Just when ya think you’re in pretty good shape… something comes along and reveals the sin in your own life very clearly.
JP made a mistake this week. A very honest mistake. It ended up costing us $100. Which isn’t the most money in the world. But, it was enough to provoke a reaction in me that I am not proud of.
I got so mad about that $100. I thought some Not So Friendly Thoughts. I wasn’t very nice.
And the whole time I was having the reaction I had, I knew that the root of it all had to be some sin of my own.
I literally was having a conversation with myself in my head (not like a crazy person conversation, but a totally sane inner dialogue) that I knew I was reacting sinfully, and I needed to stop, and then the other part of me was saying I had a right to be angry and offended and to let him know how I felt.
There were a couple of realities at play here.
I know, of course, that my husband is allowed to make mistakes! Neither of our mistakes are going to consistently cost us $100, but this time it did. And that doesn’t change the fact that I have no right to insist on his perfection, because I could be the one making a mistake tomorrow that has a cost to him.
Also, I knew if I had made the same mistake he had, and he had reacted the same way I did (which, by the way, he never would have), I would have been extremely hurt. He wouldn’t have made me feel small. I knew that, and I still felt the desire to assume that I had a right to make my offended-ness known.
The Bigger Picture
Okay, so… here’s the thing.
Here is why I knew so deep down that my reaction was unacceptable, and sinful on my part.
Straight up Truth: My husband is Imago Dei. He is created in the Image of God. And that, in and of itself means he is to be shown dignity, at all times. And it means that he has immense value by virtue of his being God’s Image Bearer.
And I knew that, and I felt myself wrestling inside with knowing that reality and still wanting to claim some right of my own to be offended, and let him know it.
Here’s the other thing.
I have no right to respond in sin, because of my Christian faith.
I believe that Jesus, One who had never made a mistake, had never sinned, who had every. single. right. to claim offense, willingly, and with love, took every. single. sin. of every. single. person. from the entire history and future of the entire world upon Himself.
And he died on that cross, partly because of the sin I committed against my husband over this matter. My sin over this is one of the reasons He hung there. My sin is like one of the thorns pressing down upon His head, and piercing His skull, and causing Him pain.
Jesus never claimed his rights. He who had the most right in the world to be offended, took all of everything upon himself. He never for one moment has given us anything less than the utmost dignity. He never for one moment has given us anything less than perfect love.
Colossians 3 states:
12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and [k]patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is [l]the perfect bond of unity.
I know I was anything but compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, or patient over this matter. And I was slow to forgive. But the real kicker, is the part that says “Just as the Lord forgave you.”
And, at that, I have to humbly surrender. At that, I realize I have no rights. I have no claim to offense. And I need to extend the same grace extended to me, to others. Especially to my husband when he makes a mistake.
How Deep The Father’s Love
I am so thankful for the Lord’s forgiveness in my own life, but it is also so convicting right now. I am acutely aware how I tried to claim something I have no right to claim. And it came at the cost of giving my Imago Dei husband the dignity that is his.
I know I’ll be heading to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation this coming weekend, for this, and other things. And I’ll be looking forward to audibly hearing that unmerited forgiveness from Jesus. I’m also looking forward to my penance. I suspect it might be something I can do to show my husband love and dignity. Which will be just the medicine I need.
One of my favorite hymns of all times is How Deep The Father’s Love For Us.
It’s just such a beautiful reminder of the most beautiful Truth. I can’t even grasp how much Jesus took upon himself on the cross. But I know it means my salvation.
And I know I can, once again, receive the forgiveness that is there for me through my faith in Him. And I can be thankful that He promises to shape me more into His likeness, as long as I continue to allow Him to work in my soul.
I am thankful that I know I don’t have to live in guilt. That I can pick up and move on and work towards better reactions in the future … but it just smarts a bit realizing you’re wrong. Humble pie doesn’t always taste super great.
And, finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention JP. Because I can also be thankful for a gracious husband, who witnessed my struggle, and accepted the apology of his Much Too Quick To Anger Wife, and for the example he sets of patience and grace within our own marriage.