The straw that broke the camel's back when my husband and I finally separated this last time, if I'm honest, was me telling him to leave. I didn't ask, we didn't discuss it, I made a decision and enforced it upon him.
The entire time we have been separated, I justified my decision based on behavior he was exhibiting at the time. I can give you a run-down of all my reasons, which would basically sound like this:
He did this... He was doing that... Well, he...and he...then he....so I...
I take no personal responsibility for his behavior whatsoever. Only he can answer for the choices he has made. The problem was, I wasn't taking any personal responsibility for my choices either. I held him responsible for his choices AND my choices.
Every time he would bring up how I 'kicked him out,' I had my long list of reasons, justifications, excuses ready...all based on his behaviors. Round and round we would go. Until one day, once again, the old argument arose...I didn't want to argue with my husband anymore. I desire reconciliation.
I had an opportunity to respond differently. God blessed me with divine wisdom right when I needed it. Instead of rehashing my same old rebuttals, I simply took ownership; "You're right."
I was surprised by what happened next. Real truth came tumbling out before I hardly realized what the 'real truth' was.
"I was desperate and didn't know what to do. I thought if I told you to leave it would force you to change. Force you to get help or wake up. I was trying to control you and that was inappropriate. I should not have done that. I am sorry."
There was no response...and for the first time, in over a year, there was no longer an argument to have.
Again, I was free. Confession sets us free. When we can be honest, about ourselves, there really is no condemnation, there is freedom. There is peace.
The other day, in a quiet moment, God brought to mind another offense I had not recognized. I began to make my defense in my mind. I mentally went through every valid excuse as to why I acted and reacted the way I did. Blaming my husband the entire time. Defending my behavior.
God reminded me of Exodus 14:14 The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent. (ESV) Usually I view this verse as God fighting my battle. This time I interpreted it as God fighting or defending 'my case', like in a courtroom. He already knows all the reasons I have done what I have done. Reasons for my actions and reactions, whether right or wrong, justified or not.
I don't need to defend myself, especially to God. In this instance, all I needed to do, again, was confess and repent. The bottom line was, I had not treated my husband the way God instructs in His word to treat my husband.
It wasn't about how my husband was treating me or how I perceived he was or wasn't treating me. It was a question of whether I had been doing what I was instructed to do. I wasn't. I wasn't being selfless, I was being selfish. I confessed and repented for the specific offenses God held me accountable for.
As long as we keep trying to justify ourselves, there isn't freedom. We're holding on to the offense under a banner of guilt, trying to prove our innocence. God offers forgiveness freely. We don't have to keep defending ourselves because the offense is no longer there. It is washed away. We've become holy and blameless. The cleansing won't happen if we keep carrying around an offense, continuously trying to justify our behavior.
Admitting our guilt, instead of fighting to prove our innocence, ends the 'trial' and our 'sentence', is forgiveness. Christ defended us once and for all, on the cross. Now, go and be free.
Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:
We're linking up with lots of great bloggers...check them out at the bottom right of the page!
Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!