The Absolute Necessity of Cleaning Wounds
You would have thought I’d been bitten by a cobra or by some exotic spider. Not quite – it was only a small puncture wound from a hawthorn bush I was clearing for an elderly woman. No big deal, I told myself, but after a few days a large, hot bump rose on my wrist and two ominous red tracts were making their way up my left arm.
The emergency room doctor took one look and said, “You’re fortunate you came in.” Without medical intervention, blood poisoning is a one-way express ticket to eternity.
Such a little wound – so much power to destroy. The difference between life and death was taking action – doing something about the poison.
Necessity of Cleaning Wounds
It’s no different with invisible wounds – the injuries that stab from the inside: that sharply selfish act you didn’t see coming, the pointed fangs of a painful put-down, or that series of statements that slice like paper cuts.
Almost everyone has sustained afflictions like this. What is important is how you treat them. Perhaps you choose to do nothing at all? Maybe an infection is beginning to spread?
Like the poison from that puncture wound, toxins from neglected internal wounds of the soul fester just as much. Sooner or later, that venom will overtake you with the intent and power to destroy.
Marriages go down because of the poison from neglected relational wounds. And, just like my puncture wound, the difference between life and death is taking action – doing something about the poison.
When we’re offended by something our spouse did, we often want him/her to come our way – to initiate the reconciliation. Seriously, does she not see that I’m peeved/hurt/angry? Is he so blind he can’t see how much he has hurt me?
Jesus disagrees. He teaches that the offended party is the one who needs to act first. If your brother commits an offense against you, go to him and tell him his fault (Matthew 18:15 MLJV).
Seek out your spouse. Tell him/her what happened that offended you. Many times, these conversations don’t go so well because we pursue them in the flesh rather than being led by the Spirit. Therefore, approach them with these suggestions in mind:
1) Pray before you attempt to reconcile, asking God to help you remain in the Spirit and to help your spouse see what you desire to communicate.
2) Changing a person is God’s job, not yours. Purpose to leave your spouse in God’s hands and choose not to react to the response you receive. Ask God to take away the poison you’ve allowed to fester, and to clean your wound with His grace.
3) Even if there isn’t immediate repentance, remember how much you’ve been forgiven and how patient God is with you. God is at work. Trust Him.
Remember God’s words about a man and a woman coming together in marriage? The two shall become one flesh. Take action. Do something about that poison in your wound before it destroys the people you love.
You may also enjoy Matthew and Lisa’s article, The Powerful Habit of Choosing Kindness
Check out Matthew’s new e-book 100 Ways to Love Your Wife
“Changing a person is God’s job, not yours.” I love this statement. It a powerful statement that not only apply to husbands and wives, but also to our relationship with our children. God ask us to guide and nature the little ones He as entrusted us with, not to force them to be ‘little’ us.
Daily I am learning that changing and molding a person is God job and my part is to ask Him daily to mold and change me into the person He want me to be, only them can I have a good relationship with my husband, children and others around me.
Peace to you.
What if some never repents such as a malignant narcissist. These people Are not capable of repentece. Nor do they have integrity loyalty love or empathy. What do you do then. Think of a severely toxic love one. Do you treat them like a tax collector.
Treat the “malignant narcissist” with the respect and agape love that is due any human being created in God’s image. Pray for them diligently and unceasingly. If you trust God and put Him first, He will either change that person, give you grace to live with them as they are or remove them from your life. Believe me, I have put this principal into practice more than once and God has never failed me yet.
The Bible speaks very clearly on the subject of the unrepentant heart both as a matter before the Church and as a matter between individuals. The question is, will we follow what it says or are we determined to “love” a person more than Jesus does?
In response to Cindy Bear’s advice (below): Agape LOVE, yes. Unconditional permission to continue narcissistic abuse, NO! You *continue* to follow the steps laid out for sinful behavior in Matthew 18:15, once going to him in private, bathed in prayer and grace, does not accomplish an end to the abuse. Step Two: a good Christian counselor (if he is willing), Step Three: present your abuse to church leaders. No repentance and continued abuse may lead to separation and/or divorce, all the while continuing to pray that the consequences of his sin will result in godly sorrow which will result in genuine and lasting repentance. Only God speaking by His Holy Spirit can show you the correct timing of these steps and when you are walking in the Spirit He will fill you with confidence regardless of how difficult the decisions are. I experienced all of this and more during a 15-year marriage to a man with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and even though it was INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT, I can assure you that God provides all you need to remain faithful, pure and patient until the day your spouse either repents or God releases you from the marriage/relationship. Blessings to you, dear sister!
Sarah Thank you. I have a NPD mother. I realized it just last year. I’m 45. I’m too was married to a NPD for 19 years. I left him 7 years ago. I did not know what a NPD was then, but I used to think ” wow my husband is my mother. Anyway. I’m healing and understand. I’ve requested all the things your mention above. As you know a true NPD will not admit fault. So I posed my question to those who don’t understand that sometimes no matter what you have to walk away. God is our Father he does not want to see his children hurt. NPD can lead to serious abuse and it’s important people understand. Most sociopaths have it. Daughter of NPD can have severe I entity issues that can lead to drug addition suicide and more. Do I do have a problem with saying “even if there is no repentece remember how much good forgave you” I’ve forgiven my mother because she knows not what she do, she has an illness, but to stay in that relationship was killing me.
Tiffany, I trust you are finding healing and redemption through Jesus. NPD is very unknown within the church and I’m glad to see Focus on the Family and other organizations finally addressing verbal and emotional abuse, which are trademarks of Narcissists. Unfortunately, N’s are incredibly skilled at hiding their abuse from the public, so their victims often suffer silently for many, many years before finally recognizing that they are indeed being abused. Also, Christian advice that is completely correct for typical marriages (pray more, fast, be patient, love unconditionally, etc.) is only going to enable and prolong more abuse, and it puts the responsibility for change on the victim, not the abuser. I belong to a facebook group called Survivors of Narcissistic Abuse and have found it incredibly helpful in my healing, along with healing prayer and lots of books on abusive relationships. Basically just understanding NPD was a huge eye-opener and like a light bulb clicking on over my head. 🙂 Blessings to you, and remember that JESUS is our Knight in Shining Armor, named Faithful and True! Rev 19:11 🙂 Sarah
Awareness in the Christian community. My family doesn’t speak to me because I’m a whistle blower so to speak. The Love thy mother Thing. I do love her, I’ve bent over backwards loving her. She didn’t love me back. This is the very reason I feel God’s given me the understanding. I’m in several groups. Have a fb page dedicated to healing. I’ve gone back to school with a major is psychology and minor in theology. Thinking you for giving the correct answer, I could not have said it myself. We need to open the dialog.
Great article! And also, it took me a few minutes and a Google search to figure out what version of the Bible “MLJV” is….lol! I’m a little slow on the uptake today… 🙂
It’s even better in Greek!
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