“This right here is the problem, God. It’s always my fault. Why is it always my fault?”
I wanted to be completely open and honest with myself and God. If I was frustrated and angry at my current situation, it was because this lie of things “always being my fault,” was what I believed, and I needed to actually say it in order to understand why I felt this way.
Steve and I had a stupid argument, and I was lying on the floor trying to figure myself out when I said all this.
Let’s rewind to the actual beginning of this story.
Steve and I rarely argue, but when we do, it’s usually my fault. 99% of the time I am the one who screws up and has to apologize at the end of the day. The act of going to a person and saying “I’ve sinned against you, and I’m sorry,” has never come easily to me. And yet the more I do it, the more I understand why I need to do it, and want to do it. I find it’s the weight of my failure that keeps knocking me down, and making things difficult. I find the process of forgiving myself for the wrong very challenging. But the upside in all this is that in my weakness, God is strong. And as I learn to constantly run to God in my failures (because let’s be real, they happen quite often), I find His forgiveness for me overwhelming and powerful, and I’m able to move forward.
But this time, I had a really really hard time.
It was an argument about something stupid, typical. Something about trying to give him helpful tips on how to cook, which wasn’t received well. As an aside, I swear, I’ve tried so hard not to come across as a condescending know-it-all, but no matter how hard I try, I flop terribly. I guess I gotta keep working at it.
Anyways. I tried to explain all this to him, but I just got more upset, and so he went upstairs to let me sort myself out. I HATE it when Steve does this, but I also know that it’s in this time period when God has space to have words with me. And He did.
I laid myself down on the carpet and closed my eyes. My conversation with Jesus went something like this:
Me: “I’m so mad. I feel paralyzed with frustration. I hate that I just can’t get it right, no matter how hard I try. I’m always the one who’s wrong. It’s always my fault. I’m always apologizing. Steve never does anything wrong! I know that that’s the wrong way of approaching this, but I’m just so frustrated that that’s what I’m willing to believe. Right now I just feel like a paralytic, frozen in my sin. Jesus, help.”
Jesus: *Kneels down beside me* “No. You’re not a “paralytic”. You’re just throwing a tantrum. By the way, when I said “unless you change and become like little children,” that didn’t include this behavior. Get up. Stop making such a big deal out of this. Just get up and go to him.”
I got up off the floor. Still mad. Convicted, but still raging inside.
I had to fight hard in prayer to work through my lingering anger towards the situation, and myself. But eventually, I headed upstairs to sort this out with Steve.
Steve was in the process of shaving his head with a new razor he had bought the other day. I stood beside him, and he playfully poked me with one of pieces of plastic that came with the packaging. This was our exchange:
Me: “I’m sorry.”
Steve: “It’s okay, I forgive you.”
He said these words with such tenderness. And the crazy thing is that he always does.
Whenever I have messed up, and need to seek Steve’s forgiveness, he’s always so kind and quick to forgive. He speaks to me in complete tenderness, full of love. That’s how I imagine God speaks to us when we run to Him to ask for forgiveness. Steve doesn’t add any conditions, he doesn’t berate me, he doesn’t list the ways I can make it up to him, or do better by him. It’s the amount of kindness and earnestness in his tone, and in his words that speaks of the gravity of his love for me. This alone makes me want to do better the next time, and to be more intentional about watching my behavior.
While it seems like it’s always my fault, God has met me most often in these moments. When I have to struggle against my sin, and the impact of my sin on my husband’s life, God has always come alongside me to humble me, and to bring me into repentance and forgiveness. I’m unbelievably blessed to have a husband like this, who reflects the love of God so well to me in such a way that God uses him to transform my life.
God is so tenderhearted to us. God is so faithful to us. As I reflect on this situation I got myself into with Steve, and parallel it with the book of Judges, I realize these things about God. I realize how faithful and forgiving God is to a nation like Israel who is constantly sinning. He never fails to come to their aid when they cry out for help, even when they’ve gotten themselves into a mess due to their sin. God is the same way with you and I, faithful, ever gracious, forgiving and tenderhearted. And because He is this way, and deals so graciously with us, it opens up the door for us to seek after these things, and to exemplify them in this world.