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To Forgive or Not to Forgive?

Dr. Paul and Terrie Chappell Write in New Book Are We There Yet?’ That Letting Go of the Extra Baggage of Unforgiveness Is a Key to a Successful Marriage Journey


LOS ANGELES—Many may think of forgiveness as a biblical issue, but those in the medical field know that forgiveness affects our health, too.

In fact, experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine think forgiveness is so important to both physical and mental well-being, they encourage others to make forgiveness a part of their lives.

Authors Paul and Terrie Chappell, married for 36 years, certainly don’t discount the importance of forgiveness either—especially in marriage.

The Chappells have dedicated an entire chapter to forgiveness in their soon-to-be-released book, Are We There Yet? Marriage—a Perfect Journey for Imperfect Couples.In the travel-themed book, out on Oct. 17, the Chappells candidly share biblical principles and personal, transparent illustrations that will equip couples to travel down the road of marriage further together.

In Chapter 6, titled “Traveling Light,” the Chappells discuss overpacking and how dragging around too much baggage can be frustrating, costly and downright unnecessary.

“Overpacking burdens those around you who find themselves pushing or carrying it, and you end up losing what is truly valuable,” writes Dr. Paul Chappell in “Are We There Yet?” “Yet, Christian couples ‘overpack’ all the time in their marriages. One spouse does something hurtful to the other, and the hurt spouse, rather than investing the energy and love to defuse the situation or heal the offense, takes on the burden of anger and unforgiveness.

“A wounded spirit, however, is always too heavy a burden to carry,” he continued. “Whether this load is composed of many small grudges that have built up over time or one monumental offense, it makes your relationship heavy and exhausting. Furthermore, a wounded spirit will burden those around you (especially those closest to you, such as your children) and cause you to lose that which is truly valuable—maybe even your marriage itself, maybe your walk with the Lord. Proverbs 18:14 warns, ‘The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?’ A wounded spirit is too heavy for you, and it is too heavy for your marriage.”

Chappell also reminds readers that Jesus told His disciples in Luke 17:1: “It is impossible but that offences will come” (KJV). It is not a question of if spouses will offend, but when. No Christian is perfect, Chappell says, so no one is married to a perfect spouse.

“Imperfect spouses offend,” he adds. “Every marriage will have opportunity for bitterness. It is not so much the offense that is committed as it is our response as the offended that determines the emotional burden we carry. … Do you want to travel lighter in your marriage? Learn to give grace for injury and kindness for anger. Become a good forgiver.”

Many couples have given words of praise for “Are We There Yet?” including Dr. and Mrs. Tim Rabon of Beacon Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“From the beginning to end, these pages are filled with spiritual challenge and practical advice for every couple,” they write. “Read this book together, and discover principles and purpose for your marriage journey.”

Whether newlyweds or married for decades, husbands and wives will find truth in “Are We There Yet?” to help them clarify their destination, communicate their needs, grow as a couple and even shed some baggage along the way.

With additional chapter titles such as “Paying with Foreign Currency,” “It’s a Two-Lane Highway,” “Unexpected Turbulence” and “Booking a Room,” “Are We There Yet?” explores topics from needs and communication to trials and intimacy.

Read more about “Are We There Yet?” and the Chappells here.

Pre-orders for Are We There Yet? are beginning now online at Bonus items for those who pre-order before the Oct. 17 release date include: Chapter 1 in PDF format, a marriage Q&A video session with the Chappells, downloadable “Travel with Me” cards—52 questions to inspire your marriage journey; and a printed “Are We There Yet?” companion guide for the first 1,000 pre-orders.

For more information on Dr. Paul Chappell and Lancaster Baptist Church, visit or, or connect via social media on Facebook, Twitter or the church’s YouTube or Vimeo.