Over the next couple of days I’ll be sharing excerpts from any/all of the books I am reading at the moment, seeing as I am presently enjoying reading much more than I do writing.
One of these books is “Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship & Life Together” by Mark and Grace Driscoll. I got it from Sumbo, a lovely friend of mine in London, during my last trip. I’ll be sharing out of the chapter “Taking Out The Trash”.
“Confess your trespasses to one another,
and pray for one another.”
– Jms 5:6
Every home accumulates trash, so we must take it out often. Failure to do so stinks up the entire house. Sin is like trash, and every home has it too. Repentance and forgiveness is how a couple takes their trash out. If you are married, you will have conflict. You cannot avoid it because marriage is an unconditional committment to an imperfect person.
To understand what repentance is, let’s look at what repentance is not:
- Repentance is not getting caught but coming clean.
- Repentance is not denying our sin.
- Repentance is not managing our sin.
- Repentance is not blame-shifting our sin.
- Repentance is not excusing our sin.
- Repentance is not about someone else’s sin.
- Repentance is not about manipulating God or people for blessing.
- Repentance is not worldy sorrow.
- Repentance is not solely grieving the consequences of your sin but is hating the evil of sin itself.
- Repentance is not mere confession.
True repentance is a combination of three things:
- Repentance includes confession.
In confession, you agree with God that you have sinned. Confession includes both your mind and mouth.
- Repentance includes contrition.
In contrition, you feel what God feels about your sin. Contrition includes both your emotions and expressions. Your heart is affected, not just your words.
- Repentance includes change.
In change, you stop sinning and start worshipping. Change includes your will and works.
When we sin against our spouse, we cause them to suffer. When we sin, we are supposed to apologize, ask forgiveness, and try to make things right. When we are sinned against, we need to forgive quickly. Jesus’ words on this are haunting: “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us” We cannot simply ask God to forgive our sins; we must extend that same forgiveness to others.
Forgiveness is a Gospel issue. In our hurt and woundedness, we can lose sight of the truth that no one has been sinned against more than God.
Therefore, forgiveness of our spouses has very little, if anything, to do with them. Instead, it has everything to do with God. As an act of worship, we must respond to our sinful spouses as God has responded to our sin- with forgiveness- because it is a Gospel issue.
Forgiving one another must be an ongoing habit.
It is important to note, however, what forgiveness is not:
- Forgiveness is not denying, approving, or diminishing sin that is committed against us.
- Forgiveness is not naivity.
- Forgiveness is not enabling sin.
- Forgiveness is not waiting for someone to acknowledge sin, apologize, and repent.
- Forgiveness is not forgetting about sin committed against us.
- Forgiveness is not dying emotionally and no longer feeling the pain of the transgression.
- Forgiveness is not a one-time event.
- Forgiveness is not neglecting justice.
Forgiveness is loving despite sin.
(Get the book here!)