Pastor Mark Driscoll of Trinity Church in Arizona warned in a blog post on marriage alongside his wife, Grace, that spouses who are struggling to forgive their wife or husband for sins committed against them need to listen to what Jesus Christ had to say.
"When we sin against our spouses, we cause them to suffer. When we sin, we are supposed to apologize, ask forgiveness, and try to make things right," the Driscolls wrote in the post on Wednesday.
"When we are sinned against, we need to forgive quickly. Jesus' words on this are haunting: 'Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.' We cannot simply ask God to forgive our sins; we must also extend that same forgiveness to others," they added.
The article noted that forgiveness is a "gospel issue," and sometimes people forget that no one has been sinned against more than God.
"No one has been more wounded, grieved, hurt, betrayed, and mistreated more than God. Furthermore, we each have contributed to the pain that God experiences, as all sin is ultimately against God. This means that God could be the most embittered person," the couple pointed out.
"Instead, He came as Jesus and took our place to suffer for our sins, pronouncing forgiveness from the cross."
The Driscolls noted that unlike what some people believe, forgiveness is not about whether the offending party deserves it or not, but whether people can forgive as God forgave them.
"Forgiveness is loving despite sin. Just as God forgives not just undeserving but ill-deserving sinners, we must too. We do not forgive our spouses because they are good or deserving, but rather because God is good and deserving," they wrote.
"Forgiveness includes wanting good for the spouse who sinned against you, being able to pray for his or her well-being, and not keeping a record of wrongs against your spouse like a pile of rocks to throw when convenient. Forgiveness is an ongoing lifestyle that is incredibly costly to us and lived out of love for God and others."
The blog also included a list of what forgiveness is not, pointing out that choosing to forgive someone is not the same as denying, approving, or enabling sin.
Driscoll, who resigned in 2014 from Mars Hill church, the megachurch he founded, is currently leading The Trinity Church in Scottsdale, Arizona. There, he is conducting a sermon series on "Real Marriage: 6 Keys to Unlocking All of Your Relationships, Including Your Marriage."
Last week, Driscoll warned that many Christian couples, including pastors and their wives, are committing "emotional adultery," which he defined as "having as your close friend someone of the opposite sex who is not your spouse."
The Driscolls urged couples to never neglect the importance of their friendship, and said that without a good friendship, husbands and wives will both suffer in their marriage.
The pastor and his wife insisted that "the rest of marriage seems to come together more easily and happily when you are working on it with your friend."