Devotion #5

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”

Jeremiah 17:9-10

Grace in marriage begins here. It begins with the acknowledgment that the problem isn’t what’s happening outside of me; it’s what’s happening inside of me.

It’s hard to admit a problem we don’t see. The heart is deceitful above all things. In other words, our hearts hide our flaws from us. It literally lies to us, shielding us from seeing the truth about ourselves. Others can see our flaws quite well; in fact, they’re often magnified to our spouses, but we cannot see them because they are hidden. Our tendency toward self-focus allows us to justify our actions in such a way that we don’t see the wrong in them.

We convince ourselves that our anger tells us more about the broken people we do life with than it tells us about ourselves. We like to think our impatience tells us more about the poor planning or lack of character in the people we engage with than it does our hearts. We justify our sin by blaming it on the world around us, and our marriages take the brunt of it. The person we live with can become a target for our shifting blame.

Think about it: when we talk about what is wrong in our marriages, we have a tendency to point to other people – our spouses, our children, even our in-laws. It’s always someone else’s fault. Or we may point to a difficult situation – the fact that we were raised poorly, we’re not feeling well, some injustice we’ve had to live with, struggling finances. It’s always something or someone else’s fault. We never own the struggle is ours.

But the Bible is quite clear, my friends – we are all sinners, and we have all fallen short of the glory of God. I think sometimes we become so familiar with this verse that we slide right on past it without letting it hit the depth of our soul because it is easier to see the sin in others than acknowledge our own. WE are broken, sinful people. I am a broken, sinful person.

Our hearts are deceitful above all things. It will keep us pointing and looking at others or at difficult circumstances as a way to justify our sin – our anger, our fears, our despair, and our foolishness.

If your marriage is struggling, look inside instead of outside. Dig down inside your heart and uncover your own sins. What really causes your anger, your fears, your despair, or your foolishness? Own them, confess and repent them, and watch how it blesses your relationship.

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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