By Janel Breitenstein
Back when we were living in a run-down neighborhood, I would go on morning walks. Aside from that time when I had to sidestep a dead rat, it was actually one of the calmest parts of my day.
Once, I brought my camera. A heron frequented a nearby vacant lot, and I was hopeful.
Sure enough: The striking, gray-blue S-curve of its neck caught my breath. I raised my lens, poking it through the chain link fence, and snapped the moment I wanted to remember.
But paging through the images, I was surprised by what else had made the photo: a couple of old cement volleyball standards, piles of scrap metal. The heron had caused me to overlook the trash and decay.
I tell you this because in marriage, I’ve found there’s value in my zoom lens. Sometimes, junk needs to be dealt with head on. But at times, I miss sweeping arcs of beauty around me because my lens is focused on the refuse cluttering my specific image of perfection.
How can you know if you should overlook or confront? Consider questions like these:
- Is this incident a one-off, or a repeated pattern of sin?
- In light of everything else your spouse is carrying, is this the appropriate occasion to confront? God doesn’t confront every instance of our sin, or we would be overwhelmed.
- If you attempt to overlook, can you
- keep from dwelling on this?
- refrain from talking about it with someone who’s not part of the solution?
- desire to bless rather than punish?
- Are you faking peace/avoiding conflict, or do you feel convicted this is the most loving course of action?
Being slow to anger is part of God’s glory (Exodus 34:5-6). Overlooking an offense is referred to as a person’s glory (Proverbs 19:11). Am I ever zooming in on imperfection, creating a marital culture of performance, when there is a heron before me in some aspect of my spouse?
The Good Stuff: “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light.” (Matthew 6:22)
Action Points: When you next experience an irritation with your spouse, consider whether God might be asking you to set aside your anger. Could you overlook this offense—and possibly help create a culture of unmerited kindness in your marriage?
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