Atonement – A Theory?

The word atonement was invented in the sixteenth century by William Tyndale who recognized that there was not a direct English translation of the biblical Hebraic concept. The word is composed of two parts “at” and “onement” in order to reflect the dual aspect of Christ’s sacrifice: the remission of sin and reconciliation of man to God. Tyndale’s concept overcome the limitations of the word “reconciliation” whilst incorporating aspects of propitiation and forgiveness” (Wikipedia – Etymology of the word ‘atonement’)

Atonement is a process of reconciliation – as I see it – for the wrong(s) one has committed. It includes forgiveness but it also includes a sense of justice – combining the 2 into a process of reconciliation leading to equality/same measure for measure.

Now the Jewish faith describes 3 things about this process – charity, repentance, and blood sacrifice (no longer exists) – so let’s go with just ‘sacrifice’. These 3 things are paths to making a situation ‘right’ – or ‘equal’. Not all 3 are used for each act of atoning for one’s sins/wrong-doings – no – sometimes it’s charity and sometimes it’s sacrificial.

I want to put my hand up for this idea – it works and it is the best thing a society/community can follow. It puts 2 parties into the mix and makes them deal with with the ‘sin’ via certfiable ‘action’ that will make put the parties back on ‘equal’ footing.

The problem with sin is this – it unlevels the playing field – it makes one a ‘victim’ and one a ‘perpetrator’. It takes away while one loses. It’s makes things…well unequal.

If communities had an idea like this – things within that community would be (a) held to accountability, (b) provide for ‘equality’ (respect) for each citizen, and (c) provide a sense of ‘justice’ needed in the act of forgiveness & repentance. It would make the community very stable and people would feel their hurts and needs were heard. 

We don’t live in that society – sadly enough…no! We live in a lazy and broken society where accountability isn’t fashionable and atonement is a thing of the long, forgotten past. Where victims remain victims and are bound to a path of forgiveness without much logic. Where individualism is all that matters and the response to the people around us is a moot point. We are a broken people – we have each gone our own way – and we forget the past – better yet – we help bury it.

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57 thoughts on “Atonement – A Theory?

  1. Just one thing I want to add. Not sure who told you that blood sacrifices are one of three ways to gain atonement in Judaism, I know it wasn’t me! Grain sacrifices also were used for atonement yet there is no blood with this offering. Burning incense also atoned yet that doesn’t fit into the category of a blood sacrifice either. Nor the offering of the half-sheckel. Otherwise you are quite accurate in pointing out that there are other paths of atonement in Judaism that have nothing to do with offerings at all.

  2. I think this is a great statement of the way things ought to be. The way things should work. The best way for them to work. And I agree 100%. This is best. And there are places where it is working like South Africa and Rwanda. And furthermore, I think this is what we always ought to be pursuing first. It should be the first option.

    The trouble with it is that you’ve got to have buy-in from both sides for it to work. You can’t have one side agreeing to it, acting this way, and the other side not. Then you again have, as you say it, an unlevel playing field. When you find yourself in that position, sometimes you have to quit trying to apply your round ideology into the square hole. That doesn’t mean you quit working for what you describe. It means you do what you have to do now to remedy things best you can while simultaneously looking for ways and working on ways to bring about what you describe.

  3. “Otherwise you are quite accurate in pointing out that there are other paths of atonement in Judaism that have nothing to do with offerings at all.” (Yael)

    I think that’s why I thought of ‘sacrifice’ as a more basic category than just blood sacrifice – because sometimes it wasn’t animals – but grain as you mention. The notion being ‘sacrifice’ is part of the process sometimes.

    “It means you do what you have to do now to remedy things best you can while simultaneously looking for ways and working on ways to bring about what you describe.” (Doug)

    The bigger problem is understanding the idea at all – it’s really quite foreign – atonement…most people can barely define the word. Then after that we can move in fairness and equality I think…making things right.

    However, you are accurate – it’s an idea I want to live by – for myself. Although people will not understand most of what it is – I will know and I will feel like I am living my faith and giving something meaningful back.

    Where did this all arise for me? How does one get atonement for adultery?

  4. Atonement………….maybe the problem is this word. Most times this idea is associated with Jesus or a religious mindframe. I think getting the right vocabulary to help our communication is more logical than trying to harmonize our theologies. The more I have discourse in Spirituality the more I recognize its limitations in the secular world that we spend the bulk of our time. The ideas that come from our spiritual beliefs can only be useful if they include the whole of the world. Tough undertaking for sure.

  5. The ideas that come from our spiritual beliefs can only be useful if they include the whole of the world. Tough undertaking for sure. (John)

    I disagree. Why does it have to be all or nothing? Perhaps sometimes it is good enough for the world that something is useful for me but not you or good enough for the world that something is useful for you but not me? Do we even always know what falls into the categories of only useful to me or useful to the world?

    I would say it’s just another tension. For me the world was created – I am but dust and ashes.

    Jason,
    You know how it is in Judaism, only the person wronged can grant atonement for sins between between people. This makes murder the only sin for which a person cannot receive atonement since obviously the person from whom you would receive atonment is dead and incapable of giving it. With adultery both parties are still alive so there is the possibility. That doesn’t mean it will be easy or even that it will happen, but just that it is a possibility. Ah, the words are so easy to type….

  6. “With adultery both parties are still alive so there is the possibility. That doesn’t mean it will be easy or even that it will happen, but just that it is a possibility” (Yael)

    I am thinking of running this question by a rabbi – because I think it makes sense – even in the matter of adultery (me speaking as the wronged party wanting to be back on equal footing). It’s not a matter of revenge – but a matter of knowing that the perpetrator is sorry for their ‘indiscretion’ and wants to make things right.

    Here is where this all came from:

    The other day I noticed I keep holding what my wife did over her head – and for me – I am starting not to like this. What bothered me most was all the sacrifices and time I put into to ‘win’ her back and to develop this love again – and all has went very well. However, I feel like she got a ‘free pass’ for something so disastorous it could’ve ended us and still sticks in my craw like a mofo. I realized I can forgive her – but I cannot get back to equality in the marriage – and that now may be worse.

