Woman of Noble Character > A Prudent Wife > The "Good Works" God Prepared for Wives > Part 4 - A Wife's Sacrificial Love - Forgives
The "Good Works" God Prepared for Wives - Continued
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Part 4: A Wife's Sacrificial Love - Forgives
The “Good Work” of sacrificially loving our husbands not only honors and serves, it also forgives. Forgiveness is key to the “Good Work” God plans for wives. Because we are by nature sinners, we cannot expect our marriages to be free from sin and its consequences.
Let it Go & Practice Patience: Is it hard for you to let go of the past? Do you find yourself recalling a painful experience when your husband said or did something that hurt you? When we keep track of the ways in which our husbands have hurt us, intentionally or otherwise, we become resentful. Resentment is an emotion left unchecked can become a sin that can destroy a marriage. To love our husbands sacrificially, we must let go of the ways our husband has hurt us in the past and be patient with him in the present and the future.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others,
it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs.
1 Corinthians 13:4-5
Wouldn't it be great to offer this kind of love to our husbands, a love that is patient with our husbands and does not keep bringing up the past? Some of us have an invisible scorecard posted on the refrigerator that records our husbands “stats” by year, quarter, month, day, and time. Perhaps it no longer fits on the fridge and it has been organized in volume format looking more like a set of encyclopedias than a scorecard. Toss it. Confess that the old you kept your husband’s stats with a sport historian’s accuracy, but that you are choosing to move toward a love like that in 1 Corinthians 13.
In addition we are reminded in Galatians chapter five that the Spirit gives us the ability to be patient and self-controlled. Many disagreements with our husbands could be avoided all together if we responded according to the Spirit with patience and self-control.
The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, self –control; against such things there is no law.
God does not magically make us patient. He teaches us patience by providing us with the opportunity to practice patience. Our husbands provide us with the opportunity to practice patience. Agreed? When our patience is wearing thin, we can ask the Holy Spirit to empower us to be patient.
Let’s take a moment to count how many fruits there are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Nine appears to be the obvious answer; however, it was a trick question to bring to light that we may only be dealing with one fruit. Some scholars agree that there are nine fruits, but there is a line of thinking that there is only one fruit. That one Fruit of The Spirit is “love,” and it is from love which the other eight qualities flow.
We receive the Holy Spirit Himself as a deposit once we have faith in Christ. The Holy Spirit gives us the fruit of “Love” and all of its eight qualities, but we often fail to ask for the power to exercise them. These qualities are always available to us, but out of pride, a pattern of sin, or lack of understanding we do not access the qualities available to us through the Spirit.
Assume He Doesn’t Mean it That Way: Consider the fact that men often don’t mean it the way it sounds. We reason that, “If I said what he said I would have meant to upset him, so he must have meant to upset me!” The more I learn about my husband and my sons, the more I realize that the males in my house do not think the same way I do. This understanding is reinforced by books that explain just how different men are from women. The book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus offers an admittedly simplistic stereo type of the differences between men and women, but in the end it does a good job of explaining this phenomenon.
God created men and women physically different. We can assume He also made us emotionally different. These emotional differences affect how we relate and communicate with each other, not to mention the host of differences in our life experiences that have shaped how we communicate and react to one another. So, with both points in mind it is a reasonable hypothesis that our husbands think differently than we do. Knowing the character of God, we can trust that God does nothing without a purpose and that we are with our husbands for a divine reason.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,
who have been called according to his purpose.
Trusting God’s goodness in His design of our marriage I think we can safely assume that our husbands are, generally, not intentionally being as rude or inconsiderate as they may seem to be.
Don’t Play Games: Playing “head games” is just asking for trouble. Whether intentional or not we are all guilty of playing games with our husbands. These games often stem from unrealistic expectations. Our unrealistic expectations result, once again, from just how different we are. If you think your husband might forget your birthday or anniversary, remind him. If you are hoping to get flowers or if you want him to take you to dinner, then tell him. When we expect our husbands to read our minds, interpret our coded messages, or remember a hint we dropped weeks, days or even hours ago we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.
If he lets you down despite your efforts to clearly communicate your desires and despite your efforts to set realistic expectations still choose to forgive.
Forgive as You Have Been Forgiven: “Yeah, yeah. But what if I don’t want to forgive him?” you ask.
