Pride is a sneaky thing. When we think of a prideful person, more than likely, we think of arrogance and stubbornness. Someone who thinks very highly of themselves and makes sure everyone else knows it. Someone who always has to be right and struggles with seeing anyone else's point of view.
The funny thing is, pride can be extremely sneaky. Sneaky? Let me expand. We may believe that we are the total opposite of prideful but in buried in the root of our heart, pride is alive and well.
This can definitely rear it's ugly head in marriage, when our spouse messes up. It is very easy to allow that pride to sneak it's ugly way in, by dwelling on what our spouse did wrong, insisting that we would NEVER do something like that. It is at it's root.... pride.
Now it may be very true..... that you have not,nor could you imagine doing something as hurtful or devastating as your spouse has done, but trust me when I say, we often have no idea the wickedness that hides in our hearts.
Just as you are way stronger than you think and are capable of much greater things than your probably give yourself credit for, your flesh is also capable of much more darkness than you are even aware of.
If you would have asked Garrick 6 years ago, when God first started our church, if he had the capability of becoming an active addict that would forsake his marriage and family to feed his addiction, he would have been adamant that was not possible! He would never allow that to happen!
Guess what..... he allowed that to happen.
So the bottom line is this.... hurt is hurt and it can take quite awhile to heal. But do not intermix pride with hurt. Hurt is very different. Pride is believing you are above the transgression your spouse committed, hurt is simply the negative side effect or your spouses transgression.
Never be so prideful to think.... you could not be taken captive by your flesh. You have to ALWAYS be on guard, guarding your heart from the woos of the devil. He is hot on your tail and unfortunately, very seldom relents.
We have to allow God to humble our hearts. As long as we wrestle with pride, believing we are in a way "better" than our spouse, we will struggle greatly with forgiveness.
So let us ponder our scriptures for the day!
Is it possible to be an honorable person, without a humble heart?
According to Proverbs 15:33, no, it is not. Pride is a very ugly thing!!! Jesus was a perfect and flawless example of what a humble heart should look like AND what a humble heart can accomplish!!!
His focus was on God's purpose for His life, rather than the needs of His flesh. He understood that though MOST of the things that happened to Him were not fair, they were part of a greater plan that would serve to benefit the world, not just Him.
The Hands of God.... Can Mold A Humble Heart.
There is no limit to what God can do.... with a wiling heart. A prideful heart, on the other hand, will produce nothing but strife.
I will not lie, this is a struggle for me at times. I find myself fighting against God's will, believing my way makes more sense. I have learned through the past years of struggle.....
It does not have to make sense..... to have purpose.
Next, through Matthew 6:15, we learn the hard truth.... 'if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you." Pretty simple and needs very little explanation.
The bottom line to this is.... if you are going to expect God to forgive your sins, which are more than likely like mine.... plentiful.... then you have no right to withhold forgiveness from others. You cannot expect and accept forgiveness from Christ's death and in turn refuse forgiveness to others. That is pride at it's ugliest!! And believe me when I say, it simply does not work like that.
NOW... I have mentioned in previous posts that forgiveness is not always a decision, it is often a journey. Sometimes, we may be able to choose immediate forgiveness as our heart is aligned with God's will, other times, due to pain and hurt, it may take some time and work.
That is ok!! As long as you continue to push forward through the journey and as long as you understand.... you are COMMANDED to forgive... it is not an option..... it is a command!
Now, you may be asking.... "how on EARTH do I forgive when my spouse is not repentant???" Perhaps your spouse has not been enlightened yet and has not fully seen the devastation of their sin. You cannot control that and you cannot make them see it, however, you can still choose to work toward forgiveness.
This will more than likely be a longer process and take much more time, effort and strength from the Lord, but it is very possible. How do I know this??
Take Romans 5:8 for instance...
"But God demonstrates His love for us in this, while we were still sinners. Christ died for us."
While the world sat and mocked Christ, spit on Him, called Him names and falsely accused Him of wrongdoings that landed Him hanging on a cross, beaten to a pulp and bleeding from every crevice of His body..... He asked God to forgive them all!!!
THAT..... is love. THAT... is humbleness. THAT.....is our calling. You are not responsible for your spouses actions and you certainly are not expected to like them, condone them or affirm them. You are only responsible for your own actions.... and God calls you to forgive... even when forgiveness may not seem due.
Now don't confuse forgiveness for reconciliation. Forgiveness does not mean you have to allow their negative behavior back in your life. You have the right to set healthy boundaries for yourself and follow through with them. God can and will still give you the power to forgive.... while still allowing you to care for yourself.
What would that type of forgiveness look like';
in our situation, if Garrick had continued to choose his addiction, I could choose to forgive him, but still separate from him, until he became healthy and killed the addiction. I could still offer him prayers and encouragement, but I do not have to enable to forgive.
You have to be aware of forgiveness being used as a manipulation tactic to get you to comply with the transgressors wishes. Don't fall for it. You can offer love and forgiveness without offering up your mental health and well being. There is a HUGE difference!!!
I was fully prepared to do this in my own marriage. I could not flourish and stay mentally and/or physically stable while living with an active addict.
Now, in our situation, this was a big issue that effected the entire family. Most of the transgressions we experience in our marriage are not quite as devastating and monumental. We have to get good at forgiving the little things..... before we will be prepared to forgive the major things.
Everyday.... God will give you chances to choose forgiveness in your marriage. I truly believe that. He will also give you the tools and strength to do it.... but not without first recognizing your own flaws and transgressions and being aware that you are NOT better than your spouse.... even though outward actions may look that way.
We have to ask God to humble our hearts, in order for us to be willing and open to carry out His greater purposes in our lives.
Hands down, my greatest struggle with forgiveness in our marriage has been through Garrick's addiction. This is due to the hurt and pain is caused my heart and it takes a woman's heart a great length of time to heal and trust again.
I have to fight the urge to regress sometimes when something happens that sparks a bad memory or thought. It is often a daily struggle.... but one I am winning with God;s strength on my side!
Have you identified your greatest struggle with forgiveness in your marriage??
Ask God to humble your heart today.... and help you to offer that forgiveness to your spouse. Be patient through the journey and wait in expectation for miracle to happen!!!
Peace and Blessings
Missy and Garrick
Meaningful Messy Marriage Week 14!! Journey to Forgiveness Step 3... Allowing God to Humble your Heart.