In this post we will look at the behaviors which are symptoms of the unresolved sin that ultimately hardens the heart in marriages and other relationships. My friends at Trueface say it like this:
"When we trust our own ideas about how to handle our guilt or hurt, we allow something much worse to be released in us. Suddenly guilt and hurt ignite our shame, with its many ugly children, including manipulation, lies, blame, fear, denial, anger, control and many more." from Behind The Mask
Guilt and hurt open the door to our shame, a place of hiddenness where manipulation, control, lies, blame, fear, denial, anger, and many more behaviors emerge, which will harden hearts. If we are on the receiving end of these attitudes and actions we definitely don't feel loved. Unfortunately, we don't know what to do with it, so as suggested above, "we trust our own ideas about how to handle it." Bad plan, because we can't handle it. Our ideas usually result in defensiveness and self-protection patterns learned in our childhood., YIKES!, can you feel your heart harden?
Mask wearing (false identity) becomes our way of coping with guilt and hurt. it is a way of hiddenness. It is driven by our shame (an inner sense that we are not enough, not good enough). There is a way out, but it is counterintuitive. The answer is in this quote from my friends at Trueface.
Love, the first gift of grace, acts as a solvent to lift our masks.
We will talk more about this incredible "solvent" next time.
In the last blogpost, I suggested that a "hardened heart", which Meg Marie Wallace mentions in her blogpost, "One thing that is guaranteed to end of all marriages", is the result of unresolved sin and it is this sin that is the root cause the hardening of hearts. Thus, the relational disconnect couples experience, comes primarily from unresolved sin that is buried alive, never dealt with, just tucked away in one's heart.
If unresolved sin could be dealt with in a healthy way, hardening of the heart would not happen at all. First, let's define and unresolved sin. This is sin done to us or it can be sin we commit against another. We know something has gone wrong, as we experience the feeling of being hurt, in the first case, or we experience guilt in the latter.
Our friends at TrueFace in their book, The Cure, share this about being hurt; "If you haven't been there yet, you will. You'll be wronged, hurt and then left for dead in an environment promoting just the opposite. It's a dangerous moment, because it causes us to wonder whether a place of safety, authenticity, grace and love is actually possible this side of heaven. It is here many of us make the choice to return to our self-preserving ways."
In marriage, most of us in the beginning, see our relationship as a place of safety. In time, stuff happens, we hurt each other, and we experience guilt and hurt. When we choose to go into self preservation mode to deal with sin, we bury it alive inside and it is unresolved. It is here that the unresolved sin issue, over time, manifest themselves in harmful attitudes and behaviors.
Let's explore this further next time and look at the behaviors which are symptoms of the unresolved sin that ultimately hardens the heart in marriages and other relationships.
In our Marriage Mosaic workshops we learn practical skills that are life giving for marriages and lead couples to living free from unresolved issues. Click here to find out about our workshops and register for one.
In Meg Marie Wallace's thoughtful blogpost, she postulates that the "one thing guaranteed to end all marriages" is a hardened heart. You can read it here.
Her great post has me asking this question; What caused the hardening of heart? Could the causes be worth discovering in the healing of a marriage relationship and/or in the prevention of hardening of the heart, leading to the end of a marriage?
Thanks Meg for prompting me to probe for answers to these questions. That is what a good blog does for me. I'm going to suggest that a hardened heart is a result of unresolved sin issues. What do a I mean by an unresolved sin issue?
Unresolved sin issues are like Tardigrades. Dormant, quiet, ugly, hidden. They can look dead for years. But, they are not dead. All unresolved sin issues are buried alive. Just the perfect circumstance, a sly word, a pesky argument, a trigger of some kind and that unresolved sin issue reconstitutes itself. Where did it come from? Oh, it was there all the time? Latent and ready to be activated. Why am I angrier than I was before? Why do I have blame, shame, denial, manipulation, fear, all mixed up inside me?
Ah...there it is, the root of the hardened heart; "Where did it come from? Let's talk more about where it came from next time and see the behaviors unresolved sin produces to that we can discover an "agent" of healing.
“What if there was a place so safe that the worst of me could be known, and I would discover that I would not be loved less, but more in the telling of it?”
Vic and Monique
We are all about helping your marriage thrive.