3 Times Not to Let it Go

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.

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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:

  1. 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.”
  2. 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.
  3. 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…

 

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11 Comments

  1. as always, Laura, perfectly said with humor, grace and thoughtfulness. I googled ‘autumnal’ – it was actually a lot of beautiful orange foliage – you are beautiful inside and out.

  2. Thanks for this. I think it’s even harder when you make an effort to talk to someone and nothing changes. I have a friend and former roommate who I have tried to talk to about things and we just don’t understand each other’s perspective in the situation. But this post made me realize that it was a good decision to try and talk to her about it even if the outcome isn’t what I hoped it could be.

    • Absolutely Lara! That is so hard! I’m glad you tried to question for better understanding and maybe your relationship will continue, but just be different. I had a similar situation, and I had to ask the Lord if I’d done everything I could. When I sensed the answer was yes, I needed to let go of the relationship.

  3. A pattern – better understanding – and staving off bitterness. I like those tips, Laura. So often, we just want to extend grace, but it’s a good reminder that there are times when it’s better to extend grace, while still communicating about a potential issue. 🙂 Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Thanks Brenda! That grace and truth “both/and” is tough to navigate isn’t it? I think sometimes I hide behind “grace” when it’s really my fear of speaking the truth in love that is holding me back from confronting.

  4. Laura, it’s hard to resist a post with a good Frozen analogy! These are wise words. There’s a fine line between addressing something to meet our need to be right and doing it to restore a relationship. As you say, prayer and humility make all the difference. So glad I stopped by today from Coffee for Your Heart …

  5. Okay, so I was initially drawn to this post due to the Frozen reference (I have two toddlers…both girls!) I’m so glad I stopped by to read it! Your points were so true and applicable. There are certainly times when we need to confront an offense rather than let it go. The trick is knowing when to let go and when to confront. 🙂

    Blessings!
    Alyssa

  6. This is beautiful! Funny and so relate-able. Thanks for sharing it. I especially loved your Holy Spirit reminder: “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.” Bang. Amen.
    Love to you from Holland,
    Jasmine

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