The other day John was acting…you know…clueless and insensitive as men do sometimes. (Women never do that, right?)
Anyway, it was late and I was going up to bed. But my feelings were hurt.
Now at this point I had a decision to make. Was this a minor thing that could be blanketed in grace and forgotten, or was it something that would affect our relationship going forward if I didn’t address it?
Whether it’s in a marriage or friendship or work relationship, I think we face this tension often.
- You have a friend who arranges to meet at you 6:00 and calls to cancel at 5:58.
- You come downstairs feeling pretty good and your husband (thinking he’s paying you a compliment) says “Honey you look autumnal!” (I happen to have some first-had experience with this one. Men, let me just warn you, don’t do it. Your wife will hear, “You look like a pumpkin!”)
- You’re struggling with infertility and have a friend who is constantly complaining about her kids.
- An acquaintance moans to you about her weight when she clearly weighs a number you haven’t seen on the scale since you were 13.
Proverbs 19:11 says:
‘Good sense makes a man restrain his anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression or an offense’.
When we’re dinged, our go-to is supposed to be grace, right? We’re forgiven, so we need to be forgiving. Let it go. Let it goooooo.
But there are times when we need to be brave and talk out the offense with the offender.
I can think of 3 times that we shouldn’t let an offense slide:
- When it’s a pattern. The first few times our daughter Katy was stood up by a friend she was understanding and absorbed it. When it became a standard pattern she needed to confront her friend and say “If you want to get together, great. If you’re too busy, say so, but canceling last minute feels rude and discounting and it’s affecting our friendship.”
- If you need to question for better understanding. Many times our own baggage causes us to go to the worst interpretation of someone’s words or actions (like the autumnal “compliment”). I wrote before, we all tell a story to ourselves. Sometimes we need to ask questions to make sure we have an accurate picture of what’s going on.
- If it’s going to cause a root of bitterness. If you find yourself tossing and turning at night replaying the offense, if you avoid the offending person, if you make up conversations in your head to put them in their place, you need to pray and then go talk to the person.
One thing to remember when we do this…None of us is always at our sparkly best. We’re all, from time to time, self-absorbed, insensitive yahoos. So when we’re on the other side, we need to go in humility with the goal of restoring the relationship, not shaming the other.
What’s your experience been with this? Do you have anything to add?
Linking up here today…