The Day I Saw My Husband’s Flaw
By Janel Breitenstein
It was in a passing conversation, see. Finally all the dots were connected, and I knew.
I realized what his pet sin was. He probably didn’t even see it, considering just how conniving and blinding these things tend to be.
For at least 24 hours, I felt no compassion for such an egregious error. I didn’t pray for him. I didn’t use it to understand him more. I didn’t examine my life for similar corrosive habits.
Instead, I used his weakness to subtly slot myself above him. I mentally shook my fist, then my head: That’s too bad.
I considered how it affected his closest relationships, and how fortunate it was that I didn’t have the same problem. I considered how I would manipulate, I mean navigate, our relationship so I didn’t fall prey, and maybe would have a chance to help him see the error of his ways.
Maybe it was something like, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector” (Luke 18:11).
I think back to a night in a foreign country around 3 a.m., when I was infuriated, grieved, and traumatized beyond anything in my lifetime. I’d witnessed a fatal accident, and the police spent hours trying to bribe me to keep quiet about what I’d seen.
Opportunists through someone’s demise. I was outraged. How could they?
But on a lesser level—this is me when I leverage weakness for the sake of superiority. Or ammo. Or leveling the playing field.
I capitalize on a source of death.
What will you do with the knowledge of your spouse’s sin?
The good stuff: If you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth—you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? (Romans 2:19-21)
Action points: Annoyed by a spouse’s sin pattern? Don’t abandon the need to spur him or her toward holiness. But consider what attitudes Jesus was calling us to when he said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7).
- Create greater awareness in yourself of your own faults more than your spouse’s.
- Ask God for humility rather than superiority, and awareness of the level of His kindness toward you.
- Use your understanding of (and even anger toward) your spouse’s weakness to drive you to prayer.
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