Question (from Facebook community): “My heart knows what I should be doing, but my mind keeps focusing on fairness. How can I move past this as we try to reconcile?”
It is completely normal to focus on your pain when you’ve been betrayed or are being perpetually hurt. It’s so hard to try to forget the past and move forward. And it can be even more difficult if some of the hurtful behaviors keep occurring.
So here are a few things you can do as you attempt to move both your heart and mind forward.
Make sure that all of the issues are actually being addressed. Sometimes, you may be told – by a counselor or mentor – to take such-and-such actions based on one perception of your relationship, when in essence, a different set of behaviors need to be addressed. For instance, if there is an addiction involved and you are told to work on giving your spouse the benefit of the doubt instead of being suspicious all the time, and yet, you have actual reason to be suspicious, you’re just putting a band-aid on the situation. Advocate for you, your spouse and your marriage that whoever is walking you through this is taking a holistic approach and addressing all that is really going on.
There’s no such thing as forgive and forget. Some of us believe that forgiving and forgetting go hand-in-hand. We are absolutely called to forgive every offense done to us by every offender in our lives, but I do not believe that we must forget every wrongdoing done to us. Now, I’m not telling you to actively dwell on the hurt. In fact, I have asked God repeatedly to help me forget some details from my past so as not to walk around totally beaten down for the rest of my life. But I do want to remember the essence of the pain so that I know what to look for in all of my relationships in the future, so I remember how not to hurt someone else in the ways I’ve been hurt before.
Own your part. One way to get your eyes off the fairness factor is to take a personal inventory of all you’ve done wrong in your relationship. This can be very depressing, so balance it out with a list of all that you feel you’ve done well. Once you sit with this list, humility should wash over you, and you will be reminded that we’re all just human, we’re all just sinners, we’ve all messed up a lot.
Don’t keep track. I Corinthians 13 is pretty clear that love does not keep a record of wrongs. This was one of my biggest faults — I was constantly advised to stop record-keeping. I made actual lists. I justified it that it was important that I keep the circle of mentors and counselors updated with how things were going, but that’s not how they saw it. I know this is hard, but we must trust that the truth will be revealed.
Get on your knees. Beth Moore talks about praying for those who hurt us, of telling on them to Jesus. She says that this benefits us greatly because when God’s arm of justice comes swinging by, we’ll be on our knees and won’t get knocked over in his sweeping justice.
There really is no such thing as fair. Not on this earth. Sin made sure of that. We can kick and scream all we want but no one really gets what they deserve here and now. The flipside of that is some breathtakingly good news for us when we let it sink in — because that means we don’t get what we really deserve either. I remember a friend from college saying that every time her or her siblings complained about fairness growing up, her dad would say, “You know what you really deserve? You really deserve hell. So pretty much everything above that is amazing.”
All will eventually be made right. Just this week I’ve had to deal with some fairness issues, of why some things seem to be slipping through the judicial cracks, and it’s frankly driving me mad. So in those moments of frustration, I have to remind myself that he will make all things beautiful in their time, even my messed-up situation. Romans 3:23 (MSG) says, “The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us.” Jesus is on this. In fact Luke 18:8 says, “I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.” It may not feel like justice is being served, but it is…if not here, it is and will be in the heavenly realm. We may wait a lifetime to see it, but I believe we will see it.
So, if you truly feel God is guiding you to reconcile, he will give you the strength to do the hard task of laying down what’s fair in your eyes and doing what he is calling you to do for this one day in front of you. He’s got this.
You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more. – Psalm 10:17-18-
If this post helped you, I would encourage you to check out “Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage”, found here.