Jill says: Even when you’re moving forward, it’s easy to want to bring up the past.
Mark says: It’s the human side of us that wants to throw something back into play that we settled in our heart or relationship a while ago.
Jill says: Just this past week, when Mark complimented me on being a “wonderful and thoughtful wife,” immediately I thought, “Well that’s not what you thought three years ago when you left me.” We weren’t arguing, we weren’t in a difficult place in our relationship, the affair is not something I even think of on a regular basis. Yet, that’s what came to my mind! Thankfully, I “took my thoughts captive” (2 Corinthians 10:5) and they didn’t exit my mouth! However, even the fact that they entered my heart had to be something I dealt with before God. Lord I’m sorry that I’m trying to dig up what you have redeemed.
Mark says: That happens to me as well. When Jill is stressed and says something in a sharp tone, I can easily get sucked into thinking, “I’m outta here. I don’t need this.” Even when things have been fine for months and there’s daily evidence that we’re doing well, my heart can quickly jump into the past and set up shop once again.
Jill says: In the Today’s Christian Woman article I wrote on rebuilding trust, I stated, “Mark didn’t need my tone of voice or choice of words to condemn, criticize, or punish him any further. Ultimately, we both had to resist the urge to react to one another in our hurt, responding instead with love and respect.”
Mark says: It doesn’t matter if what’s in the past is something big like an affair that happened years ago or it’s a conflict that happened and was resolved yesterday, we have to resist the urge to bring up the past. Forgiveness allows us to move forward, but in an effort of self-protection our heart longs to cling to the past.
We have to remember the part that spiritual warfare plays here. The enemy has come to “steal, kill, and destroy,” (John 10:10). There’s a battle for your marriage each and every day and we have to resist the urge to play into the enemy’s hand.
Jill says: Sometimes when we want to lash out at one another it can be because there was conflict that was really never resolved. However, much of the time, it creeps in even when it has been resolved, and even when forgiveness has been granted.
Don’t go relivin’ what you have forgiven. Those are the words I said to myself this week when I wanted to respond to Mark’s compliment with a snarky response.
Mark says: I do the same when I’m tempted to move the past into the present. It’s not always the easy thing to do, but it’s the right thing to do.
What about you? What do you need to leave in the past? Where do you need to resist taking the bait?