Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.Ephesians 4:31-32 ESV
In the business of our days, it’s easy to forget the mercy and grace that has been given to us by God. When we don’t spend time reflecting on the fact that He sent His Son to die for our sins so that we may enjoy His blessing of eternal life over the wrath that we truly deserve, it doesn’t impact our day. Even when we do spend time reflecting on it, the truth of what He has done can quickly get swept away in our busyness. We get distracted by what is in front of us, and our needs quickly take over our minds.
It’s this forgetfulness that causes so much of the relational strife in our marriages. When we fail to recognize that His mercies are new for us everyday, we fail to extend that mercy to our spouses. When we forget the grace and mercy that He has given to us, we become demanding and entitled, we focus on what others should be doing for us, and we think of ourselves as righteous. Our expectations for how our spouses should treat us become our focus. Our hearts grow calloused, and we focus on our spouses getting what they “deserve.” We are no longer moved by their struggles; we focus on their shortcomings instead.
When we remember the mercy and grace that our Lord Jesus Christ extends to us, our complaining is replaced with contentment and gratitude. When we remember we did nothing to deserve the blessings that He gives to us, we become gentle and humble, thankful and tender. Humility grows when we see our own desperate need for a Savior, and it is through this that we can begin to love others as ourselves.
So many of us see these verses as a list for how we should behave as Christians, so we get to work. We read it, and we think, “okay, I’m going to be less bitter and angry, and more tender and kind.” What we fail to realize in this determination to be a better person is that God never meant for that to be how we interpret His commands. He isn’t giving us a checklist for how to behave. The reality is in our own power, we will fail at this list every single time.
We find we are able to abide by this list when we allow His Spirit to work in us—not when we try to accomplish it in our own power. When we spend time reflecting on what He has done for us—how He has forgiven us, how His mercies are new every morning, then we begin to change how we see our spouses. When we are humbled by His great gift to us, then we can begin to see others as He does. Humility is where mercy for others begins to grow. Until we have been humbled by Him, it is impossible for us to extend His mercy to our spouses. When we are struggling to forgive them, when we are not extending mercy to them, we need to spend time on our knees, reflecting on the grace and mercy He has poured into our own life.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