In the book, Forgiving and Reconciling, Dr. Worthington talks about the “Injustice Gap.” It’s when we try to equalize the pain we’ve felt at the hands of our offender by requiring some kind of justice or amends.
Dr. Worthington goes on to say that in trying to bridge the “Injustice Gap”, we don’t just require the same level of justice. We up the ante. He illustrates this tendency with the example of currency.
Let’s say I commit a $5 offense against my spouse. He, in turn, tries to fill the “Injustice Gap” by returning to me a $10 insult. This could be my cue to up the ante even more and dole out a $15 full-scale attack!
No doubt we’re trying to bring that ever-elusive “balance” everyone likes so much. Too bad these transactions end up draining our love-accounts and costing our marriages in a very real way.
As I’ve contemplated how this unhealthy transaction takes place, I’ve come to realize an additional problem with this strategy …
When I commit the $5 offense against my husband, it might feel more like a $1 or even .50 cent hurt to me. He, on the other hand, perceives my $5 offense as a $10 assault—thus making his $10 retaliation seem perfectly fitting or in balance.
The reason I’m pointing this out is two-fold. It's important to see …
- Dr. Worthington’s excellent point that we try to hurt our spouses more than our spouses hurt us, in a misguided effort to balance the “Injustice Gap.”
- The offense that we give to others doesn’t hurt or affect us, so we don’t know how hurtful we’re actually being.
We can lull ourselves into believing our hurtful words and actions don’t hurt as much as they really do. So we feel free to say or do a myriad of hurtful things to our spouse, then claiming that our spouse is guilty of being overly sensitive.
But this can’t be true if we aren’t the one feeling the punch we just threw.
Listen, I’m not just preaching to you, but to myself as well!
So here’s what I want to focus and work on and you’re welcome to join me if you’d like:
- The next time I feel like letting loose and hurling an insult my spouse’s way, I need to remember that my words will hurt him a lot more than what I realize or feel.
- The next time I want to up the ante when my spouse hurts me, I need to realize he didn’t feel the pain like I did.
Most importantly, only Christ can balance or bridge the gap—something he did when he spread wide his arms to be nailed to the cross for you and me!
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