    So I looked into this idea of atonement and I realized I saw an answer – to most of these probems – sacrifice. In my attempt to win my wife back I ‘over sacrificed’ in comparison to her side and felt that which was ‘sacred’ was taken. Answer? Her to sacrifice something as valuable to her – in sanctity and meaning. What did I come up with? The trip to Greece we are taking – me backing out and her spending 3 weeks in Greece with just family (oddly enough she seperated for 3 weeks also).

    How is this atoning and equal? She loses that which is most important to her for 3 weeks and see’s what it is like to be seperated from the person they actually ‘do love at the time’! It puts her to the test concerning trust and dealing internally with what has happened. It also takes the most sacred thing she can offer and breaks it – this trip is huge to her – very meaningful…but in the end…can she still love me?

    Not saying I am going to do this (she does not like this idea) – but it makes a lot of sense to evening the playing field.

  7. I’m not preaching but don’t forget about your part in getting the relationship to the point that adultery happened. The adulterous act is just a symptom of the disease which you helped create. I don’t agree that atonement is about make each other “sacrifice” or “pay” to level the playing field. I believe it is about grace, not demanding the payment of which you speak, offering forgiveness and a clean slate without demanding something in return. In the end, that is what Christ’s action on the cross was about, not demanding payment of us. I realize Yael will have a completely different take on that from her purely Jewish perspective, and I’m not trying to step in with an offensive message, but that is what I see as traditionally at the heart of the Christian perspective.

  8. “I’m not preaching but don’t forget about your part in getting the relationship to the point that adultery happened. The adulterous act is just a symptom of the disease which you helped create” (Doug)

    I am inclined to agree – a lot of this was on me – so my changes needed to be made – for what I was responsible for…but I cannot change what I am not responsible for – the actual act of adultery. Now adultery occured – but at what point am I responsible for someone else’s use of their body with my actions? In some ways that is almost going too far in the blame in the symptoms.

    “I don’t agree that atonement is about make each other “sacrifice” or “pay” to level the playing field. I believe it is about grace, not demanding the payment of which you speak, offering forgiveness and a clean slate without demanding something in return.” (Doug)

    I have tried this Doug – and something is not going away – regardless of my love for this women – the betrayal was not a ‘mistake’. Mentally that is very tough to get over – and the fact something sacred was betrayed quite brashly (not just once mind you) while I was broken is also not going away. Some things take time to heal – or maybe they don’t ever heal without real atonement for bpth sides actions?

    I never gave my wife the right to committ that action – nor did I push her to committ that action – that’s one she bares – not me. However, regardless of her doing of that I also have to live with that since I took her back. It’s the living with it part that is rough to do – I feel very wronged even after all the changes I have made. I agree she deserves a clean slate – but without trying/repentance?

    Also trust has been betrayed and broken. No one wrote a rule book on how this comes back – for many it never does – and I don’t want that for me. So I seek an avenue that can make the situation right/level again. Am I punishing her for her sins? All I want is something I may not be able to have back – that sacredness that was shared.

    It’s 2 people knowing 2 different things and experiencing 2 different actions at the moment of the betrayal(s)…and now it is still left uneven – one was a victim and one was a perp. Adultery is not an easy one to deal with – which is why I forbid such an idea from the beginning of my relationship – but alas – it is done.

    Why atonement? If I had never changed and she came back – I can admit even terms. But when she first cheated I forgave a ‘mistake’ and then she seperated and did it all over again – in the midst of me making changes (she did not believe me). So yes, I can forgive – but mistakes need to be made right.

  9. Yeah, Jason. Tough stuff. Really tough stuff. And I haven’t been through this so can only comment as an observer about what I think I would do, and that is a bit cheap on my part. I’m not meaning to make light of your situation at all. I know it probably feels like death. But it seems to me that to demand payment of some sort is a slippery slope. Can the playing field really be leveled? Is a trip equal to sexual fidelity? Hardly. You may say that you will make it be equal. Well if you can do that then, why not do it now? What if you find that it isn’t enough, that you need more? What then? I don’t know how to tell you to be able to forgive and not demand payment? My wife is much like you. She wants people to pay. She wants justice. I don’t feel a need for that so much, and I think it is partly who we are as different people mixed in with those events from our pasts that have shaped us. Even in the terrorism/torture debate, I don’t feel a need for those guys to pay. I just want us to be able to prevent it from happening again. I’ll be praying for you and remembering you in this, Buddy.

  10. I think there is some misunderstanding of Jewish teachings on atonement. Sacrifice was for the purpose of atoning for unintentional sins against God. Sacrifices had nothing to do with taking care of intentional sins against another person. That is something that has to be worked out person to person, on whatever terms are acceptable to both parties. The guilty party doesn’t get a free pass from God. And to perhaps claim that all wrongs are equal is to add injury to an already injured person.

    I think, Jason, perhaps people like you and I must look to the history of our people to find our answers. So many wrongs committed against us yet we remain, we go on living life, some how, some way, we get up and see the beauty of a sunrise, hear the peace of the wind through the trees. We come from people who understand being trampled down and despised, yet who never gave up or gave in. How did we do this?

    You know in Torah it says ‘eye for an eye’ but you also know by now that the literal reading is not even logical Previous post. If you skip out of Greece to give your wife an eye for an eye that would be a sad thing for both of you. As your older sister I will tell you flat out, don’t even entertain the thought.

    I don’t know if you will find a rabbi to talk with, Jason. This is a tough thing you are asking, you know what I mean? Like if I were to show up and want to talk with one of your elders about my personal problems. Both of our peoples are small groups who already have so much to take care of just with what we already have. Perhaps it’s kind of sad that this is the way it is, but I would feel guilty if I didn’t at least caution you that this talking to a rabbi may not happen for you right now. Tough for me to write this because I know some will just use this as one more reason to consider themselves superior in every way…..

    It seems to me perhaps it’s time for you to find a good secular marriage counselor. I say secular because I see you as someone who needs to be able to add in the religious component in your own way, not in someone else’s.

    And now let me go out on a limb a bit. I think Jason, you have to be able to do something concrete yourself, in joint venture with your wife. I’m still waiting for you to start inviting those troubled youths of your community into your home to hang out in safety and learn from your wisdom. If you and your wife worked together on something really hard, something that consumed you and your energy, I think you’d both find the answer. I know, it’s a tough thing I suggest and you have the right to something else. But, if your wife were to grovel at your feet and you could figuratively stomp her into the ground would that really give you anything of value? But, if you see the two of you as a valuable team, together making your world better, might not that be an atonement for you both?

