The Jewish world is about to start/has begun observing Yom Kippur, the “Day of Atonement”, a universal, corporate, annual ‘reset’ button on the mistakes of the year gone by.
Leviticus 16:30 decrees:
“And it shall be a statute to you forever that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict yourselves and shall do no work, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you. For on this day shall atonement be made for you to cleanse you. You shall be clean before the Lord from all your sins.“
As believers, we seem to have forgotten the power of this, since through Jesus’ sacrifice we might feel we don’t need to think about this yearly cycle, or at least a yearly event does not seem so necessary when we have access to His grace and sanctification at all times:
For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
However, while our perfect Messiah has done a great job at perfecting us imperfect beings before the throne of God, last time I checked, this imperfect being still had a pretty imperfect relationship before the ‘throne’ of his marginally less imperfect wife, and the redemptive work of the cross doesn’t always cut the mustard as a cover-all when requesting her forgiveness…
Which got me thinking… Could we do with a reset button for our marriage?
I’ve been making a mess of a few things recently, in how I’ve talked to, appreciated (or not) S. at various points and in various situations. I’m sure this is totally alien to many of you, as I’m sure you’ve never even thought bad thoughts of each other let alone done or said the things I have!
But despite my many failings, somehow we’ve got through – most likely because of S.’s ability to ‘activate’ the reset button and get past my failings, or the failings of those around us. Her birthday this week, for example, somehow (despite my best efforts) turned into a bit of a flop! But by the end of the day, we were able to start again with each other and the kids. Actually, the more times we do it, the easier it seems to let go of our anger/disappointment. I am so grateful to her for showing me this, as I personally have a tendency to wallow in my disappointment. It may take a good deal to upset me, but when I get there, I feel like I need to make the most of the journey! But the longer we hold onto our hurts, for some reason, the harder they are to let go of (maybe from the cramp?)
I cannot count the number of times I’ve had to say sorry, or write a groveling letter explaining my actions, thoughts or harsh words. To make things work, each time, we’ve eventually had to get to that place where we say ‘this far and no further’ to the things that are dragging us down. But like Yom Kippur, this has to cover everything.
So, whether it’s yearly, weekly, daily (or hourly!), pressing ‘reset’ is essential if we’re going to get through in our relationships despite our natural human weakness… Besides, we have a pretty good example set before us:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
What’s next? Now I have to muster up some DIY skills to get that button installed…