“If I give him grace, he feels like he can do it again!”
“If I forgive her, I’m just sweeping the problem under the rug.”
When we coach people about forgiveness, we often hear reactions like, “So, you’re saying that I’ve just got to get over it.”
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Sure, there are some things that you do need to get over. There are things that your spouse does that annoy you. They are not wrong things; usually just things you don’t do. Jocking their leg. Clanging their spoon on the side of the bowl. Talking more animatedly and louder than you. Cleaning differently. Paul told the Ephesians to “put up with each other in love.” Love lets my spouse do things that annoy me. Yea. You need to get over that.
There are other things that you don’t just put up with, though. Some are dangerous like texting while driving. Some are hurtful, like unkind sarcasm and intentionally using words that wound. Others have real potential for damaging the relationship like hiding conversations with others or staying up to watch porn. Don’t overlook those things. Don’t sweep them under the rug.
Yet, still forgive your partner. Give grace to who hurt you.
Remember that grace is something you give to the person, not the behavior. When I act independently and make decisions that impact JL without her input, she gives me grace; and she approaches the behavior. You can approach bad behavior in a gracious way.
So, don’t ignore the texting while driving, the hits below the belt, or the hiding of passwords. Confront the behavior in a way that says, “We are OK, but this behavior isn’t OK.” When you give them grace, you connect with them in a way that builds a confident relationship. Then, a confident relationship gives you a voice to confront the behavior.
Grace is given to a person, not behavior.