  11. Jason

    Have you guys discussed therapy. Sounds to me like you need to hash out some stuff, I think someone to help you mediate might be prudent. Also, you might want to look at your actions prior to her going out and having that affair. It could be that you checked out emotionally long before she did physically. It seems to me, emotional disconnect is much more powerful for women and physical disconnect is bigger for men. I think you both probably need to “atone” for stuff.

  12. okay.. i’m going to play the grace card here and really screw things up.

    “Then after that we can move in fairness and equality I think…making things right.” -Jason

    i really don’t think atonement really has anything to do with fairness and equality. rarely if ever are things fair and equal in our world. but only out of love can we forgive anyway. to be reconciled means i must give up my victimization and my sense of being wronged and ask forgiveness. “Forgive them father for they do not know what they do” or Job in the ashes or even all the prophets crying out that they sinned and asking forgiveness… even though the prophets didn’t, they were clear, but their sense of sin was corporate and they were implicated. and they knew God would forgive them and keep the covenant with Israel.

    Jay…. you’ve already modeled this thought with your wife and how you’ve spoken of your marriage here. you could have played victim, you can continue to hold it over your wife’s head.. but that’s not reconcilation nor would any true healing take place.

    grace is a frack’n hard concept to understand because it goes against all of our notions of justice and fairness… but it’s not fair. not in the least. and that’s what makes it so wonderful when we receive it.

  13. This is why I blog – for anyone that ever wants to know – read the last 4 comments from 4 different people (all in the canon) – and you can see why there is wisdom in multiple counsellors!

    “What if you find that it isn’t enough, that you need more? What then? I don’t know how to tell you to be able to forgive and not demand payment?” (Doug)

    Good point – something I need to persue much deeper. I have thought about this – is my thirst quenched with what I am asking – it seems like it might be – but then again I might say ‘its not enough’. Being wronged is a tough one to deal with – for sure – and no amount of counsellors can change what happened – but maybe it’s just my focus that needs to change?

    Like your wife Doug – justice is a good thing (not to be frowned upon). But you are right – justice for what and how much? This is where the struggle begins. Grace just seems cheap to me – I hate to say that but I kinda feel that way.

  14. “The guilty party doesn’t get a free pass from God. And to perhaps claim that all wrongs are equal is to add injury to an already injured person” (Yael)

    True – and this is where some of my argumentation on this topic begins. I am not doing it out of spite (for all to hear) – but out of legitimate questioning. I am the hurt person in the scenario – re-living it blows just as bad – but maybe my focus is screwy? But how can on not wonder – can this occur again? 8 years of trust – broken in a few stupid actions.

    “If you skip out of Greece to give your wife an eye for an eye that would be a sad thing for both of you. As your older sister I will tell you flat out, don’t even entertain the thought.” (Yael)

    My wife will be proud to hear this (lol). But you may be right – the thought is interesting and for me does make wrong the rights (in thought) – but maybe it is too big a sacrifice and isn’t fair to her? But I get it – in my head I can hear this sentence all the time.

    “It seems to me perhaps it’s time for you to find a good secular marriage counselor” (Yael)

    Thanks for the idea – but at $100.00 a pop per session – I will pass. It’s not that they don’t do good work – they do – but no counsellor can change the past (that’s really on me to deal with).

    “And now let me go out on a limb a bit. I think Jason, you have to be able to do something concrete yourself, in joint venture with your wife…But, if you see the two of you as a valuable team, together making your world better, might not that be an atonement for you both?” (Yael)

    Good point – new perspective for me to consider more in depth…a thought I had entertained on previous occasions. Maybe this is real atonement – maybe falling in love is real atonement – all I know is it is the dirrection I want to go – but having these hiccups is part of the process…hurt is hurt and sometimes it comes up to remind us.

  15. “It could be that you checked out emotionally long before she did physically. It seems to me, emotional disconnect is much more powerful for women and physical disconnect is bigger for men. I think you both probably need to “atone” for stuff.” (John)

    Agreed – I admit to that fully…thus the reason for changes in my life to improve the areas I was lacking in. I think maybe the current problem is more in me than in her – to be perfectly honest – its all in my head and in thoughts. The emotional disconnect did happen and was causal to this event – yet I can’t help but feel it did not cause all the actions on her behalf. I will not take ownership for someone else’s mistakes – or maybe I should?

    But you are right – the physical disconnect is the huge barrier in my mind. I always have to wonder ‘why’ someone that claims this love for you would or could act in such a manner? I always ask myself ‘ did I deserve this’? If I say ‘yes’ than no problem – if I say ‘no’ then it leaves questions. I also wonder why someone would play so callously with their body – was it even an issue for her? I know for me it would be an issue if I did it – it would be rather reckless and proof of deeper thoughts. Either way – it’s just a bunch of questions in which I will have to settle for mystery.

  16. Jason

    A good tandem of books that might interest you.

    For women only & For men only………..Jeff and Shaunti Feldhahn. They are an easy read. Some very simple stuff that is very applicable.

  17. “grace is a frack’n hard concept to understand because it goes against all of our notions of justice and fairness… but it’s not fair. not in the least. and that’s what makes it so wonderful when we receive it.” (Luke)

    It really is about that line of justice and fairness – fairness is me cheating back – but even in that I cannot make the same event happen the same way it happened to me – making it unjust and unfair all over again. That’s why cheating was never an answer for me – although I got close – it wasn’t going to be the answer to the way I felt.

    For me, it’s a matter of trying to teach someone the ‘loss’ you felt – to teach an empathy that cannot be fully understood. I don’t want to her to lose – but to win in the end with this idea…but to think reconciliation is easy is just to not think about it.

    However, it’s an idea that will have to wait I think – until I have to model it in someway – it’s quite incomprehensible. So for now, I will settle for grace & forgiveness – even if they do not fully get across what they need to – because from the beginning they have been there – and they are concepts people have come to expect (the norm).

    What I find interesting is this idea of atonement and how foreign a concept it is. People are not use to fighting for something anymore – and why would they be – with everything in this society being all too convenient and ‘sin’ being a part of the norm in society (cheating is almost accepted as the norm) – to make up for that is not really an option people would consider. But I do. But i know what it means to fight for something also.