(Jesus said) “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Only if we forgive can we be forgiven? Wow, that is harsh. Is this saying we must work to earn forgiveness? Does the good work of “forgiving” EARN forgiveness? Never! Forgiveness is not earned. The free gift of salvation is always free. Faith in Christ’s work on the cross, repenting of our sins, and accepting the free gift of salvation is the only way by which anyone is saved and forgiven. So what does this scripture mean?
If we deny sharing the free gift (forgiveness) with others, despite the forgiveness we have received, then we are sinning against the Holy Spirit. We are blocking the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and this disobedience puts us at risk of hardening our hearts. If we continue to block the Holy Spirit and our hearts continue to grow cold and hard, we risk abandoning faith in Jesus. If we lose faith in Christ we are denying Christ. To deny Christ is to reject the free gift of salvation.
Some may argue that once saved always saved, saying, if you deny forgiveness then you were never saved, because if you had been saved you would have never denied forgiveness and disobeyed God’s command. Whichever teaching you agree with, the fact remains that Jesus Himself is warning us, commanding us that we are to forgive others as we have been forgiven.
We can’t “Sacrificially Love” our husbands when our hearts are filled with unforgivness! So we choose obedience and we choose to forgive. We let go of our perceived right to retribution and we allow God to change our hearts and we receive His peace. Will we be supernaturally reconciled to our husbands and forget how he has hurt us? No, probably not. But we obey and trust God is at work in us and through us.
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Be Humble in Spirit: Having a humble spirit is important to being able to forgive our husbands and seeing our own sin for what it is. We know from 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 that love is not proud and that it is not easily angered.
The opposite of humility is pride, and our stubborn pride leads us to argue with our husband. Sometimes we can’t even recall what it was we were arguing about. Whether we remember or not we just keep arguing instead of humbling ourselves and apologizing.
My pride can be an ugly menace. On Saturdays we often take time to do the chores that have not been done throughout the week. Before the kids began helping with the chores I felt it was my responsibility to do all the “housewife” chores. You know the ones I mean, the laundry, vacuuming, dusting, bathroom cleaning, all the general housekeeping. My husband didn’t nag or complain. However, come Saturday morning if “my” chores weren’t done he would quickly begin doing them. When I would hear the vacuum or see him folding laundry I would become overcome with guilt. Then the irrational behavior followed.
He was not doing the chores begrudgingly. He was truly trying to be helpful and deal with his own need to have the house in order for the weekend. When he refused to stop I began to yell. Illogical at best, I now realize. Instead of humbly thanking him for his help I would get irate. Not a pretty scene. I was angry that he would not DO what I told him to. Stop doing my chores! Who in her right mind gets angry at her husband for doing her chores? God has been working on this with me. Putting my own guilt aside, I humbly thank Steve for helping. Once in a while that old desire to be in control creeps up and I find myself wanting to tell him to stop, especially if he isn’t doing the chore the “right way” or I should say “my way”. If I catch myself being critical I try to step back and apologize.
Humility enables us to recognize when we have sinned against our husbands. When we are humble and we recognize our role in a disagreement, then we are able to apologize to our husbands. We also need to see our sin for what it is and repent.
Once we connect with our own need for forgiveness we are better able to offer forgiveness to our husbands. But, if we still decide that we do not need to forgive others and we refuse to offer our husbands forgiveness; we allow resentment, bitterness, and scorn to grow in our hearts and push us apart. This not only damages our marriages, but it also separates us from God.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
1 John 1:8-10
And from out of a grateful heart for Jesus' sacrificial work upon the cross we choose to honor His command to forgive as we have been forgiven. Jesus lived a sinless life and was willing to die for our forgiveness. Our sinless righteous Savior commands us to forgive as we have been forgiven.
Once we connect with the magnitude of what Christ sacrificed for us and the undeserved forgiveness available through faith in Christ we are able to truly offer our husbands mercy and forgive even when our husbands may not deserve forgiveness.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Pray - Confess your past un-forgiveness, ask for the humility to obey and forgive, ask God to soften your heart, so the heart you once had for your husband can be restored. Pray that God will remind you to ask for the Holy Spirit’s power to exercise the Fruit of the Spirit which is love; enabling you to exhibit it’s eight attributes: joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Part 1 - Introduction: The "Good Works" God Prepared For Wives
Part 2 - A Wife's Sacrificial Love - Honors
Part 3 - A Wife's Sacrificial Love - Serves
Part 4 - A Wife's Sacrificial Love - Forgives
Part 5 - Conclusion: What About Our Beauty?
By: Kathy Dork
May 16, 2014
May 16, 2014