On our fridge we have a magnet that is about four inches by three inches which states the following:
“I love you more today that I did yesterday. Yesterday you really got on my nerves!”
My wife and I have been married for 47+ years now. My wife and I know each other so well that it is scary. Finishing each others sentences, have the same thought at the same time etc. But there is a plus side with being this familiar and a negative side.
Any of you that have been married for a long time know that it is not enough to give the correct verbal response when asked a question or asked to do something, there is also the requirement to display the correct emotional response with the correct verbal response. An example could be, “Dear, would you mind picking up my sister on the way home?” The correct verbal response could be “Sure, not a problem!” BUT if the tone is not in accordance with the indicated enthusiasm, it can come across as something slightly less than enthusiastic. So your wife KNOWS that you gave the correct anticipated response but that you are not thrilled about it.
You’d think that after 47+ years I’ve have this one down pat. Wrong. Once in a while I slip on this one and my attempt at a recovery falls flat. This happened yesterday. I hurt my wife’s feelings when she asked me to do something for her. Short story is I was wrong, my wife does all kinds of things for me all the time and basically anything she asks me to do should be met with a positive response. Feelings are important in a relationship between a man and a woman and woe to the man who doesn’t pick this up. I already knew the result of what my wife asked me to do, I was 99% sure the result would be the same but that wasn’t the point. I needed to show my wife that I was more than willing to do it again, just because she asked me to. Because it was something that she wanted me to check again.
What is the point of this post you ask? Of course I had to tell her I was wrong and that I was sorry, which I did, and we hugged so the world is OK again. But…. I noticed something again in my humanistic nature that keeps coming up from time to time. Actually this happens a lot more frequently than from “time to time”. Just thought I had better clarify that. I noted that I have to mentally make a decision to follow through with saying I am sorry and that I was wrong. It doesn’t happen naturally, ie without thinking about it.
Kind of like the Fonz (old Happy Days TV series) that has a hard time getting the word “wrong” to come out of his mouth. That’s the flesh. Still there, still digging in.
James 5:16 NIV says: “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
These “shortfalls” are to be expected. The thing I am thankful for is that the Holy Spirit is quick to bring them to my attention and I already know the remedy, all I have to do is follow through with what God’s word tells me to do.
- Acknowledge that I am wrong to myself initially.
- Look deeper into the transgression that I have done and see where and how the hurt has been caused (showing I didn’t care enough).
- Verbally acknowledge that I did something wrong to the person that I did it to and tell them I am sorry. Throwing in a hug NEVER hurts.
- Let the person know that you understand how it hurt them, ie not caring enough to do it just because they asked.
- Making a mental note not to do it again.
- Sharing your shortfall with other Christians (which I am currently doing!)
The body of Christ grows by sharing what builds us up and our failures. So much of our secular society puts on a phoney mask that portrays what we want others to think we are. That is one of the things within the body of Christ, the Church, which I find liberating and lifting. I don’t have to put on a “mask”, I can acknowledge that I don’t necessarily have it altogether, in every aspect of my faith. That I fall short every day.
I love the Apostle Paul’s attitude. He could have focused on how he had fallen short but he didn’t. This is what he said in Philippians 3:13-14 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
1 John 1:9 (NIV) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Remember Jesus telling us about putting our hand to the plow? Luke 9:62 NIV reads: “Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” You don’t get to serve in the Kingdom of God by looking back, you look forward, pressing towards the mark or goal. Guilt is from the Deceiver, our sins are forgiven, gone, wiped clean. We focus on looking forward – always!
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!