  18. OMG I learn SO much from all of you and if I didn’t have this blasted project for school hanging over my head I’d SO get in this convo!
    Luke, honey, I don’t know HOW you do it!
    Bless you all!!

  19. Jason,
    I thought you guys had universal health care? Isn’t counselling part of health care? My health insurance covers 20 mental health visits per year for each of us and we also have some free services through my company. And of course I also get free consultations at my other job, from two rabbis no less….Yes, no one can change the past, but I have found great value in having someone who for many years has been helping people learn to live life in spite of everything listen to me and give me wise counsel. Anyway, I just tossed in my 2 cents as a friend to be taken or left.

  20. We got free health care – but counselling is not included in that – however my wife used her benefits and now mine for counselling sessions. I could go – but what the hay…it just aint my thang. It’s good and sound advice though – don’t get me wrong – and I agree with it…just not at this moment. I can always use more cash – 2 cents – lol. Thanks for the advice!

  21. it just aint my thang. It’s good and sound advice though – don’t get me wrong – and I agree with it…just not at this moment.(Jason)

    Spoken like a survivor, a tough guy. I get that mentality, some days I wish I didnt. 😦

  22. might i suggest a Jungian counciler.. if you can find one that is.. they are deep and twisted enough to keep you interested 😉

    i didn’t respond well to therapy until i landed with a Jungian and i can’t say enough about it. therapy, like all things, can’t be generalized but must be researched and entered into like a relationship. and isn’t it interesting that this relationship will largely be about our other ones? 😉

  23. “Spoken like a survivor, a tough guy. I get that mentality, some days I wish I didnt” TFT

    Wouldn’t we all rather really live. I mean really live. Than just survive. (This has to be my shortest comment ever)

  24. Well, surviving to be able to live is a good thing. But, just hanging out at the survival stage surely does seem like a waste of life.

    Luke, agree with you there, friend. Finding the right person for therapy takes some work. Then it all shifts to becoming the right person.

    BTW, John, one person’s tough guy is often another person’s wuss. 😛

  25. I actually do support counselling – my wife attends sessions that I think have done a lot for her and the way she deals with issues now – has been quite good for her. So it’s not that I don’t agree – I just dont see the need.

    I have been thinking about this ‘atonement’ thing again – for some reason – and I realize that as much as I want to think I am ‘wrong’ on this one (the sin making the playing field unlevel) – I am not – there is no 2 ways about that…it has been unleveled and leveling it is a must.

    I think the talk about forgiveness and grace is not deep enough to recognize a process like atonement is just that – forgiving and graceful – to both sides…allows a wrong to be made right and buried. Withouth this level of justice to even the scales again – with no atoning – I am not sure anything is truly accomplished with ‘words’. Let someone off the hook so they can forget the severity of their actions? It happens day in day out in this society.

    Plus I cannot get past the fact I may have an awesome ‘idea’ that if played out – may make things right/even/fair. In my head this aint going away – this betrayal and the work I have put in to save something so valauble someone else threw away so brashly (I guess one persons gold is another persons garabage). Now I am feeling like the person holding onto something with less value than I thought it contained.

    Why? What has truly been accomplished when one worked so hard and sacrificed all he could for the other who has only been a recipient? Sorry – no matter how how I weigh that one out I see complications and mentally it’s just not easy to step around and ignore. And it got harder once I learned about this concept – because it makes sense to a situation I have to accept makes ‘no sense’. And I like sense.

    You know – I just might ruin my marriage – very possible. But what was lost and gained is really up for debate here – should all the sacrifice for someone that cheated and cannot make sense of that time be just ‘forgiven’ and ‘forgotten’? She broke the one cardinal rule I layed out since the very beginning of this relationship and knew it verbatim when she let me know what happened…some things are just a bit bigger than simple forgiveness – they just require more.

    Im silly – I know – to want to even this out. But I am slowly falling out of love with this girl because of this sole issue. She really is absolutely terrific – but to me ‘she was’. I see the way I look now and the way I am treated by others – and I know my value and what I am capable of – these things she ‘cast off’ and it’s hard to forget something like that…somehow it’s demeaning (in the sense that I am less of value with her).

    But it really comes down to me asking for something she cannot do. Yet I am asking for sacrifice – as I have done – for equality in that sense also. Something in me has become unquenchable.

  26. Jason

    If you were a friend in person I would have some choice words for you. I feel your pain and confusion.

    Something in me has become unquenchable.(Jason)

    There is a word for this, its called Revenge.

    You may not see it but it is painfully clear from my point that you have issues that need to be dealt with and unfortunately it wont be your wife that has the answer. The reason counselling is important is exactly made clear by everything you have said in this post. You just dont see it yet. You will one day, with or without your marriage intact.

    I dont pray for others very often, but I will pray that you find peace.

  27. well here’s the thing.. grace isn’t about forgiving and forgetting nor about leveling the scales nor is it even about ignoring the fact that the scales aren’t level! grace is about resurrection! what was once dead now lives and it isn’t what it was!

    “God in Jesus didn’t prevent sinners from sinning, he went around forgiving them right and left. If we want to represent him, we shouldn’t misrepresent his methods. We should instead busy ourselves with the twin jobs of forgiveness and healing — with, in short, the Gospel work of raising the dead by laying down our lives for our friends.

    The world is not a collection of good listeners waiting for the right advice to come down the track; it’s a bunch of corpses totally immune to talk. Its resurrection is not in the least facilitated by a surgeon-general’s warning that sin should have been avoided in the first place.” (Robert Capon) it’s about finding peace and love within a world that is skewed. right now, you’re feeling askew. gotta find a way to make peace with that and the unquenchableness has been rightly named by John. even if you found a way to “level the scales” you wouldn’t be satisfied dawg.

    now i’m in no way shape or form trying to tell ya what to do.. just trying to give some perspective. i’m pray’n and supporting y’all how i can. thanks for being open and i hope this helps in some way.

  28. oh.. and to answer the question “What good are words?” in Genesis, all God had to do was speak to create and order the cosmos. words have power! if they didn’t, i wouldn’t be in the business i’m in.

  29. Jason. Email me your address. I wan’t to send you a short video that I just watched with my boys last weekend. It may help. It may not. If not, throw it out or give it to someone else you think may want it.

