Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Women in the Word Wednesday: Saying "Forgive Me" in Marriage
James 5:16 "Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed."
We live in a society where there are a lot of rationalizations and excuses for bad behavior. Sometimes we even laugh at our sin and try to make it humorous. "I am in a bad mood! Watch out--I don't know what I'll say!" "I am just one of those people who tells you exactly what I'm thinking. That's just who I am."
Unfortunately, this kind of excusing of sin creeps into our marriage relationship too. We lash out because of OUR bad day. We realize later it was wrong, but we chalk it up to a bad mood and move on without bringing up our behavior. We assume something incorrectly about our spouse, and then when we are proven wrong about our assumptions, we just think "Oh" and move on. We forget to do something our spouse has asked us to do and, when we are asked about it, we get defensive and accusatory rather than just apologizing and admitting our error. We correct and disrespect our spouse in front of our kids or other adults, and we think our spouse is just being "too sensitive" if they get upset.
Compare this common behavior with the godly repentance and responsibility David shows for his sin when the prophet Nathan confronts him with his sin concerning Bathsheba and Uriah. II Samuel 12:13 says, "David said to Nathan, 'I have sinned against the LORD.'"
It seems that apologies are rare in marriages today. Heartfelt, sincere admonitions of fault, blame and grief at our behavior are difficult, but, if we are Christian women, we should recognize sin and reconcile with those we have hurt.
We might need to just say an "I'm sorry" for an accidental wrong or a careless misdeed, such as truly forgetting to finish that task our spouse requested. More often, though, we need to say "forgive me for __fill in the blank___" for those wrongs that we did deliberately, such as replying with harsh words, accusing our spouse incorrectly, or the myriad of other wrongs we might have committed against our spouse.
As Christian women, we recognize we are sinful before a holy God, and only in Christ and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit do we have righteousness, forgiveness and good deeds. We repent of sin and turn from our bad behavior when we fall short of what God desires. It shouldn't be farfetched for us to see we need to humbly ask for forgiveness and take responsibility for our choices in our personal relationships, including the one with our spouse. It is sinful pride that keeps us from reconciling with our husbands when we are wrong. There should be no excuses--just sorrow for our behavior because we have offended our spouse, and, most importantly, God.
Do you reconcile with your spouse after a fight or those "tense" moments? Do you say "Forgive me. I was wrong?" Do your kids watch you admit your shortcomings and humbly confess them to others? Are you more concerned with your spouse's apology and then, and only then, willing to say you are "sorry?" We should be concerned with our own part of the problem and humble ourselves first, regardless of whether our spouse is still in sin and refusing to repent.
This goes against the grain of the world. People might see this as weak, hypercritical of self, and strange. However, we know that the things of God will not fit in with the philosphies and actions of the world.
I Corinthians 3:18-19 "Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God."
Let's be women quick to take responsibility for our actions and faster to recognize sin in our attitudes and behavior, especially in our marriages. Is there something in your marriage that needs to be discussed and followed with a "forgive me?"