Monday, 13 November 2017

Healing the Wounds Part 4 - Restituion and Resolve

[Part 1]  [Part 2] [Part 3]

Making a full confession and asking for forgiveness is a vital part of healing a wound, but by themselves they are just words.  Those words need to be followed up with action to be taken seriously.

Making restitution is a vital part of the healing process.  True regret comes with a desire to make up for the wrongs done.  Simply stopping the hurtful behaviour is not enough by itself.  Consider the case of a bank robber who expresses deep regret and sorrow over what they did, promises they won't do it again, but keeps the money and hides from the law.  It calls their words into question if they are unwilling to pay back or make up for what they did.

Sometimes however a direct form of restitution like that is not possible.  That doesn't mean you have a excuse to skip this step.  What you should do instead is to make restitution by making up for what you did.  Swing the pendulum to the other side and counteract a misdeed with it's opposite.

A spouse who had a habit of speaking harshly to their companion can't undo the fact that they said what they said, but the can make restitution by making a habit of giving their partner genuine praise instead.  A spouse who has been inconsiderate of their partner's sexual needs can't go back in time and change years of selfish refusal, but they can makes restitution by doing all they can to make the future one that includes a high level of sexual fulfillment for their spouse.

Restitution like this is not something you do for a week or a month then drop, it is a lifelong change.  It shows your spouse you have had a true change of heart rather than just a change of mind.  It proves to them that you are no longer the kind of person who would do such a thing.  It wins back their trust and confidence in your feelings for them.

Resolve to never do it again

True regret is a painful thing, and it should be painful enough that it drives you to do all the steps after it.  It should also be painful enough to leave you resolved to never do such a thing again.  Your resolve reform yourself needs to be expressed to your spouse in words, and demonstrated in deed for the rest of your life.  As I mentioned before, the Lord said:
By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them. (D&C 58:43)
If a spouse makes their confession, asks forgiveness and makes restitution for what they did, then goes on to do it again (even if many years later) it re-opens the original wound.  After that, confessions will be harder to take as sincere and a greater restitution will be required.

In Luke 7:37-50 a woman known to be a sinner washes the feet of the Savior with her tears and anoints his feet with expensive ointment.  Simon the Pharisee thought that if Christ were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman this was and not let her do this.  Christ, sensing his thoughts taught:
Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. (Luke 7:47)
Likewise, to whom much is forgiven, the same loveth greatly as this woman showed.  These steps allow a couple to tap into the power of the atonement which can heal the wounds and restore peace and love to a marriage.  When there is both forgiveness and all the elements of reconciliation present, a marriage can come out of adversity stronger than it was before the trial began, with deeper love between the spouses.  Even a case of adultery can end with hearts healed and a marriage strengthened if both do their part.   Even if a spouse is unwilling or slow to forgive, this process will be a blessing to those who follow it.