Time does not heal all wounds. As a matter of fact, depending on the nature and/or severity of the wound, time alone can cause a wound to worsen. Over time, what may appear to be a superficial wound can become infected and lead to death if it is not properly treated. A lie may appear superficial, but it can have devastating consequences in a relationship, especially in marriage, but it does not have to mean the destruction or end of the relationship or you if you respond swiftly and appropriately.
If you have been wounded because of a lie or any other form of betrayal, you have cause to be hurt and you have a right to say ‘ouch!’ To be denied that right or to repress the expression of the pain creates anger and resentment. If it hurts, it hurts. Say ‘ouch;’ let the tears flow. God gave us such emotions and the ability to express them for such occasions. Keep in mind, however, that the expression of your hurt and anger is not the same as healing the wound. I have yet to see a wound heal from the wounded person saying ‘ouch.’ It just doesn’t happen. It doesn’t matter how loudly you say ‘ouch’ or how many times you say it, the mere expression of your pain and anger will not bring healing. Let the expression of your hurt and anger serve its purpose which is to let it be known that you have been wounded. But you can’t just keep hollering ‘ouch;’ if you want healing, you have to see to your wound, take whatever precautions you can to protect the wound from further injury and infection, and apply those things that will promote healing.
Anger has its place—there are some things that we are supposed to get angry about—but anger, as is true with all of our God-given emotions, must be used appropriately. Anger is like a magnifying glass. When you view things through anger they can appear larger than they really are. When you are dealing with a situation while you are angry, you have to be sure that you are reacting to what is really there and not the distorted or magnified view of what is there. As difficult as it may be, you must take the time, even in your anger, to adjust your “lens” and look at the situation from various angles in order to understand what is really there. In this way, you can use your anger to draw attention where it needs to be and to bring the situation into clearer perspective.
What you apply to your wound can make it better or worse. In the same way, you have to be careful of what you apply to your wound through the magnifying lens of your anger. If you choose to keep rewinding and replaying in your mind the offense that caused the wound instead of pressing the “stop” button; if you spend your time speculating about the unknown and drawing incomplete/false conclusions; if you look for reasons to reinforce your distrust; or if you allow this wound to completely disable the other parts of your relationship that are positive, whole, and functioning properly, like rays of sun through a magnifying glass, your anger may burn up and destroy the very thing you are trying to bring into focus—your relationship. You may even burn yourself in the process.
You have limited control over the wounds others may inflict upon you, and to try to control the actions of someone else is an effort in futility. You can set boundaries in place, and take precautionary measures, but you can’t stop someone from lying to you or otherwise betraying you. You can, however, control your own actions and prevent self-inflicted wounds. One of the ways you can wound yourself is by refusing to let go of the offending act. In other words, refusing to forgive. Being unforgiving is like yelling ‘ouch’ but at the same time poking your finger into your own wound. You’re hurting yourself. Unforgiveness is holding on to the very thing that is causing you pain. If someone drops a hot coal in your hand, the best thing to do is drop the hot coal as soon as possible. Why hold onto it and continue to burn yourself? Let it go: the sooner the better. Surrender your control of others and realize the healing power of forgiveness.
Forgiving the one who has wounded you does not mean that you will not remember the offense. You will remember. But when you do remember, remind yourself that you have chosen to forgive. When the negative thoughts come, remind yourself of the things that are right and good also. (If your pool of positive thoughts is limited, this would be a good time to let repetition work for you.) Forgiveness is a process. It is not denying what is wrong; it is acknowledging and holding on to what is right. You forgive for one reason and one reason only: because God has forgiven you. At first, you will struggle with forgiving the one who has wounded you because of what was done to you in the past. But as you continue in the process, God will transform your heart because of your obedience to Him, and you will not only be able to forgive past offenses, but you will be able to forgive future offenses… even before they are committed. This is how God forgives us and He instructs us to forgive others in the same way.
Recognize where your strength lies. God is in control and with Him you can face and go through anything! Remember the awesome power you have in prayer. Prayer is cathartic. It’s like an emotional journal that only God can read and interpret fully and accurately. When you feel the pain, talk to the Divine Doctor. Talk to Him about the kind of wound you received. Talk to Him about the one who wounded you. Talk to Him about your symptoms and side effects: your pain; your disappointment; your anger; your fear. Why worry when you can pray? Worry can’t change a thing, but God through prayer can!
This wound hurt you, but it didn’t kill you and it doesn’t have to kill your relationship. Let the phrase, “I shall not surely die” become your daily resolution. If the person who wounded you doesn’t change, you shall not surely die! If he leaves, you shall not surely die. If you are wounded again, you shall not surely die! Whatever comes, apply the healing balm of a clear perspective, forgiveness, prayer, and courage, and with God’s help you can face it, get through it, and be healed!
Excerpted from the book Cheer Up Your Wife: A DIY Biblical Guide by Aleathea Dupree. For permission to reprint, please contact the author. Read related article “When A Husband Lies” in the Faith+Life blog. Follow @aleatheadupree on Instagram to receive notification of posting.
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God’s desire is for every marriage to be happy. He is aware of how painful divorce is and has provided the solution to the divorce problem. Cheer Up Your Wife: A DIY Biblical Guidereveals the foremost and critical underlying root problem that leads to divorce from God’s perspective, and shows you how to fix the problem or, better yet, to prevent it from ever happening.