Think back with me, for a moment, to when you first met your spouse.
Do you remember those looks you exchanged from across a room? That smile that made the rest of your day awesome? How simply standing near them that made your heart beat a bit faster?
It seems that while we were dating we were on our best behavior. We used our manners, we were patient and understanding, we overlooked the other’s little quirks, and laughed at each others jokes.
The day of the wedding comes and we think this is as close to heaven as we can get.
We are excited to set up a home together and we walk around with hearts in our eyes.
As the honeymoon phase disappears so do the hearts in our eyes as we begin to see the reality of our lives; namely that we are married to a sinner. We can’t be on our best behavior all of the time and soon little quirks become annoying and faux pas turn into big deals.
This is when some whip out their notebooks or diaries and begin to keep a list of their spouse’s sins and shortcomings.
Shameful, right? But we all do it. We may not put pen to paper and physically write them down.
But we journal our husbands’ faults onto the pages of our hearts so we never forget.
Man does more harm to man than animals do to man. – Ralph Venning
Throw Away the Journal
It is usually the people closest to us that hurt us the most and in ways that we would never imagine.
And this goes both ways. We hurt those closest to us more than any other.
Living as husband and wife brings with it lots of blessings, laughter, joys, and fun, but it also harbors a darker side. The side where we say and do things that wound and tear down.
For some, keeping track of those hurts is a way to protect themselves while others use those remembered wounds as way to hurt back. It is a way to build up their debt against us and to make sure they somehow pay.
But this is not God’s way.
He does not keep an account of our wrong. He does not wait for a day where he can stick it to us. He does not throw our transgressions at us in a fit of anger.
God gives us mercy and grace. He forgives and then puts our sins from us. He helps us in our weakness and loves us dearly when we fail. He always wants our best and this should be our attitude towards our husbands.
We have to stop recording all the wrongs.
We must stop revisiting the sins of our husbands.
Our forgiveness must be total.
It is not enough to say that we forgive with our lips, but we must forgive in our hearts (Col 3:13). This means not bringing the offense up again, not holding it over the other’s head. This is one of the first steps in receiving freedom from the pain that was caused.
Forgiveness is hard and showing grace is impossible if we have not experienced the grace of God in our own lives first. The forgiveness and complete love God has for us becomes overwhelming when we understand the messiness of our hearts, the dishonor we show God, and the ungratefulness we exhibit towards Christ and his work.
This understanding is what allows us to throw away our journals and show grace and forgiveness to others, especially our spouses.
…bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. ~ Colossians 3:13