We have been looking at the victim's heart since last Friday. When dealing with a woman who has been victimized by her husband or boyfriend you may learn that he has repented of his sin and is living to glorify God. She however, has become the judge, jury, and prosecution of the man. The sin issues of her heart must be identified and confronted in addition to dealing with the sin and repentance of the husband.
So the focus of the people helping must be balanced equally between the victims and offenders, of which there are now two of each! Observation has taught me that usually by the time we the couple to a round table discussion the original offender has repented and has begun to demonstrate the good fruit of that repentance.
He is confused as to why things in the marriage are still going so badly overall and why his wife reacts and responds the way she does.
The challenge in any of these situations is for the wife to move beyond the victim mentality, cease being the offender, and go forward in a restored relationship. For that to take place the heart must be affected in the areas of forgiveness, pride, anger and its resulting bitterness, and fear just to name a few places to begin with your counselee. A person has really got to be willing to humble themselves in such a case but I can think of no better place to start the work than in the area of pride.
No matter what the resulting issues may be, it is imperative that we remember that God is actively opposing the prideful person. He is standing against you if you are prideful and self-righteous! (Jas. 4:6) This thinking often arises out of the mis-belief that you are incapable of such a deed as has been done to you. That you are too holy, too good, too sanctified to ever be caught up in such sin. Well, that maybe true for whatever the specific sin is that has been done against you or by your husband but I promise you that you are capable of something just as grievous to God. You must repent.
Remind yourself daily of your need for the gospel! God will take care of your husband (of offender); you must now focus on your own sinful areas (Rom 12:18, 1 Thes. 4:11). Remember that you are also unworthy of forgiveness, and mercy and grace! Demonstrate the kind of forgiveness that God has:
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
God’s forgiveness of you is conditional only in the sense that a person belongs to Him to receive it. He forgave us in eternity past when He predestined us to be His children (Eph. 1) and He throws our sin as far as the ends of the earth. (Ps. 103:12) God does not “forget” our sin; he chooses to remember it no more! (Jer. 31:34; Heb. 10:17) You can do the same!
…seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 2 Peter 1:3
Although I only quoted verse 3 for space reasons, the following verses to 8 are also quite appropriate to remind us what we have been enabled to do and what God expects from us as a result. Choose today to remember no more the sin of the one who has hurt you. Tell him or her you forgive them from the heart because it glorifies God to do so and then determine to never again bring it up to them, yourself, or anyone else.
Do not give in to the temptation to manipulate by emotions. Ask yourself if what you want to do glorifies God. Determine to attack the problems before you, not the person. Anger is an emotion given by God to motivate us to solve problems not to hurt each other with (Eph. 4:26,27).
You will be amazed at how these little steps can make such a difference in your heart and life and these people and relationships you have struggled with for so long. You don’t need to avenge yourself or to be afraid of being made a fool of. God, who sees all and knows all, will honor your desire to follow Him and to honor Him by how you live. Go forward in freedom from the past!