It’s a war that no one wins: Withdrawal into silence; withdrawal into hiding; withdrawal into porn; withdrawal into the attention of another; withdrawal into resentment; withdrawal into busyness; withdrawal into anger; withdrawal into martyrdom.
Withdrawal undermines the work of healing by accepting zero responsibility and avoiding any platform for reconciliation. It’s easy to be “right” when no one has the opportunity to suggest we may be wrong.
At the Fall, we find the first severed relationship. Here they are, faced with a terrifying division in what had always been a perfect union, and what do the man and woman do? They run and hide. What does God do? He comes after them. He was the one betrayed, and yet, His relentless love never stopped showing up, all the way to the cross.
The demise of unmerciful blame into shortsighted comparison and apathetic withdrawal is stopped instantly with forgiveness. To forgive quickly is to take control of our emotions and to hold on tight to the covenant vows that we made.
Where blame accuses, love repents. It is honest and vulnerable and full of grace, refusing to record the failures of the other, always remembering the profound mercy we have already been shown (Romans 5:8). Love chooses to stop looking away. Love shows up, especially when it wants to run or hide or go underground.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full,” Jesus (John 10:10).
We worship a God who redeems what is broken and brings life out of death. If He can reconcile us to Himself, surely He can heal what is broken in our marriages.
The key is us. Are we willing to lay down pride and pick up the hard work of restoration? Are we willing to cut off toxic habits and thought patterns before they drill a hole even deeper into our relationships? Or do we choose to stay in the unhealthy place, passing on the renewed life that could be ours?