‘If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation…’ 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV
Here are three more steps to treating your spouse with grace: (1) See them as God created them to be. Focusing on your partner’s flaws doesn’t help either of you. The Pharisees saw only the worst in the woman caught in adultery. Jesus didn’t minimise her sin, but chose to see what she could become through grace. He basically said, ‘I don’t condemn you. Go, and stop what you’re doing.’ (John 8:11) Grace enables you to see beyond your spouse’s upsetting ways and work with God in helping them become the ‘new creature’ He’s called them to be. (2) Celebrate them. Too often we try to impose on our spouse our desired image of them. We resent them and insist they change, see it our way, and do things to our required standard. If they don’t, we think they’re inconsiderate, unloving, and even un-Christian. Grace doesn’t operate that way! It understands, accepts, forgives and leaves changing others up to God. Try telling yourself, ‘Yes, that annoys me, but I wonder what God’s trying to work out in my spouse.’ Then step back, love and accept them and let God work on them. (3) Forgive them. Your spouse will irritate you at times because of what they are. We’re all different. She thinks she’s detailed; he thinks she’s nit-picking. He thinks he’s laid-back; she thinks he’s lazy. We act out the image we hold of ourselves, and that’ll change only when God changes it! Acknowledge your intolerance and forgive your partner’s irritating behaviour – even before they do it again. That’s ‘pre-emptive forgiveness’, the kind that denies resentment a toehold on your marriage.
SoulFood: Is 30-33, John 7:14-24, Ps 104:1-23, Pr 28:5-8
The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright 2013
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