One night about five years ago, I was tossing and turning in bed, unable to sleep, obsessing about a Christian woman who I thought was prideful. My mind replayed how she had talked down to me over and over again, and her air of haughtiness and scorn suddenly caused me to hate her. I was so worked up that my heart was pounding, and I wanted to scream. I knew that I was sinning, so I asked God for forgiveness for feeling that this woman was like fingernails scratching on a chalkboard. But no matter how much I tried to repent, I wasn’t actually repenting. I was still furious. I finally got up. I needed my husband to help me repent. I wanted to get out of this yucky mire, I wanted to be right with God, and I wanted to go to sleep.
My husband still hadn’t gone to bed. He couldn’t sleep either, so he was watching some program on TV. To his credit, as soon as I came out, he saw that I needed to talk, and he shut off the TV, even though it was the last five minutes of a movie. (I didn’t know this at the time, or I would have gone to make some chamomile tea or something.) The television is not an idol for my husband. He can shut it off any time. He loves me more than the TV.
So I walked into the living room and plopped down on the couch with an agitated sigh. After turning off the TV, my husband turned to me and waited.
Choking down the emotion, I blurted out, “Can you pray with me? The more I think about this woman, the more I hate her guts, and that is not normal for me. I haven’t hated anyone since high school. What is wrong with me? This woman is so prideful; she treats me like a piece of dirt, and I can’t stand it any more! I tried to repent, but it’s not working.”
My husband paused, thinking about it. The room was silent for a moment. I could tell that he was trying to phrase it as gently as possible. He said, “Susan, you realize that you have the same sin. The fact that you don’t like being talked down to indicates that you are prideful yourself. If people don’t think you’re an extremely godly person, you take offense. The truth is that you consider yourself to be better than others.”
In the silence that followed, I knew that my husband was right. The sin that I hated so much was inside of me. I was angry at this woman when in reality, I was the one that was sinning. I felt true remorse for my own sin, which enabled me to forgive the woman who wronged me. My husband and I talked quietly for about an hour. Then he prayed for me, and a weight lifted. The sin was gone.
(Stay tuned for Part 3…)Tweet