Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word

It’s sad, so sad
It’s a sad, sad situation
And it’s getting more and more absurd
It’s sad, so sad
Why can’t we talk it over
Oh it seems to me
That sorry seems to be the hardest word

Confession: I love Barry Manilow…especially his covers of the songs from the 60’s & 70’s. I was driving to work this morning listening to the Greatest Songs of the 60’s & 70’s, some of my favorite songs growing up and realized how unbelievably depressing most of them are. They are about loss; cheating; unreturned love…the list goes on. Why have I ever felt comfort in these songs? I guess probably because I could relate so well with many of the themes.

The one that weighed really heavy on me though was Barry’s cover of Elton John’s Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word. These lyrics hit me pretty hard, and it is so sad and it is getting more and more absurd!

I have told women for years, forgiveness is 100% supernatural (to forgive like God); we do not have a natural ability to forgive. If it is that difficult to forgive, how much more so is it to ask for forgiveness? I think impossible. Yet, knowing this, I am amazed at how often I resort to my natural self to try and muster the ability to say sorry or to extend forgiveness.

In the midst of my sin, you can more than likely find a pretty pissed off Gina. At the center of most of my sin is an angry heart that is either rebelling or fighting to be right. I have such a ridiculous need to be right. I do not know if that stems from as a young girl not having a voice and not being heard or just plain sin. I like to hold onto the idea that it would make sense for me to have such a need because “hey look at what I’ve endured”. This is such a therapeutic response to my sin and is even uglier than the sin itself. Why is “sorry” the hardest word for me?

We are made in the image of God and therefore it is natural to reflect back His attributes. God is love; we desire to love and be loved. God was righteously angry; we too are angry. God calls us to be righteously angry yet not sin. God is just; we understand and (sinfully) desire justice. The problem is that we embody the attributes of God in a fallen body and fallen world and we have a distorted lens and ruined desires that interfere with us being able to reflect back to God what He has given us, in our own ability.

For me, I have defined what love should look like and when the definition hasn’t been met by my husband, I resort to manipulation to make him pay. I will say 92.5% of the time our arguments are not because he has sinned against me but because of my sin, yet I feel justified 99.5% of the time because I am more caught up in how he is responding to my sin. I am always more interested in being right than being unified. In those moments where I have been “wronged”, my “justness” is served by withholding relationship from him. I will withhold relationship, intimacy, affection, my heart, and even my words. My silence to him is the most extreme form of violence and I know this, yet it’s usually the first place I will land.

Here’s where my husband has probably exemplified Jesus the most to me in our marriage. In these moments, it is usually him that will come around and apologize. Not sinfully to dust things under the carpet but in a redemptive way to fight for unity. He would much rather fight for unity and grace me than stand his ground when he knows that he has not sinned. This would be sin if he were doing so passively for the sake of peace but for those of you who know him, this is not a possibility. He does own his part in the equation in a way that humbly acknowledges in the moment I wasn’t being loved yet he’s not being manipulated by my sin. I think it’s a tricky balance but ultimately done through the Spirit. I feel very blessed that my husband is 99.9% of the time more interested in unity than being right.

As I wrestle with the idea that we are created in God’s image, embody His attributes (specifically justice), yet nothing we do can cause us to be justified outside of Jesus Christ on the Cross…why do I put the energy forth pretending I can?

Romans 3:22-26
22the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
I had Romans 3:22-26 tattooed on my arm this summer as it is a perfect reminder of ALL Christ did for me and that nothing in me is good, righteous, or just outside of Christ in me. I am reminded that God condemned His son on the cross because I could not keep my side of the covenant. He fully honored the covenant that I was not capable of honoring. He did His part AND He did my part. I am righteous, holy, and justified because I have Christ in me not because I am right or good or even worthy.

I have sinned frequently in the last few weeks but more frequently and immediately I have “turned away” from seeking my own wrath and apologized. I am no longer comfortable being separated from my husband even for a moment, it is far too painful. As I watch him during this season, walking in humility, grace and a sweet tenderness, I am in awe of God in this man and thankful God chose me to be His daughter and chose me to be this man’s wife.

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