  30. Maybe it is as simple as me wanting revenge – or maybe it is as simple as a girl thinking she can have grace whenever?

  31. but who made the first offer of grace? while she was but a sinner, you said you wanted to continue the relationship and “save” it regardless of what she had done because there was blood on your hands too. now you’re having second thoughts on this… but the grace had already be extended and accepted.

    this is just my limited view from what i’ve read on here… i know it doesn’t get at the complexities or the personalities.. if there is an arrogance or a “I don’t need to atone for my actions” mentality from stace.. that’s not helpful. but neither is looking for constantly sorrowful and repentant one either.

  32. Good points Luke – I did make those decisions and maybe I felt grace came ‘cheap’? Maybe forgiveness is a bigger process than I at first realized (and it truly is).

    However, atonement and reconciliation have again won the day – we have something planned (or she does) that will help make this feel like we ‘both fought for this relationship’…and although I am kind of proud at times – I will accept this favor as part of the condition of reconciliation…judging myself and my own situation – what a creep I am (lol).

  33. Well all is well – I just have to be real about the fact I am ‘here’ (present tense) and not in there (past tense). And things have been broken – but can be repaired – things have changed – some for the good…outlook is kind of up. I just need to take away the idea of holding anything over my wife’s head…journey started.

    However, my wife is going to something I also find quite liberating for both of us – she is going to do things to make me know she is ‘fighting for me’ (over 26 days) – the same amoount of time I started with in my changes…and I am comfortable with that (a little uncomfortable in that I hate getting things – lol).

  34. I guess it is time for me to speak. I feel a little bit shy and awkward and usually never blog or comment. The reason for this is because…((confession))… I am not a great writer, you will witness this to be true as you continue reading. I am making changes in my life, so this is something different – commenting on a blog that has everything to do with me and the sins I have committed against my marriage and my loved one. Some people might find it disturbing to see an entire blog written about them and the wrongs they made, but I do not feel that way. I am guilty of a sin and want to face it, doing whatever it takes to atone, in hopes that I can save my marriage.

    I am deeply in love with Jason. He is beautiful inside and out. A man with high regard for moral and ethic. A friend to all. He has either ‘been there’ or ‘done that’, which helps him to understand situations, never passing judgment. Jason’s aura shines bright and people love to be around him. This is the man I married. This is the man I almost gave up. This is the man that I will fight to win back with everything I got.

    Jason did not just simply forgive me. He went out of his way to fight for me and show me his love in ways I never imagined possible. Where was my faith? His forgiveness is a blessing but everything inside of me is saying I need to fight. I need to show him that his efforts are not (and never will be) taken for granted. I need to show the man that I love that I am true, honest and worthy of his love and affection.

    I am devoting 26 days to the love of my life. 26 days that I so carelessly took away from him, from us. Sacrifice, perseverance and faith – this will never stop but will be in ‘over time’ (if you will) until May 30, 2009. I want to try and give back some of the days I took away – if possible. I want to show Jason that I am capable of changing. I want to shower him with surprise after surprise after surprise (even though he “hates getting things”) I know that I can give him what he is looking for and I know I can make him happy again. I also know that this ain’t no small task, as Jay Bird ain’t no simple ordinary man.

    I am keeping positive for the best outcome. The ultimate goal is for Jason to feel that our relationship is on somewhat of an even ground. That the woman he married is the same women he still wakes up to every single beautiful day. If Jason is not completely happy then neither am I – I pray that this attitude is something we can both carry together for the rest of our lives. But for now it is on me.

    So for friends (& some family) to see and read I’ll say – I love you very much Jason Bird. You are the man for me! I carry you in my heart every minute of every day. You deserve nothing but the best and you will receive nothing but the best. Thank you for you forgiveness and thank you for giving me another chance. I won’t let you down.

    Stacy J. Bird

  35. Well, it’s ironic that your last name is “Bird” because I am thinking of a Phoenix, out of the ashes and rising to new heights. Stacy, that is awesome. Jason, it looks like you already have what you want.

  36. I like how my wife (Stacy) says ‘she’s a bad writer’ then puts together a great piece of writing with much clarity…better than most writing I see on blogs (lol)…including mine.

    As for the Phoenix thing – her real name is anastacia – in greek meaning – resurrection…for more irony.

  37. the ressurrected bird!

    Stacy you are wonderful! thanks for visiting on here and it’s nice to hear your side of the story. i hope you see that there is no condemnation here, only support for your collective journey with Jay. prayers for you both! RAWKx10!!

  38. Stacy

    You are showing everybody on here, that “Love is not a feeling, but an action”
    Kudos to you guys. I hope you both continue to Love each other. And when one stumbles I hope the other picks up the slack. 🙂

    Best wishes
    John & Denise

  39. Which comment should I delete John – one went into spam accidently? LOL

    Oh yeah – Stace also has a tattoo of a phoenix on her shoulder (blade?)…as she let me know last night.

  40. Jay,

    Just my take on this. I have read everything you have said and I know your pain. Pat (remember him?) cheated on me and I took him back and dealt with that pain, too. It is difficult and at times can feel like a razor across your heart. Times that would be spent before connecting with your partner with love are tainted by loud thoughts of “Why” and I know the injustice of it all can be overwhelming…
    You and Stace are married. There can be no denying what she did was wrong. She knows this and from her post and even the fact that she returned to you, it demonstrates that she returned to try and recapture what was between you before. Her cheating was a symptom of things gone wrong between you two- she was trying to fill her needs that were left unfulfilled by you, her husband. I am not saying that she went about getting those needs filled the right way, but think back- did she try and approach you, talk to you before she cheated, and did those words fall on deaf ears?
    Again, this does not excuse her from her behavior, but I think it may help to consider what a marriage is and what it is not. Marriage is a joining of 2 lives, 2 people’s separate journey’s who enjoy each other and vow to be there for each other through thick and thin. If you admit checking out emotionally, you have BOTH broken your marriage vows. This is in the past and has been done. If you want to move forward TOGETHER, you both need to heal, as what you have been through is traumatic for both of you. You have both taken serious blows to your self esteem. You need to be friends- BEST friends to each other. Although the cry for justice inside you is loud, Jason, this is where the true metal of your commitment will be tested… A marriage is not a court of law, nor should it be. No matter what the bible says about atonement, I must remind you what it says about love… I know you will know it- Corinthians ring any bells? No marriage can survive without love, and if you value your marriage, I suggest that you do what you can to silence your “dark side” and move towards the light. Otherwise, you will get through it, it just might not be together. Best wishes to both of you…
    Love,
    Ang

  41. Ang G?? Ang from Van City?? Ang!!! Hey 🙂 long time no talk. Thanks for the taking time to comment. Means a lot. There is no doubt (I think I can speak for Jay as well) that we will get through this together – as husband and wife. It’s no easy task but I am 100% sure and have a lot of faith in us. The fight for redemption is alive and strong – and we will never give up!

