What a Hamburger Can Teach You About Forgiveness
I once made a disastrous mistake and asked my husband, Dave, for the last bite of his hamburger. If there’s anything hard for a man to sacrifice, it's that last bite. It's much easier to give somebody the first bite because he still has so much of it left, but when he’s down to the last bite, it's tough. I didn't realize before how much of a test it could be, especially for Dave.
Our exchange began as usual, with his offer, "I'm going to stop here and get a hamburger. Do you want one?"
"No, no, no. I don't want anything."
"Are you sure you don't want anything? Let me get you one."
I firmly said, "Dave, I don't want a hamburger."
He said, "I'll eat what's left."
I said, "I do not want a hamburger."
He bought a hamburger, and it smelled so good. I waited and waited, trying my best not to ask for a bite of that hamburger. But he got down to the last bite, and I couldn't stand it.
I asked, "Do you suppose I could have that last bite?"
Dave got upset with me and huffed, "Why didn't you let me get you a hamburger?! I’ll buy you all the hamburgers you want. Why do you only want to eat mine?"
"It's only one bite!" I defended. "You don't have to be so selfish!"
He said, "All right! Here it is."
I said, "Nope, I don't want it! I wouldn't eat that hamburger now! You couldn't pay me to eat that bite of hamburger!"
He said, "You eat this!"
I said, "I'm not eating it!"
He said, "You eat it!"
I said, "I will not!"
"Well, I'm not eating it,” Dave replied, “so you might as well." So I took it, shoved it in my mouth and chewed it up.
I was upset not only because Dave had hurt my feelings, but also because I’d compared the way he treated me to the way I saw other men treat their wives. I said, "Well, other men give their wives bites of their food. I just ask you for one stinkin' bite of your hamburger, and you throw a fit!" I was mad for about an hour after that argument.
It takes a little while for the Lord to get through to us when we’re enjoying our vengeance and self-pity, just as I was. But finally I started feeling the Lord deep within me saying, "Joyce, you are acting ridiculous. The man told you he would buy you a whole sack of hamburgers if you wanted them."
Dave had offered to buy me a hamburger even if I wanted just one bite of it. He’d clearly asked me in advance not to ask for his. It doesn't matter what other men do. Sharing that last bite of hamburger bothered Dave. The person to whom you are comparing your spouse probably has some faults your spouse doesn't have that would drive you crazy and be just as difficult to accept. What's the sense in pushing something on your spouse if it bothers them? Just don't do it.
Marriages are not as good as they could be when people hold on to little things that have hurt or offended them. It’s difficult to completely open yourself up after being hurt because you’re afraid you’ll be hurt again. Nobody can promise that loving someone won't hurt. In fact, you can't love without being willing to be hurt. It's not possible.
You can't have real love unless you’re willing to forgive. Love keeps giving the other person another chance. Love keeps trusting them over and over again, expecting them to do the right thing the next time. I realize there are big hurts and also little things we deal with daily. Sometimes we may not even know what is agitating us, but we need to decide to let go of its irritating hold on us.
Ask the Lord to reveal what it was that caused you to feel bitterness or resentment. You may be surprised at what He drags up, but when you see the truth, decide to let go of that grief. Decide to forgive the person who didn't respond to you in the right way.
It took me several days to completely get over the hamburger incident. That's the truth! My feelings had been hurt because Dave didn't want me to have that bite of his hamburger. But I had to get over it and move on. Don't trade your happiness for a bite of hamburger! Forget what lies behind and press on to what lies ahead.
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