When it comes the the tumultuous and tricky realm of the heart, people often mask as Christian heroic love what is actually fundamentally selfish.
You know, the “spiritual” and “devout” guy who emotionally flirts with all the adoring girls in his biblestudy because he is “showing Christian love” (or worse “being Christ”) to them. Or the girl who stays in an abusive relationship (enabling the guy’s violence/abuse of her) and claims she is being “forgiving” and showing her boyfriend “Christian love.”
In both cases, it isn’t really love, because love does what is good for the other person. The flirting biblestudy leader isn’t helping the girls’ faith, he is taking advantage of their emotional religious feelings and breaking their hearts. And the battered woman is actually helping to destroy and damn the man she claims to love, by remaining in the relationship, and hence enabling him to be an (emotional and physical) abuser, rapist, and (quite possibly) eventual murderer. If she really loved him, she wouldn’t want him to be a rapist and a murderer, so she would get out and walk away. For his sake. They claim to have “Christian” love…. but what kind of love just makes yourself into a hero and destroys your alleged beloved?
That is not Christianity. It is actually just an excuse, for one’s own ego, one’s own sense of security, one’s own dysfunctional needs and psychological bonds.
Also, no one, absolutely no one, has the “right” to “atone” for their own “sins”. You are not a spotless lamb. Only the suffering of a spotless lamb can atone for sins, and that spotless lamb is Christ. NEVER NEVER NEVER even think that you should make yourself suffer for anything you did.
No one “deserves” abuse from a partner, no matter what they have done. Ever. You never “have to” marry someone, no matter what you’ve done. Do not make yourself suffer, do not let yourself be abused.
Do not try to “atone” for yourself.
We just have to follow Him.