As silly as it sounds, I found myself looking at my six-year-old daughter in the eyes asking for her forgiveness. Over yogurt. I had told my children they could mix in crumbled candy into their yogurts by themselves (my children perpetually seem to be in the I-want-do-it-by-myself phase). I made good on my promise to her younger siblings and they were able to pour and stir the candy on their own, but in an absent-minded mistake, I mixed in all of Havana’s candy before handing her the bowl. I realized what I had done when I saw the confusion on her face. Since I didn’t follow through with my word, I gave her a sincere apology.
Quickly, she wiped the disappointment off of her face as she eloquently pardoned my action, “I know it was a mistake, mommy. I know you didn’t mean to. It’s okay; I can still stir it. It’s fine mommy. I forgive you. I know you didn’t mean to.”
I gave her a hug and kiss and told her how much I appreciated her grace.
Later that night, the children were asking me for a dessert. I explained that since they had candy in their yogurt they didn’t need anything else. Sly as a fox, my daughter said, “Can I please have a dessert? You didn’t let me mix in my candy.”
I was impressed with her delivery. She executed that line with the intent to inflict guilt and persuade my actions. Don’t worry, I didn’t give in. In fact, we had a serious discussion about forgiveness. I explained that when you forgive someone and offer them grace, you don’t bring it back up again or use it against them.
As I was explaining the concept of forgiveness and grace, I realized that I need to apply those definitions to my marriage.
- My husband is six and half years my senior. Our age difference always has made him feel uncomfortable. One night when we were dating he made a comment about how our age difference isn’t ideal. I’ve never let those words go, and still bring up them up in a lighthearted way that is meant to heap on additional guilt.
- Eight years ago, Jason made a passing comment about my driving during a road trip. To this day, if he ever gets in the car while I’m driving, I ask, “Are you sure? You think I’m heavy on the brakes.”
- If he’s feeling romantic and suggests date night idea that is something I will enjoy, I throw his words back in his face, You said it wasn’t really “your style.”
I am very skilled in eloquently accepting my husband’s apologies, but I don’t offer him grace. Instead, I tuck the incident away and save it for a more opportune time. Which is eerily similar to a Bible verse,
When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him (Jesus) until an opportune time. ~ Luke 4:13
I don’t want to think that I’m waiting with evil intent for my husband to mess up, but there is no honorable reason to hold onto words that clearly weren’t spoken with the purpose to wound. Just as Satan wanted to bring Jesus down, somewhere inside of me, I want to bring my husband down. Why else would I not let him forget anything he has said or done that I deemed hurtful.
Giving myself the same speech I gave my daughter, if I tell my husband it is okay and I forgive him, my actions needs to support my words. I need to practice true forgiveness and grace in my marriage in order to love my husband well. Instead of Luke 4:13, I want to resemble Colossians 3:13,
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
I’d love to hear how you demonstrate forgiveness and grace to your husband!
Sharing with Wedded Wednesday.