I’m sitting on the couch reading my Bible. Bob is in his chair across the room reading his.
“Did you know Caesarea Philippi was not a big city at the time of Jesus?”
My stomach tightens. I focus a little harder on the passage in front of me and press on.
“I wonder which Phillip it was named after.”
I’m interested in his observations. It’s the type of conversation that usually engages me. Why not now?
“Lord, where is this feeling coming from? Have I felt this way before?”
Oh, yes. The memory and feeling come back in force: It’s the same feeling I had as a high schooler when I would come home with piles of homework and Daddy kept interrupting my work with frequent, countless requests. I would honor his requests as quickly as possible and then double down on getting through my work.
I know that the key to freedom in these situations is forgiveness. You forgive the person who originally offended you and your relationship with the person who is pushing your buttons now miraculously improves. But I forgave my Dad for the grudges I was holding many years ago, so what was the problem now?
I taught a Bible study last week on forgiveness. God often likes to review the lesson with me about the time I’m scheduled to teach it.
“Okay, Lord. What is it I need to review or learn?”
Peeling An Onion
I was reminded that sometimes forgiveness is like peeling an onion. You forgive someone for the big offenses and maybe even some lesser offenses. Time passes and then, lo and behold, there’s another layer and you need to forgive that too.
“Lord, I choose to forgive my dad. He didn’t mean to hurt me. He just needed some help and he wasn’t very sensitive to the pressure I was under. Lord, forgive me for holding on to this hurt for so long. I choose to let it go and forgive.”
If you’ve read this far, you may be wondering why I’ve written this in a marriage blog post. I think if we are very honest with ourselves we would admit our mate often rubs us the wrong way. In subtle ways, they annoy us. Try asking these questions: “Lord, where is this feeling coming from? Have I felt this way before?” And when God answers, take the next step and forgive the person who the offense goes back to. Your effort will pay off in better relationships with those around you—including your spouse.
Work through these types of questions alone or with a small group with our workbook: The Marriage Dance: Practice the Steps available on Amazon.
This post was first published on January 17, 2017 on The Marriage Dance blog.