There is a wrong way and a right way of letting go of the things that hurt you. When someone does us wrong or has bad behavior that offends us, we will often say “I just let it go,” or “I don’t even let it bother me.” But often when we think we are letting go of something that hurts us, the truth is the offence actually still has some effect on us and could be damaging to our future.
So what is the wrong way and the right way of letting something go?
The wrong way of letting it go.
If your spouse or anyone else hurts you or disappoints you and your response is to ignore how you feel about it or pretend it doesn’t matter, you could be setting yourself up for some serious consequences. Pain is real and to ignore pain is to ignore the damage pain is causing. Think of the pain you feel when you touch something hot and what it would mean if you just ignored the pain.
When you let something go by ignoring it and pretending it doesn’t matter, your emotions are being suppressed. And when emotions are pushed down into a deeper place inside, they will have a way of creating some form of sickness in your life. What you push down inside will find a way of coming back out. The life you live will flow out of dysfunction in one form or another and you can even experience physical ailments from suppressed emotions.
And when you think you are just taking the high road by not letting an offence bother you, you could be letting walls of defense be built to keep your spouse’s actions from getting to you. Only trouble is when walls are built to keep your spouse out, those same walls will keep you in. So then you become a prisoner to your own emotions and you block yourself from knowing how to deal with real life in a healthy way.
Also, taking this high road mentality can be an act of bitter judgment. It can be a way of saying you are better than the other person and you don’t have to let their actions bother you. Now of course there are times when your maturity can overlook someone else’s childishness, but you still have to beware of entering into judgment against them and thinking you are better than they are.
The right way to deal with offence.
The only right way of handling offence is through real grace and forgiveness. The grace that faces the fact that what they did was wrong and it does have an effect on you, but you chose to forgive out of love. You acknowledge that your spouse does have the power to hurt you because you really do care.
You may have to talk it through. You may need to confess your own feelings of offence. You may have to confront the way they have hurt you. Or this may be something you can deal with privately between you and the Lord. Whatever steps you have to take, just make sure you deliberately include grace to accept your spouse as an imperfect person and forgiveness to let go of the offence that has hurt you. Because you love your spouse and you know they are not now, nor ever will be perfect, you choose to love them by forgiving their offence.
You know your spouse is a lot like you. They stumble in many ways and so do you. Your ways of stumbling may be different from theirs. But it does no good to compare your stumbling with theirs, it’s still the same. It still means there is sin in your life as well as in your spouse. “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
And this thing called sin that has its grip on your spouse and on you is so strong that it took the Son of God dying on a cross to break its power. Think about that for a minute, this sin issue that we all struggle with was so strong and man’s ability to deal with it was so weak, that God had to step in and send His perfect Son to the cross to purchase our forgiveness.
So when you struggle with allowing grace and forgiveness to help you let go of how your spouse has hurt you, I hope you will remember what Jesus did for both you and your spouse.
And when you know you have to let something go, when you know something has hurt you, I hope you will choose the right way of letting it go.
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