I just love your questions! Let’s see—do we women have to make all the concessions?
Oh, no, not at all!
Please understand that I’m writing to you only what you, Angela, can do.
You can’t do one thing about the things God requires of Dan.
You must understand that I am not writing to him!
The Lord has made many clear commands to men, and particularly to husbands. Dan ought to be executing them all perfectly, of course, but probably is not. There is not, after all, a just man upon the earth that sinneth not, right?
The fact is, though, that you cannot fulfill even ONE of the commands for a husband, because you are a wife! All you can do is obey God’s will for wives. That is good, though.
Why is it good?
Well, you see, if there was anything God could reasonably expect you to do about Dan’s behavior, then God would hold you ACCOUNTABLE for it! You are off the hook, though, because his sins are on him alone, between him and God, alone.
Actually, you are not entirely off the hook. There is the little matter of God’s commands to wives. That is precisely why I keep pointing you to what you can do. The things you can do are things God does require of you.
One of those things is forgiveness. I know, the Bible does not specifically mention wifely forgiveness, but I am mentioning it in this letter. Wives seem to need an engraved invitation to walk in forgiveness when it applies to husbands. I don’t know why—I just know it is so.
Forgiveness is required of all God’s children. I am no Bible scholar, but I sometimes think unforgiveness is the unforgivable sin, because Jesus said that if we do not forgive, we are not forgiven! (Matthew 6:14-15)
With that in mind, it’d be good to know what forgiveness is, wouldn’t it? Let’s look at some common misconceptions.
Forgiveness is NOT saying, “Oh, it’s okay.” If Dan yells at you, it hurts. That is not okay. Do not say it is, unless you would not mind him doing it again. If he sins against you, it’s not okay with God, at all.
Forgiveness is not the same as forgetting, either. Your “rememberer” works fine. Some things are very memorable.
Trusting is also not the same. You know my dear son, your “favorite cousin”, is so forgetful of appointments—his fiancée never trusts him with that responsibility and wisely so. She has forgiven that fault in him, though, and I am glad, because he seems nearly incorrigible.
So, what is it?
Forgiveness is saying, “I forgive you in the name of Jesus,” regardless of your feelings.
It is refusing to remember the sin against the sinner, mercifully keeping no record of wrongs.
It is doing something good in return for the sin, even if it is “just” praying for the sinner.
It is lovingly covering what has happened, rather than broadcasting it.
Now, I don’t mean this to cause you to aid a criminal! That is another matter that many women use as an excuse for their own unforgiveness. They say, “Well, if he robs a bank, I’m not covering for him!” They say it in a hateful way, almost as if they wish he would so they could “turn ‘im in!”
Crime against the law should be reported, but Angela, we both know most women who use this excuse to excuse themselves from forgiving their husbands are harsh and hysterical in their approach to most of life. They would hardly forgive anyone for anything, let alone their husbands.
But you, Dearest—you know how to walk in gentleness. You just want answers to apply to your fears. You know you have a good husband and he would not knowingly break the law. You know his faults are private and small, no real cause for alarm.
Only cause for forgiveness.
Think about it. I’ll write more next week.
Much love to you,
photo credit: Wikipedia