One Attitude Keeping Us from Reoffending

Today in our forgiveness series I’m discussing, “How an offender can maintain perspective and humility, so that reoffending is avoided and diminished, and change is achieved.”

Planting Seeds of Humility

I sometimes I don’t realize how my offending behavior hurts my spouse and seeing this is crucial to honoring his boundaries and avoiding reoffending him.

Here are some reasons why I’m blind to my offensive behavior …

  • Typically, I feel justified in whatever I’ve done to offend him, so it’s hard for me to wrap my brain around the degree of pain he felt.
  • I’m hurting, stressed or tired and don’t understand the way I’m coming across.
  • I’ve let anger simmer regarding a particular issue and very quickly that anger turns to pride and pride blinds me to my guilt and offensiveness.
  • The offending words that come out of my mouth don’t feel the same to me as they do being hurled at my husband. {I’ll be sharing more on this soon!}
  • I’ve allowed bitterness to numb my heart toward my husband and God.

Since, in our forgiveness series, I’m addressing reconciliation or the breaking of a long-standing offense, I want to own up to the fact that

I struggle way too often with pride. Gulp!

I hate to admit this, but then, that’s because it hurts my “pride!”

Sure, there are many “less ugly” feelings and flaws in me that are related to my pride like anxiety; guilt, mistrust, inferiority, bitterness, even my limited human awareness. But in reality, these less-ugly feelings/flaws distract me from the destructiveness of my pride and how it keeps me locked in a habit of reoffending.

That’s why I believe pride {in any and all of us} must be pulled out and transplanted with an attitude of humility, if we ever hope to avoid or diminish reoffending and see change bloom!

I was reading recently this verse, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” {James 4:6 NIV} and it struck me that grace is a “gift” from God, but humility is something we must develop or plant in our hearts.

If we look further at James 4:7-10 and we’ll see 6 major ingredients that are necessary to purge our pride and plant seeds of humility in our lives and marriages …

  • Submit to God – Am I daily letting go of my fear and pride? Am I seeking God’s glory instead of my own?
  • Resist the devil – Am I avoiding tempting situations? Am I recognizing and taking captive Satan’s lies about my negative attitude?
  • Come near to God – Am I clinging to God when I want to lash out or when I want to justify my sins? If I am clinging to Him, I am convicted and have the ability to repent and change!
  • Purify our hearts – Am I releasing any bitterness I’ve held? Am I recognizing my sin and God’s mercy of my sinfulness? Am I filling my mind with God’s Word and Truth?
  • Grieve deeply for our sins against God and others – Am I truly sorry or “grief-stricken” for how I’ve hurt my spouse? Am I demonstrating a true change with godly, proactive, and healthy behaviors and attitudes toward my mate?
  • Repent or change our ways – Am I making consistent and visible changes? Am I letting my spouse {offended one} decide what is acceptable and needed from me?

If I {or “we”} do these things, I believe God will give us insight and perspective into our spouse’s world. If we do these things, humility will produce the fragrant flower of repentance and change that seems so hard to find when we’re clinging to our pride and fear.

There are other sins that interfere with our ability to change and avoid reoffending besides pride, so …

What other attitude has hindered your efforts to avoid reoffending your spouse?

 

What has helped you most to respect and honor the boundaries your spouse has set with you?

 

Next week we’ll focus on how the offended spouse can let go of anger in the reconciliation process and learn to trust again.

Signature - Beth Blessings

 

 

 

 

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Click on the link to go directly to the previous post in the forgiveness series – Amends – What Do They Look Like?

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  • Hey Beth ~ Maybe we can call self-absorption a cousin of pride. And how ’bout keeping score on how many times my spouse is offending me. Either way, it’s not about elevating and healing our relationship, it’s all about me.
    Which could have been a factor in getting us into this mess to begin with.
    Sigh. God have mercy …

    • Yes, I think it is and perhaps even a “kissing cousin,” Linda! That’s because pride fuels self-absorption and self-absorption fuels pride. I agree that whatever it is that we are doing, if it doesn’t help build up the relationship, then we are sinning and tearing it down. There really is no neutral ground on this one. Thanks for your sweet presence here, my friend. It’s a comfort to me!

  • All I’m gonna say is, this one hits home. You’ve spoken straight to my heart today, Beth. And I’m going to make a couple small decisions with a big impact because of it. Love you, sister!

    • I read this last night and then read your blog post this morning and could see why you said this, Becky. I think you and I are two peas in a pod or “sisters from another mister.” 😉 I’m so glad that it is helping you with a small decision. You’ll have to let me know how it turns out, my friend!