    Love you too my friend,

    Stacy J. Bird

  42. “Just my take on this. I have read everything you have said and I know your pain. Pat (remember him?) cheated on me and I took him back and dealt with that pain, too” (Ang)

    Where is Pat now? Did you remain together? If not, why not? Was it this infidelity that caused a horrible rift that could not be mended?

    “You and Stace are married” (Ang)

    I have to be technical on this issue – what is marriage then? What is the greatest thing a couple can share in a marriage? Do you think any of that is ‘sacred’?

    ‘did she try and approach you, talk to you before she cheated, and did those words fall on deaf ears?” (Ang)

    I would say ‘yes’ – in many regards. But did I ever ‘hit’ this woman? Did I ever physically abuse this woman in some manner? What she did was ‘physical’ in nature – she can emotionally torment me until pigs learn to fly – men don’t see this situation that way (part of the disconnect going on).

    As for this emotional argument – well what is an emotion…is it physical or the pre-requisite to a physical action? What did I do so bad that caused her to emotionally walk out and into another person’s life/bed? Heck – this all seems one-sided to me if you ask me…I get blamed for 8.5 years of marriage and she walks scott free? If she is right I’ll leave right now – if 8.5 years sucked that bad – I will leave because there was nothing but some imagination to defend.

    ” If you admit checking out emotionally, you have BOTH broken your marriage vows” (Ang)

    I don’t admit to breaking my vows – none of them. My vows weren’t made at my marriage but when we first met…and I made it pretty clear the one thing I would not stand for at all (ie: me or her cheating). Now although there is some truth to me being emotionally uninvolved – this isn’t just my fault – no it takes 2 to get there in a relationship. I took her for granted – true – but I also know that many convo’s we had ended in useless banter…so I stopped arguing. Did I make it better? No. But since when was I the partner that had to be solely responsible for that?

    “A marriage is not a court of law, nor should it be” (Ang)

    True – but it is in a way also (remember raising kids with guidlines and rules). We are better than the courts – we judge ourselves so as to never end up in a court.

    “No matter what the bible says about atonement, I must remind you what it says about love… I know you will know it- Corinthians ring any bells?” (Ang)

    Agreed. It’s not that I don’t love her – it’s just messed up now. Your idea about the question of ‘why’ – sometimes that rings louder than love. But in the end healing begins where questions stop…and answers remain unknown.

    “suggest that you do what you can to silence your “dark side” and move towards the light. Otherwise, you will get through it, it just might not be together”

    You are right about this.

  43. “Where is Pat now? Did you remain together? If not, why not? Was it this infidelity that caused a horrible rift that could not be mended?” (Jay)

    Pat is married to someone else. We did not remain together because there were serious issues there (his abusiveness when he drank) and yes, the fact tht the trust had been blown. I wanted to go to counselling with him and see if an alternate perspective could help us resolve issues, reconnect, and find a path we could walk together happily. He agreed that I needed counselling, but he refused to go himself because there was “nothing wrong with him.” I ended up leaving because I couldn’t handle living like that any more- not when it was the rest of my life at stake.

    “I have to be technical on this issue – what is marriage then? What is the greatest thing a couple can share in a marriage? Do you think any of that is ’sacred’?” (Jay)
    Many might say it is sex, or the physical, or the body, but I disagree. I believe the greatest thing a couple can share in a marriage is intimacy. Intimacy can be expressed physically, true, but it can also be enjoyed by knowing the little nuances of your partner, having somebody that you can talk to about your littlest fears and insecurities and who will hear you and accept you and comfort you when you need comforting. I thnk trust must be intact to properly share intimacy, but that the trust can be broken many ways. In a nutshell, I would say a marriage is two people who agree to always play on the same team, together. I would say that, in all it’s various forms, is sacred.
    I have to run to work now, but I will certainly address the rest of this when I get a moment. I hope that you two are doing well and that you are each finding forgiveness for each other in yolur hearts. In the meantime, be adults and treat each other with care. I think that failing to do that is what got you guys into this in the first place.
    Hugs,
    Ang

  44. I have given a bit more thought to your question “What is marriage?” Marriage is in itself one of the most difficult undertakings a person can enter into, and also, I am sure, potentially one of the most beautiful. I would like the opportunity to paraphrase my earlier statement into this: “Marriage is 100% commitment to each other in all aspects of life. ” And yes, I think it is sacred as a whole.

    Now, to continue on…

    “I would say ‘yes’ – in many regards. But did I ever ‘hit’ this woman? Did I ever physically abuse this woman in some manner? What she did was ‘physical’ in nature – she can emotionally torment me until pigs learn to fly – men don’t see this situation that way (part of the disconnect going on). ” (Jay)

    This is all true, but we should all be aware that emotional abuse is a recognised form of abuse in today’s society. I am certainly not alleging that you emotionally abused Stace, but merely acknowledging that this is a reality in today’s society and it’s consequences to the individual who suffers that alienation and lonliness are far reaching and can seriously erode one’s self-esteem. Even traditional vows provide recognition for this aspect… “Love, honour, and cherish.”: The trinity of these 3 must be present and if not focussed on, then at least a consideration at all times in order to give that 100% commitment you earlier asked if I hold sacred… Now I pose the same back to you… Do you still maintain that you have not broken any of those vows? The physicality of cheating is tangible and scarring, but I guarantee you the rest is not any less. You say that she can “emotionally torment you until the pigs come home,” but really, that is inaccurate. Stace caused you no physical harm in her infidelity. What that action HAS caused IS emotional torment… And so with the acceptance of that, it becomes evident that emotional torment comes from acts not directly physical towards the victim as well.

