Somebody's Got To Die
We are THREE days and counting…
We are TWO wrongs refusing to make right
We are One…
We are oNe?
We are onE.
We are one Adam [atom],
elect wrongs [electrons]
…one flowering statement could beautifully bloom into reconciliation, but I refuse
to make the first move
because here’s the truth –
I’m NOT sorry.
Here I am unapologetic.
I did what I did, but what’s worse is that I meant it.
Revenge has never helped solve any problem or made a couple stronger.
Tit for tat. Toe to toe.
But what can we do?
Fight for our rights and the respect which we both feel is due.
(Thoughts taken straight from the page of one of my writing journals. A confession inspired by true events.)
I cannot pinpoint the EXACT time in my life when cold, calculating, no-regrets REVENGE became more than a tool I used to survive – it became a friend, one I knew intimately and one that knew me.
However, I can recall the Many times I relied on it to speak for me - to communicate to WHOEVER it was I was exacting revenge upon, just how I had really felt when they first hurt me.
I wanted to make others empathetic to how they had made me feel, and in my flawed logic the best way to do that was to make them feel the same way.
Perhaps most disturbing is that I never took revenge on strangers or people who knew me in passing – I only saved it for those closest to me – close friends, my siblings, my parents…my husband.
Revenge only surfaced for people I Expected to know better pertaining to what hurt me and what didn’t. Others would receive the pass simply because I understood they didn’t truly know me, and they probably would never get the chance. They didn’t know better. Forgiveness in those instances was always easier.
But no less than perfection was expected from those who claimed to know me and love me, and in the event that they failed I expected them to understand the "why" when revenge finally rained down.
The truth is
you don’t change when you get married.
In marriage, you are who you were when you were single.
Of course you’re not single, so there's that, but you are who you were at your core. And unless you allow God to change you, you will continue to be that same person.
If you were a compulsive liar. You’ll still lie compulsively.
In my case, since I was a vengeful person I remained vengeful.
“Vengeance is mine says the LORD,” was not a point of reference for me.
My propensity for revenge was something Danny and I dealt with often early on, and his response was the same as when we were dating – indifference towards the why for my revenge. In his eyes, I was without excuse. After all, my deliberate act(s) of revenge usually came as the result of an unintentional mistake on his part.
Thankfully, I am learning to desire a happy and healthy marriage more than twisted justice. You would think it’s a no brainer, considering the many benefits of the former, but when the latter is a deeply ingrained habit – the exchange doesn’t always come so easy.
I’m still a work in progress.
One evening not too long ago, after Danny had a particularly long day at work, we had a simple exchange that left him a little ruffled.
At once my flawed logic went to work,
“It’s not my fault he took offense. That’s not how I meant it so if he’s bothered, oh well. Not my problem. I got stuff going on and I have feelings too. I just wanted an answer…”
in the midst of my mental tirade I felt the impression of Holy Spirit –
“Somebody’s got to die.”
I heard it and knew immediately what Holy Spirit meant.
In order for peace to reign,
In order to maintain the happy and healthy marriage I’ve said publicly and privately that I desire – In moments of tension,
SOMEBODY has to kill the flesh’s (natural, sinful) desire to be right. The desire to win. To feel justified and vindicated.
Rather than stand up and Demand respect or “fight” for their “rights,” SOMEBODY has to take the “L,” the “loss.”
And on That night – it was my turn to fall on the Sword [of the Spirit].
So I did.
I dropped the conversation I was having in my head with myself, let go of the attitude that had started to form, and did my best to help Danny relax and enjoy the rest of the evening.
It really wasn’t that serious.
Choosing GRACE Rather Than Revenge
The caterpillar and the butterfly cannot live simultaneously.
I've had to come to an understanding that in order for this marriage to work I have to become more like Christ and less of what I once thought was my "true," that's-just-how-I-am-deal-with-it-self, and in order to do that, I need Holy Spirit.
As Danny puts it,
"Simply relying on your will to change a behavior is exhausting and in the end you won't have much to show for your efforts. Change requires more than human will.
Just ask yourself the questions -
How many times have I tried to change a behavior?
(i.e. going to bed late, not eating right, getting to work late, etc.)
And how many times have I failed?
How many times have you stayed up late Watching the Walking Dead? Or eaten McDonald's for the third time in a week? Or did you hit the snooze button when you should have gottten up? Clearly in order to change it takes more than human effort.
We believe that in order to do, you first have to know. But before you can know you have to become."
Well Danny, don't I also need to know BEFORE I become?
Not according to the Apostle Paul.
"And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to GOD because of all HE has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice- the kind HE will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship HIM.
Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let GOD transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. THEN you will Learn to KNOW GOD's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." - Romans 12:1-2
A living sacrifice looks like putting your "flesh" (your natural sinful desires) to death and Being the "somebody" that dies.
In order for us to DO GOD's will (what is right and good and pleasing and perfect in the sight of GOD), we have to KNOW GOD's will. But before we can know GOD's will we have to BECOME a new person by allowing GOD to change the way we think.
I have had to let GOD change the way I think about revenge, "I do it out of self-preservation," so that I could become a wife that readily extends grace in the same way that GOD consistently extends grace to me.
Grace – generous goodwill; immunity or exemption, a reprieve
I’m thankful for the embodiments of grace in my life and for all the times Danny has taken the “L” to maintain the peace within our marriage.
I’m thankful for the example of JESUS who literally died to "flesh" by coming in the flesh (human form) living perfectly and then becoming sin for us all when HE died on the cross. HE didn't stay dead either, HE rose again with all power.
JESUS was righteous and Holy and fully justified in giving us what we deserved – eternal death in hell. But instead HE chose to show us GRACE.
His beautiful example reminds me that the more the "flesh," MY flesh, is put to death, the more alive I become, WE can become, in the Spirit (the things of GOD – love, joy, peace, goodness, patience, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control - Galatians 5:22-23)
It’s a process but well worth.
In marriage and beyond.
Here’s to the death of our "flesh," to becoming like Christ and to choosing grace rather than revenge in healthy and happy marriages!