  • Gaye @ CalmHealthySexy

    Hi Beth – I try to have a new marriage post to link up with you each week, but it didn’t work out this week. Too much going on! So I’m sharing one I haven’t shared here before. Your post is very helpful (if a bit painful!). Your six points in the box are well worth printing out and keeping on hand as a daily reminder! Thanks.

    • Hey, Gaye, it doesn’t have to be a “marriage post” per se–just something that encourages, challenges, or adds to our lives in our marriages and relationships. You always have such great content, I’d hate for you to feel it wouldn’t fit being represented here! So keep on coming around, dear one. I’m glad you said that about printing out the 6 points. I may just make a printable for myself and any others who would like it. Thanks for you encouragement!

      • Gaye @ CalmHealthySexy

        Thanks so much, Beth. I always appreciate your encouragement. And I love the idea of a printable of the 6 points!

  • Again, this is such a wonderful thought provoking post. You always make me think back over situations and evaluate what I am doing.

    • That’s great to hear, Judith. I want to be relevant and practical. I want to provide helps for others in their relationships and marriages, so your words are music to my ears! Thanks also for all that you do for others, my friend!

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Raw and redemptive, that’s for sure, Beth! Well-said, and very honest.

    One thing about pride – it can make us say something hurtful, and when called on it, makes us want to justify what we’ve said, with annotated exampled.

    And that can cross a line of no return, to a bourn whose borders admit no amends. Not that amends aren’t offered – it’s just that their sincerity can never be accepted at face value after too much has been said.

    It may not be a marriage-killer, but when wall-building starts, it generally continues past the original ‘plan’.

    It’s tempting to say that it’s hard to stop when you’ve got the Devil helping you, and I almost did say that, but it’s neither accurate nor fair. A wall may be an unfortunate necessity for survival in a marriage – because marriage, while it does require vulnerability, does not call for self-immolation on an Hallmark-Card altar of forgiveness.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2014/06/spouse-replacement.html

    • It sounds as if you are contemplating deep relational and philosophical things, Andrew. I think that any time we allow pride to go unaddressed and unchecked, we run the risk of killing our marriage as well as killing so many other relationships. It truly is a danger and so very hard to purge from my life anyway. But with God’s help, I’m getting there!

  • Mary

    All of the reasons that we become blind to offensive behavior hit home with me but especially feeling anger which turns to pride which then becomes a blind eye toward the situation. What I love about this series is that each week I am able to apply this to my own current life circumstances and even though a husband isn’t involved, I am learning how to use these tools with friends, family and maybe someday when I have another relationship. You have a gift for understanding forgiveness, the process and how we can apply this in our own lives. Thank you for sharing this gift with all of us. Blessings, friend!

    • I’m so glad to hear that, Mary. I almost left those reasons out and I’m glad I didn’t exclude them. I feel like people can relate to these struggles when they are spelled out more specifically like that. And I’m so very happy that you feel this is helping you in your life and relationships. I am humbled by your encouraging and uplifting words, my friend. Hugs to you!

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  • Thought provoking post, Beth. The reasons you listed for our being blind to our own behavior was eye opening, especially #1. We may feel justified in our offensive behavior but we are never right to deliberately offend. {{ouch}}. So very true. There is no justification for being offensive. You have a beautiful way of hitting the nail on the head! May God develop in us all a heart bent towards forgiveness & gentleness. Blessings!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Joanne! I love that prayer – “that God may develop in all of us a heart bent towards forgiveness and gentleness! ” How you’ve said that is really what I feel and hope for everyone who comes by here. Hugs to you, my friend!

  • This is nail on head Beth. But thank God we can overcome every spirit of pride working against our complete submission to God’s will.
    One thing that helps me not to stay offended at my husband is the desire to please God. This helps me keep a lot of things in the right perspective.

    • Yes, submission to God is so crucial, Ugochi. And I appreciate your advice and insight. I think my love for the Lord is often what refuels my love tank with my husband when it feels like it’s on empty. God is so very abundant and good to us! What would we do without Him?!

  • Thanks for the reminders. I love being married, but it does take work to not offend–or re-offend your spouse, no matter how much you love them.
    Sometimes I find myself dwelling on what is frustrating me, rather than everything that is great. It’s important to simmer myself down and kick out negative thoughts. If something needs to be addressed, address it. If not, forget it.

    • Yes, Julie, we have a tendency as humans to focus on the bad and ignore the good. I don’t really know why that is, but I’m grateful that God is patient with us in this process of spiritual growth. His patience and forgiveness of me is often the catalyst of my patience and forgiveness of others, so I’m grateful He is a faithful to do what He asks us to do. Thanks for stopping by and weighing in, my friend. Good to have you!

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  • My husband and I were just discussing how pride can lead to almost any sin. I’ve been working on it in my own life. Painful but so necessary. I use Philippians 4:8 a lot! Your steps to rid ourselves of pride is one I will copy and study.

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