Bob and Audrey Meisner were living their dream. They were co-pastoring a growing church and were co-hosts of an internationally known Christian television show. They had three beautiful kids and what appeared to be a very happy marriage.
But the curse of busyness hit their marriage and Audrey found herself not only feeling a little disconnected from Bob but also enjoying the attention of a younger man in their congregation. Before long the two had become emotionally enmeshed, and not long after, the relationship became sexual.
Audrey was unfaithful to her husband and put everything they had worked for—their relationship, their family, and their ministry—in jeopardy. After a few weeks, Audrey broke off the affair and confessed her sin to Bob.
How would you respond?
What do you do when the person you love and trust most in the world betrays you in an unimaginable way? How can forgiveness even be an option at that point?
Bob and Audrey resigned their respective church and television positions, relocated to a different city, and took refuge in a church where they hoped to begin the healing process. After a few weeks, they discovered that Audrey had gotten pregnant as a result of the affair.
Again, let me ask you: How would you respond?
Are there limits to what you’re willing to forgive? Are there some sins that are just so grievous, some offenses that are just so heinous, that you know you could never forgive them? Surely, if there are such deal-breaking sins, Audrey had committed them. Surely she deserved to be publicly exposed and then cast off by her husband, who obviously could do better. Right?
What would you do?
Bob didn’t divorce Audrey. He didn’t cast her off, and he didn’t reject the baby she was carrying.
By God’s grace, and by the power of God’s Spirit living in him and loving through him, Bob embraced them both. He forgave Audrey. He helped their children understand the reality of the circumstances surrounding Audrey’s pregnancy without shaming or condemning her.
Then he began to rebuild and restore his family. And a few months later, when Audrey gave birth to a baby boy, Bob gave the baby his own name: Robert Theodore Meisner.
That’s what forgiveness looks like. It’s one of the most powerful, disarming forces in the world.
For more of Bob and Audrey’s amazing story or to get some of their resources, visit their website at www.bobandaudrey.com.
Forgiveness is one of the sweetest gifts one human can give to another. It’s a mental, emotional, and volitional act of grace that may be unmatched in its breathtaking implications for the life of both the offender and the forgiver.
And for Christians, it isn’t optional. Jesus requires us to forgive all who wrong us, no matter how significant or frequent the offense.