Asking forgiveness later is not funny.
We laugh about this, and in some ways it’s funny. Sometimes we do this innocently enough when it really doesn’t matter. But this is a cause for concern. I suppose I will get some flack from this post because oftentimes, we do this and laugh – and it’s not funny. Is it? Because asking forgiveness later (deliberately) is wrong.
What bothers me is the times I’ve heard this reason as an excuse for doing my own thing to the detriment of my spouse or those in authority over me. As if laughing about it makes it okay – really?
I’m aware that I might be stepping on some toes here. Don’t worry; you’re not alone. If, however, you become upset with me, I ask you to take a day or a week to ask God what makes you angry the most: that I’m so out of line with scripture that it’s upsetting to you or that it’s true and you’ve been caught with your hand in the cookie jar.
Permission granted – or not
I watched a video the other day where a woman came to a group (publically) and asked how to get her husband to give her “permission” to do something she wanted to do but felt he would disapprove. I’m not here to talk about why he would or wouldn’t and whether or not he was ridiculous in his lack of approval. For starters, I don’t know enough about the situation – and neither, for that matter, did anyone else in the audience or the talk show host. From what this woman shared, she felt she and her husband had raised their children well, and now that she was an empty nester, there was something she wanted to do – something she felt he would not support.
Put all that aside (the particulars that we don’t know) and consider her question and the response she received. Both of these bother me because it shows a lack of concern and respect for the heart of her spouse.
Two wrongs of her question
- She asked several hundred people in the audience and the host of the show without even speaking to her husband about it first.
- She was told by the host, “Go ahead. Haven’t you heard, ‘It’s easier to ask forgiveness later than get permission first.'” Everybody laughed.
According to Scripture, that advice was stone cold wrong. It bothers me that we sometimes get caught up in that mentality – that my husband has no “right” to ask something of me that I don’t want to do. That I have the “right” to make my own decisions no matter what he thinks.
I’ll be the first to recognize that a wife is not a piece of property, a slave or a doormat. Husbands are called to love their wives just like Christ loved the church. Jesus gave Himself (the greatest sacrifice) for the church. When a husband does not love sacrificially, he is wrong. Scripture tells us that none of us should do things through strife or vain glory [vanity or pride], but we are each to consider the other better than ourselves. If you are a believer who seeks to follow Christ, then you need to answer these questions.
The back story reasons
How many times do we want to do something because we feel it will help us grow in our relationship with Christ, and how many times is the reason one of selfishness and pride? When we go ahead and do something, and plan ahead of time to just ask forgiveness later, we’re really not sorry at all. We got what we wanted and because we say we’re sorry, it’s all okay? I don’t think so.
When a child helps himself to a cookie without asking first because he knows the answer will be “No”, he’s doing just this. We’d never bless a child for doing what he knows he’s not permitted to do, as long as he asks forgiveness after the deed is done. As parents, we’d see right through that. How is it that when the shoe is on the other foot, it’s funny instead of wrong?
Asking forgiveness later implies that the deed is already done before it’s discovered and realized. So then, since we’ve already done it, we simply ask forgiveness and continue on our way enjoying what we gained in our deception. When we knowingly choose: the event has taken place, the item is purchased and past the return policy date, we’ve already participated, the outfit is worn, or the tattoo is there and we can’t undo it, our plan to just ask forgiveness does not make it all okay.
It doesn’t. It doesn’t because we’re not truly sorry.
Our heart’s intent in asking forgiveness later
The problem is that our heart’s intent was to do what we wanted to do when we wanted to do it, so we didn’t ask because we knew what the answer was going to be. We just do it without asking and get to do what we want.
Nobody, but nobody has a right to tell us what we should or shouldn’t do, right? As women, we’re adults and we should be able to decide for ourselves, right?
That ugly “S” word
We are not our own. We are bought with a price. What we do matters. Marriage is a partnership with our spouse. When we do things that negatively affect our spouse, it affects us negatively too. We have specific instructions on relating to our spouse. The one that upsets women the most is the call to submission. It’s a struggle, because we’re on equal terms at the foot of the cross, but scripture calls us to honor and reverence our spouse. We can’t do that if we don’t submit.
The submission I’m talking about does not okay abuse, whether verbally, emotionally or physically. The submission I’m referring to is a mutual submission. Each one recognizes that a negative remark about a spouse is also a negative remark about oneself – because we, as a team, are one.
When a spouse respects the other spouse, he or she will want to do things that encourage and honor the other party in the marriage. When our heart is right, we want to give deference to the other unless doing so violates scripture. Most times we don’t even need to ask before we do something. That is because we already know how the other party feels about it. Using the phrase, “it’s better to just ask forgiveness later” is null and void if we want to live in harmony with God’s plan for marriage.
Being the “S” word negates asking forgiveness later
I don’t recall any place in scripture that assures us mutual submission is easy, or that it comes naturally. There are no guarantees that our spouse will always affirm what we want to do, whether it’s where we go, how we spend our money, or what we endorse. That’s not the point now, is it?
Deliberately doing something and then “asking forgiveness later” is a subtle form of selfishness and defiance. We don’t like it in our children, and God doesn’t like it in His.