Theme of the Week: A Grace-Filled Marriage
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
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Key Bible Verse: Overlook an offense and bond a friendship; fasten on to a slight and—good-bye, friend! (Proverbs 17:9), The message Bonus Reading: Ephesians 4:32
Too often we see things that irritate us and we vilify our spouses. For instance, a man may believe that his wife doesn't want to have sex with him not because she's tired, but because she's a mean, withholding person.
When I write off my spouse's character as bad, I go beyond believing that she hasn't learned how to do something to considering her incapable of learning how. I say, "This isn't possible for you to do, and I cannot tolerate that in our relationship."
Scripture is filled with examples of how Christ believed the best of people. In the story of the woman caught in adultery who'd been brought to Jesus to be stoned (John 8:3-11), many assumed that she was a bad person. They refused to see any beauty in who she was.
How did Christ approach this, though? He said, "I don't condemn you. Go and stop doing what you're doing."
Did he say that what was unhealthy in her was tolerable? No. Sometimes what's going on in your spouse isn't tolerable, and extending grace doesn't excuse sin. But my job isn't to weed out what's not healthy in my spouse. God says, "Love her." Sometimes that's difficult; the way I can love her is by seeing the best of who she is.
—Michael Sytsma in Marriage Partnership
My Response: The next time I'm tempted to "vilify" my wife, I will take this positive action: …
Thought to Apply: Try praising your wife, even if it does frighten her at first.—Billy Sunday (evangelist)
Adapted from our sister publication Marriage Partnership (Fall/2008) by permission. All rights reserved by the copyright holder and/or the publisher. May not be reproduced. To read the entire article upon which this week's devotionals are based, go to intimatemarriage.org/grace.
Copyright © 2010 by the author or Christianity Today/Men of Integrity magazine.
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Prayer for the Week
Dear heavenly Father, your grace is great! Without it I am forever lost. Empower me to extend grace to my wife because you have extended immeasurable grace to me.
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