Imagine for a moment a book where you can write down all of the wrongs done to you by your spouse. What would you see written on the pages of that book? Is it a long list filling a page? Several pages? Or have you written a book?
We all know it doesn’t take long for two unique individuals living under the same roof to unintentionally (and sometimes intentionally) hurt each other. A careless word. A sharp tone of voice. An accusation. A promise unfulfilled. A special something accidentally broken, ruined or lost. What can end up happening is that we can become “historical” by remembering and calling up these relational infractions. Sound familiar?
In his first letter to the church in Corinth the Apostle Paul wrote that “love…keeps no record of wrongs.” The word that is used in the original language of his letter is logizomai (log-ids-o-my). The basic meaning is to make a permanent record like a bookkeeper, to calculate or keep track. When something is written in a ledger or a record book, it is there to be referred to, to be remembered.
But true love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs done. True, self-sacrificing love makes the decision to erase those offenses from the record book. It doesn’t mean that we aren’t aware of what has been done. There are some sins that can change the course of our lives. It means that we no longer hold it against our spouse—we keep no record of it because we have chosen to “erase” that sin from our mate’s book of wrongs.
True love reflects what Jesus has done for us on the cross in that our sins are “blotted out” (Acts 3:19) and are no longer written down to be brought against us by God. To erase the wrongs requires that we do four things so that our spouse is freed from our condemnation and our own hearts are protected from resentment.
1. Erase Graciously
When we erase the wrong we are choosing not to hold something against our partner. We are extending forgiveness to them the way Jesus has forgiven us. Even though we don’t deserve it, Jesus forgives us. That doesn’t mean that we won’t be aware of what was done or how we were hurt, but we are making the choice to follow Jesus’ lead for us. “Forgive…just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32) If you want to read more about that, you can find it here.
2. Erase Quickly
If we wait and ruminate over what was done to us, the tendrils of offense start to wrap around our hearts. It doesn’t take long for resentment to settle in and our hearts harden toward God, our spouse, and our own personal capacity for joy.
It should be noted that abusers in marriage want a continual clean slate. This is a different situation from a normal, healthy marriage. You can still forgive to protect your heart, but seek godly counsel from a counselor to take the appropriate tough love steps to protect yourself and help your spouse.
3. Erase Repeatedly
Offenses have a way of coming back to our minds. There can be triggers that snap the offense back into our thoughts. Satan will do what he can do make us seethe with hurt and resentment. Every single time the offense returns to your mind, let it go and give it to God. You may find yourself doing this for years because pain can be insidious that way. Make the decision that you will forget on purpose every single time it comes to mind.
4. Erase Trustingly
The Apostle Peter described Jesus’ sufferings saying that “he…continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23) We don’t have to be concerned about justice or being “done right” when we can entrust our injustices to God. We can have confidence and peace that he will handle things in a way that will ultimately bring himself glory.
When it comes to erasing offenses, here’s a way to get pull out your eraser and get started today:
- Ask God to reveal to you anything that you have been holding against your spouse.
- Agree with God that holding onto it was wrong…sin…and ask His forgiveness.
- Make the decision that every time that wrong comes to mind you are going to give it over to God.
And as you erase the offenses from your marital record keeping you will be taking significant strides to build your marriage!