forgiveness Is Not

  • Forgiveness is not saying that the offense is okay.
  • Forgiveness is not letting someone off the hook for the offense.
  • Forgiveness is not minimizing the seriousness of the problem.
  • Forgiveness is not saying that you have to have an ongoing relationship with the person who hurt you.
  • Forgiveness is not dependent on reconciliation with the offender.
  • Forgiveness does not have to include confrontation.​

Emotions too often cloud the process of forgiveness making us feel like we are betraying ourselves if we forgive the person who offended us, in this case, the husband who had an affair.  That is why it is important that we understand what forgiveness is not. Because if we “forgive” in a way that isn’t Biblically healthy we open ourselves up to more hurts in the future. It is more important for us to understand what forgiveness is.

Forgiveness Is

  • Forgiveness is independent of emotions.
  • Forgiveness is letting go of your desire to seek revenge.
  • Forgiveness is a decision.
  • Forgiveness is a process of giving up control and letting go of your un-forgiveness.
  • Forgiveness is an experience as God works in you bringing about healing and Spiritual health.
  • Forgiveness is a transformation that takes you from being a victim to being a victor in Christ.​

The power of unforgiveness is that it holds you in a role of being a victim, denying you of the power and liberty you have as a Christian to be the victor over the pain and hurt.  Even as Christ was hanging on the cross, His body suffering agony from the beating and scourging of the trial, He prayed for His people, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”  Jesus is truly the victor over unforgiveness and He has called us to follow Him as the perfect example.

And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to 
himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry
of reconciliation

​What unforgiveness do you have in your life that is keeping you beat down as the victim robbing you of your power and love and sound mind?  Do you need to work through the hurt and pain in order to walk through unforgiveness? Cord of Three is committed to the work of reconciliation helping individuals and families move from a place of brokenness to a life of emotional and spiritual wholeness.

As the couple mentioned above continued counseling working on the problems that they had in their marriage, and as the woman was able to experience the repentance of her husband, she was able to forgive him.  Once forgiveness occurred, it was God who took over not only giving the wife victory over her emotions and bitterness but also giving the marriage victory over divorce and a divided family. It has been 5 years since the news of her husband’s infidelity.  In that time, the marriage has been saved, he walked through repentance and she walked through forgiveness, and the marriage is stronger today than ever. The power of forgiveness in life is not in letting go of the past, it is in looking forward to what God is going to do in the future.

Training and Discipleship

The Cord of 3 training and discipleship program serves the community by offering educational seminars on various mental health and related topics (parenting subjects, coping with loss, warning signs of addiction) as well as conferences, retreats, and seminars for area churches on matters that pertain to God’s design for the family.

Counselor Education & Supervision

Cord of 3’s Counselor education and supervision program is deigned to support interns who are completing their master’s degree, counselors who are working toward licensure, and professionals who are working to integrate their Chritian faith into their clinical practice.

Equine Therapy

Cord of 3’s equine therapy program is designed for individuals ages 7 and up as well as women ages 13+ and families. Equine therapy can help individuals and families overcome challenges, cuiltivate healthy relational skills, build trust, improve interpersonal and behavioral functioning, and create positive self-concept and identity in Christ.

Play God’s Way

A Christ-centered play therapy model to meet teh spiritual, emotional, and mental health needs of children. Through play therapy, children learn to accept responsibility for behavior, engage in healthy coping strategies, acquire problem-solving skills, develop empathy for others, and gain an understanding of identity in mChrist.


Addictions always originate in pain… The question is never ‘why the addiction?,’ but rather ‘why the pain?’” (Dr. Gabor Maté). Counselors can help those struggling with addictions address underlying painful issues and then break the addictive patterns.

Child & Adolescent

Behavioral issues at home or in school often have an underlying cause, such as trauma, depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions. The experienced staff at Cord of 3 meets each child with love, builds trust, and applies effective treatment that approaches the root cause of the behavior.

Marriage & Family

As in couple’s counseling, family counseling focuses on the relationship and dynamics within the family unit and between the individual members of it. Counselors will help clients identify unhealthy or unhelpful patterns, and to address them by developing healthier communication and conflict resolutions skills, create realistic expectations, and restructure familial roles to benefit everyone. The ultimate goal is to help the family be better able to thrive as a team.


Every person will at some point have at least one potentially traumatic experience, but this doesn’t impact everyone in the same ways. When struggling to process and move on from negative life experiences, therapy offers a powerful method of finding support and healing.


Individual counseling can help overcome the sometimes overwhelming fear and hopelessness by helping you better understand the conditions that led to the emotional brokenness you are experiencing, and applying healthy coping skills against them.