There is a very unhealthy dynamic that can develop in a relationship: the idea that an unkind and unwanted action gives permission for retaliation in equal proportion.
“You did this to me, so I can do this to you.”
“You spent this much, so I can spend that much as well.”
“You were mean to me, so I should be mean to you.”
“You lied to me, so I’m going to lie to you.”
Without intervention and an infusion of sanity, it never gets better; it only gets worse. This is a relationship black hole. It creates a cycle of unhealthy behavior, it nurtures insecurity, and it works against the relationship and each individual in a major way. A couple’s relationship should be complementary and benevolent, but retaliation makes it destructive and malevolent.
The fundamental tenets shaping your actions should not be hinged or dependent on someone else’s actions. Your response to someone else’s actions should not be dictated by the kind of person he or she chooses to be. It should be determined by the kind of person you choose to be. When you face conflict, you will be tested, and those elementary and fundamental parts of you will have a chance to stand out.
The decision is yours!
You decide what kind of person you are and what kind of values you live by.
The simple and hard truth is this: If someone treated you wrongly, being vindictive will not vindicate you. It’s a trap. If you choose to lie, saying “he lied first” will not absolve you from being a liar. If you choose to be hurtful, saying “she hurt me first” doesn’t make you any sweeter. Your fidelity, your purity, your integrity, and your character are yours, and no one else’s. You can hold someone accountable without losing yourself. So, if you find yourself at a place where you are looking for permission, based on your mate’s actions, to act in a way that will corrupt your values, or act based on values you don’t support, you need a heart check.
Is winning the fight worth losing your soul?
If you are facing a tough situation at home, and you are willing to fight, let me encourage you to fight the right way. Your relationship with God should be what frames your character and keeps your integrity. What you have in Christ is stronger than what might be trying to corrupt your home. We learn from the Scriptures that “…the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.” (1 Corinthians 7:14 esv). Your relationship with God is so powerful, it can change your mate and your family – it purifies their impurities, and it makes them better. If you are willing to fight, fight the right way; fight on your knees in prayer; fight for a healthy home life, and fight from a faith-filled heart, knowing that in Christ you are an overcomer. Don’t fight against the people you love, but fight for the people you love. Go higher, so that you can call them higher.
The next time you face situations, discussions, and disagreements, that cause your mind to be flooded with negative and vindictive thoughts,
Don’t react based on what is coming at you, but respond based on who you are in Christ.
I’ll leave you with this:
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8 esv)