    “As for this emotional argument – well what is an emotion…is it physical or the pre-requisite to a physical action? What did I do so bad that caused her to emotionally walk out and into another person’s life/bed? Heck – this all seems one-sided to me if you ask me…I get blamed for 8.5 years of marriage and she walks scott free? If she is right I’ll leave right now – if 8.5 years sucked that bad – I will leave because there was nothing but some imagination to defend.” (Jay)
    I think I have delved into this a bit already, but there are still some things to say here. I believe that defining an emotion will not help here. It may be another question for another time. We all have them (with the exception of psychopaths) and we are all aware of how they can affect our actions in both negative and positive ways. You asked what you did that was so bad that caused her to turn to another man. You did not do ANYTHING to cause that. Stacy made that choice after she decided that she was not happy in the marriage. And that is the heart of 2 very separate issues that get viewed as one without clarity: Her leaving, and her infidelity. It would have been healthiest for her to have taken time alone to heal herself and reconnect with the things that Stacy was missing, the needs that went unfulfilled that influenced her decision to step out. As for why she felt the need to leave, well, the answer may not be in one succinct answer, but my guess would be that it was cumulative. We all know that people drift apart and the onus is on us as individuals to take responsibility in our relationships and show those that we value exactly how valued they are. You were Jay Bird, living Jay Bird’s life and when Stacy needed to feel cherished and valued, you may have chosen other routine things (like partying, video games, sports, or whatever else you like to do) to fill your time, thus sending a message that she was not valued in the relationship. Even saying this, I do not agree with or condone her decision to go straight to another man. In your shoes, I would be very disappointed and extremely hurt as well.
    I apologize if this seems one sided. I can assure you it is not. The position I have to take in this forum is one of both sides. Feeding your anger and pain by agreeing with what you state without pointing out alternative points of view would not be healthy for you, and as your friend I would be derelict if I were to do so. I am working under the information that you want to save your marriage, and this is why this commentary is geared to give both of you pause for thought. You say that “you get blamed and she walks scot free.” Do you really believe this? Do you really think that she is so much more priveldged than the rest of us that she doesn’t account to herself internally for the things that she has done wrong in her life, for those she has hurt? Do you think she is that cold and calculating? She gets the “I sin free” card in Heavenopoly? No way sir. This woman has been my friend for years and I know how she internalizes guilt and turns in on herself and blames herself and kicks herself for her own mistakes- then she puts on her “it’s okay” face to the world and tries to continue on. You have been her husband for 8.5 years… Are you telling me that you don’t know this about her? Stacy needs a shoulder the most when she says she doesn’t need anyone to help her through, and it has always been that way. This doesn’t make you solely responsible for this, not at all. She is an adult and needs to learn to grow to where she can reach out for what she needs. This being said, you did marry Stacy exactly the way she was, and I think it is important that you understand her personal journey. It hasn’t been an easy one, and that started long before you even knew her. As a partner, we have to respond to the person we love, not what we want them to be or how we think they should be. These are words that are not solely for you Jay, but also for Stacy, in case you are again feeling that this is sounding one-sided.

    “True – but it is in a way also (remember raising kids with guidlines and rules). We are better than the courts – we judge ourselves so as to never end up in a court. ” (Jay)
    Adults raise children- adults do not raise other adults. Also, we judge OURSELVES so as not to end up in court, but this does not say we judge each other… Anytime we pass judgement on another, we lose the opportunity to understand “Why?” and then we lose the growth opportunities that arise from that knowledge we have just passed up. Also, when you judge somebody else, you are basically saying that you have a greater right on this Earth to decide how things should and shouldn’t be done. It can be a very fine line between having an opinion or a belief and passing a judgement, and the two play out very differently in attitude and action…

    “Agreed. It’s not that I don’t love her – it’s just messed up now. Your idea about the question of ‘why’ – sometimes that rings louder than love. But in the end healing begins where questions stop…and answers remain unknown.” (Jay) This was the hardest part for me in coping with infidelity… That screaming “Why!?!” that seemed to slant every moment I spent with Pat for some time after it happened. I blamed all the bad times thereafter on what he had done, and I couldn’t truly enjoy the good times because I choked on the fact that he had spent time with someone else and wondered mostly “If he loves me so much, where was the thought of me when he was doing that?” I was cruel to him at times, and he retaliated back at me. It was not pretty and it was not mature. It was war. I write this not to dredge up my past, but to illustrate how fragile the outcome can be and remind both of you that life has real consequence. Winning a war in a relationship is a hollow victory at best… You can win on principal, but if you lose the one you love, that celebration is more like a funeral. Jay, you are bound to have moments when you feel like you are about to burst and go crazy from the pain. I ask you in these moments to do your best to remember that Stacy is a human being who makes errors like all the rest of us. I love her dearly and hope that you will do you best to treat her with kindness even when you may feel that she deserves otherwise… I hope that she will do the same for you and that you 2 make and an extra effort to treat each other with courtesy and kindness right now, that you handle your disputes like adults- make a choice to love or leave, but don’t abuse each other in the process.

    I will pray for you both… Love you and miss you guys…
    Said sadly from Vancouver…
    Ang

  45. Hello to all. I think that speaking openly about our issues has been good. We like to read other people’s perspectives on the situation. It truly is a form of counseling in some ways.

    I need to state the following and ask that the comments remain to be diplomatic in nature. I don’t need any form of defense in the situation – nor do I deserve it. Jay and I both realize that it was both of us that added to the current situation. Truth be spoken – we had a good relationship going on for 8.5 years. We loved, we argued, we laughed, we played, we helped others, we drank ((and then some)), we were responsible at times and not so much at other times. Sometimes we were both in tune with each other, other times we both “checked out emotionally”. It was a real marriage from day one (May 5, 2000). It was the both of us that choose the other person to love, in good times and in bad. When Jay wrote about having checked out emotionally – it was a self admission – and should never be used as an excuse for why or what I did. The days of using that as some kind of defense ((on my part)) are dead and gone away.

    What I did was pure evil – the ultimate sin. I take responsibility for the way my husband is and was feeling. It’s a slow journey back to the top. There are now, so many emotions that have to be dealt with. A loss in self esteem, a loss of pride in someone who was once special – trust issues. Need I go on – this is the part that others can understand and relate to.

