My husband sees my list of mistakes and responds with grace

28 Jun

Whew, this has been a tough week.

I’ve lived (almost) 29 years on this Earth.  I wish I could say I’m proud of every moment in my past, but it just isn’t true.  Sadly, I might look back and use a few less attractive words like regret, embarrassment, disappointment and sorrow.

The reality of a mistake is that we just can’t take it back.  In all our best efforts we can be sorry for and learn from it, but we can’t erase it.  The memory of it doesn’t vanish even if forgiven.  We might be able not to dwell on it, but we rarely have the capability to forget about it completely.

In life, this is where the rubber meets the road.  When we encounter people who are aware of our mistakes and flaws and either look at us with grace, mercy and forgiveness, or with judgement, punishment, and retaliation.

I’ve been both people.  No, I’ve been all four people.  I’ve been the person who was forgiven.  I’ve been the person who was held a prisoner to my mistake. I’ve been the person who forgave, and the person who retaliated against another for their screw up.

I’m not about to say I’m married to the perfect man.  He’s a human.  He’s a sinner.  He makes mistakes.  I recently saw the Proverbs 31 Ministries “7 tips to a great marriage” and noted that one of the tips read something like “Everyone makes mistakes.  Don’t let the world find out about your spouses from your mouth.” So I’ll keep his imperfections to myself, as he does for me!

In almost 11 years of being with my husband, I’ve made a mountain of mistakes.  I can’t count them all.  And if I looked at a list of them, I’d seriously be unable to read through it with any composure for how not perfect I really am as a wife.  ((Should we go back even further in life before marriage, my past is full of so much regret, I still carry enough shame that I don’t even have the strength to blog back that far.))

My husband has been the one person in my life who has never, literally NEVER held a mistake over my head.  He has had every right to ridicule, hold a grudge, retaliate, punish, bring it back up a million times, and refuse to move past some pretty dumb things I’ve done and said…  but he has chosen to approach our marriage and his love for me in a different way.

He’s SO forgiving and expresses grace and mercy in a way I have never experienced from anyone else or truly been able to show anyone else before.

When I look at how God instituted marriage to be a direct symbol of Christ’s relationship to his bride (the Church) I literally have to testify that my husband is a bold living example of how to forgive and reconcile me to him instantaneously without my having to pay a price, just like God designed.

I’m so lucky to have this example in my life.  And I’ve been working hard this week to go back and tear down walls of offenses with other people and forgive right away as he’s exampled so perfectly for me over the years.

When we became one, he decided to love me above his feelings about my mistakes and flaws. I’m sure he hasn’t always liked when I mess up or hurt him, but he doesn’t let his feelings be his guide for how to treat me in return. And I’m incredibly grateful to him for that.

Here’s the worst part about this reality.  I can’t even tell you that I’ve treated him with this same truth.  I’ve got my bag of hurts in the corner of my heart that I like to hang onto so when something in the future tugs on the same emotion I felt in the past, I pull that past mistake out of the bag of hurts and remind him he’s failed before and failed again.

I’m a jerk.

OK, so I have to admit I just chuckled a little at myself.  Right now since we aren’t actually in the middle of this taking place, my actions seem a little funny and stupid.  But when this has played out in the past, it isn’t funny or stupid, it’s awful and a direct expression that I have very little grace to extend.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

I have made a commitment this week to start viewing my husband, first and foremost, and then the rest of the world through a filter of grace.  Everyone makes mistakes.  Everyone has said/says things they aren’t proud of or shouldn’t have said.  Everyone has sins that trip them up from time to time.  Everyone struggles to walk out life without hurting other people along the way.

Like I said, I have a list a mile long of mistakes and bad choices.  And it’s only through grace that God has forgiven me, and my husband forgives me, and I’ll be able to forgive more freely in the future.

Grace.  It’s a big deal.  It’s the message of salvation.  It’s the only way we’re saved.  It’s the key to living in a world where you treat everyone as you want need to be treated yourself.

If I could add to the Proverbs 31 tips for a good marriage… I’d change it to tips for a good life and add this:

Everyone makes mistakes.  Don’t let the world find out about everyone else’s, unless you want to stand on the street corner and read your own list too.

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