    Jay is a deep thinker. He loves to write about all sorts of issues and appreciates comments ((back and forth debating)). Jason opens up his mind to learn about the world around him. This is one of the things I love so much about him. This blog on atonement is no different. It is a platform for my husband to have his voice heard, to vent, to think and to learn. I take no offense to this blog. I do not feel like I have been attacked or condemned. I am thankful for the friends on this site who care enough to share their words of wisdom.

    I am fully willing to take whatever comes my way. Whatever I deserve – for the sin I have committed – I am willing to face. For every action, there is a consequence. I live everyday with strength to endure what comes my way and have faith that my marriage will survive. There is no other way around it. There is only one option for me – fight for the one you love with everything you have inside. We are both survivors – and look at everything positive we have accomplished together. Jay and I have both risen above a lot of obstacles starting individually from birth. There is no stopping us now.

    So again, thank you for all the wonderful comments. Please let them remain diplomatic. We both need friends who care in this time of our lives. It is not a competition of who hurt who the most or who did the most damage. This type of stuff does more to hinder rather than help our current relationship.

    I hope my comment is read with as much clarity as my first entry – as it’s already been a long day in the Human Services sector. Helping many others – when all that matters is my marriage and my wonderful husband – oh yes you are baby!!!

  46. I like love (lol)

    I think Ang has made some great points in all honesty – what I needed to hear (and hear some more) is the voice of those in the ‘victim’ role – that relate to the experience – and can share that – for some reason that is ‘soothing’. All the great arguments for living are made by living – remember that. Thanks Ang!

    I admit the flaws go both ways – from me to her – and then around again…i made my share of mistakes and helped cause the decline of the relationship (agreed!). But I can only atone/redeem what I have broken – and that’s what I do and still try to do…lately I have been giving up a little bit – but that’s only temporary.

    Do I know this woman? I hope not. I hope not in the sense I seen this one coming? Or I see this one never coming again? I cannot say either of those with clarity – the clarity I once contained is now gone. And maybe, in the end, that’s a damn good thing!

    But my problem stems from that ‘step too far over the line’…now I am not saying I didn’t step over the line – emotional withdrawl and what have you (neglect) – I agree there…but is that breaking a single vow? Maybe. But is it worse than breaking ‘that vow’?

    I think the problem with the cheating is not the emotionality of it (its effect on me in that regards) – but the actual event that happened. If she just sat around and talked with an old friend for hours month after month – cool beans – but that’s not what happened and what happened is much worse (who wouldn’t say that?).

    And yes, we are in the position to ‘judge’ – we all have to judge – including our own actions and what we do to others. Without the use of ‘judgment’ we really cannot do much – make a call this way or that way. I judge this situation – and I may be wrong in my perception – but these are the conclusions I have arrived at…as crappy as they get. Maybe I love being a damn victim? (Hate to say that but sometimes I wonder this)

    But I have to admit I have tasted the answer – the answer lies in hearing stories like mine and what other have done with the situation (the winners and the losers). I think it tastes like cool water to the soul. I am dealing with something I wished I knew nothing about – and now know too much about.

    But where does it all leave me? Were I started – with a bunch of words – and maybe that’s all I get as answers?

  47. I am glad that you see this for what it is. This is my expression on a situation I have also been through- my effort to relay firsthand knowledge of what it feels like, emotions and actions (that fall within the realm of human nature) that are provoked, and the effects they had on me and my relationship at the time. What I wish I had known at the time. I have been on both sides of this, been the winner, been the loser, been the victim, been the aggressor, etc… My experience is worthless if I choose not to learn from it, but it can become more valuable if I choose to share it and maybe within these lamentations and reasonings, you will find some grains to help you guys out. At the end of the day, I love you both and want the best for you. I know little of the bible, I know little of how you guys have lived day to day, being so far away. What I do know is that you guys are some of my dearest friends, and right or wrong, I feel that gives me some responsibility to offer up what I do know about. I was at your wedding, and there you both asked us, all your friends, to support you in your relationship together. This is my way of doing this. I can’t come have coffee, go for drinks, come play Rockband: I live too far away. What I can do is try to help you through this time, reminding you with simple words how valuable you each are and how each of you deserve the best. Incidentally Jay, I did get over Pat cheating on me. We had 3 years together after that happened, and 9 months of that time were the best 9 months he and I experienced together. The relationship ended when I left after he demonstrated an unwillingness on his part to resolve the issues between us that were provoking physical violence from him. It does go away Jay. If you truly want to know more about the pain, and if sharing in that will help, I have countless poems and musings that I wrote which I will gladly share with you. Just not here. I invite you to send me your email address if you are so inclined.
    Hugs to both of you,
    Ang

  48. “If you truly want to know more about the pain, and if sharing in that will help, I have countless poems and musings that I wrote which I will gladly share with you.” (Ang)

    Isn’t writing this stuff out such a cure! Man, I need to resume my writing (or song-writing) again – from pain comes much wisdom for some reason. I also find it very healing to do – helps me put it down in an artistic way that just cannot be related another way.

    “I know little of the bible…” (Ang)

    Living a theology (study of God) is not about that – experience plays a big part in meaning. Oddly enough, you’d be amazed at what Jeremiah wrote in Lamentations (a word you used) and Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes in times of pain and searching for hope. The same struggle continues – this time in another place, another time, and in other lives. Don’t need knowledge of the bible to converse on topics!

    Things always get better – I can believe that message of hope.

    Ain’t Stacy quite the writer? Who knew!

  49. LOL! Yeah, I knew… She has been prompted to write me things in the past, times I was in darkness and she certainly can put it down when she feels strongly about something! 🙂
    Writing is extremely theraputic and I return to it when I get “stuck.” When I find myself fixated on something, unable to wrench my thoughts from sadness or anger or jealousy or pain, I find my most trusty vehicle out of the doldrums to be my paper and pen. A close second would of course be through music…
    That being said, it is also wonderful to soar spiritually on paper and write things that convey exactly how uplifted I feel from time to time in this blessed life, with all it’s pain, and all it’s glory, and all the things that make my experience unique to me, those that enhance my essence and challenge my existence, and in the end it still boils down for me to a saying I coined a long time ago: Love is the orginal creative spark.

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