Extending grace to an undeserving spouse.
Do you have an undeserving spouse? And all you feel is hatred and bitterness towards them. All you want is for the Lord and the legion of angels from heaven to strike him or her down?
This is for you. The good news is that the Holy Spirit, our helper will be there to help you and me during those hardest seasons of our lives and marriages.
I have been asking the Lord to lead me on this since I did my last post about keeping the covenant when all seems so hard in marriage.
Is it only pain that drives us at the feet of Jesus?
Do we really need pain to cause us to draw nearer to God? Indeed pain does. Pain shifts our focus from man to the creator of man!
Nothing gets to us better than pain. Nothing catches our attention better than pain!
Pain is so hard to endure, yet it’s still a gift – such a paradox. So ironical.
Pain and gift(s) fit into each other perfectly like a key and lock.
Perfection is flip side of sanctification. None happens without the other.
So what else will pull us though hard seasons in our marriages?
I can assure you that God’s answer wasn’t what I was looking for.
No “5 steps to have a healthy marriage”, simply give.
You see, we live in a world full of conditions. We get married with conditions.
At the back of our fragile minds, we (ladies) always say, “I won’t be a doormat”, and for the men, “I am the man, she will live under my terms”!
Every rung we climb, be it in our marriages, or work, reveals another set of conditions to fulfill. There is always a pegged condition or expectation to fulfill.
“If he doesn’t love me, I won’t respect him.”
“If she doesn’t respect me, I won’t love her.”
It’s like you have to prove yourself enough to warrant an award, recognition, an acceptance. No wonder we have a generation in crisis.
Using whichever means to be accepted, or known.
But how amazing is our Lord too. He has an absolute answer for every maze. He is a wonder.
Grace was the answer He gave me.
It was not a pixelated answer, it was all crystal clear, HIS GRACE, GOD’S GRACE will be sufficient to pull one through hard seasons of marriage and transform an ungrateful spouse.
Grace is what will pull you through the turmoil, the confusion and the pain. Grace is what will transform an ugly heart. Grace is enough.
No, am not talking about grace to you (though it will be there from the Lord), am talking about extending that grace from the Lord to your undeserving spouse.
That is what will cause them to shift their focus – from themselves, to the painted, tangible picture of a love, so pure, so divine, without conditions attached.
Hard one again! Right?
The concept of grace is hard to understand, more so, to the Christians.
We have a hard time coming to terms with grace alone and it’s sustaining and transformative power, that lack of it’s understanding has kept so many away from Christ and the church – just because of the little knowledge of grace!
We speak of grace as if it’s a bottle of water. Or candy. We only ask of it when we are either very thirsty or a sweet tooth craving strikes.
We speak of grace as if it’s only enough to sustain us through, temporarily, until a better season comes and yet His grace, God’s grace should shake our very core.
It abounds. It’s unfathomable. It’s unending. It’s too recklessly generous to ignore.
That grace is what should be extended to a nerve wrecking, selfish spouse.
Again – if emotional or physical abuse is there, then it’s wise to seek counsel on the way forward.
No one says this before marriage. Only a few people prepare you mentally for both the good days and the bad days.
In fact we are prepared for the good days – but what if the journey proves harder, what will pull you through? Grace.
Grace from the Lord to you and grace from you to your spouse.
The Bible says in 2nd Corinthians 12:9
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ rest upon me.
Have you ever thought of grace at a deeper level than what “churchy” people say?
Have you ever pondered on grace and pondered about the magnificent words of our Lord, “My grace is sufficient for you: my strength is made perfect in your weakness?”
Have you ever asked yourself what God meant by, His grace being enough?
The Lord knew that hard seasons will come. He knew that the valley of the shadow of death was part and parcel of our momentary life on earth.
He promised us to be conquerors, yet we cannot conquer without a war. He knew that we would be scared in battle, but limp out stinking of blood and sweat, lifting our shields and swords chanting songs of victory.
He knew that we would be pressured in every way and hedged in, but promised us not that we would not be crushed.
He knew that we would be perplexed, so unsure of finding a way out, but not driven to despair; because His grace would be enough.
He knew that we might be hunted down and persecuted, but we will not be deserted or made to stand alone because He will be there for us.
He knew tragedy, confusion, pain might strike you or your marriage down, but He said that you will never be destroyed.
His grace will be sufficient! He extended His grace to you, and still does and that’s what the Lord asks of you today. Extend the same grace to your ungrateful selfish spouse.
Grace is a love that seeks you out, finds you and runs after you when all you deserve is be left out in the cold.
It’s the gospel for the weary, not the good (self-righteous).
Grace is a love that pursues you and relentlessly follows you when you have nothing to offer in return.
Grace is a love that extends its arms to embrace you, offending all manner of justice that one deserves or to be meted out.
Grace is being loved when you are least unlovable.
Grace is being forgiven when you deserve punishment.
Grace is being clothed with an apparel of honor instead of being paraded waiting for a penance.
Grace says “I forgive you”, “I love you”, “I will walk with you” instead of “You deserve to die!” “You are a disgrace”, “You are selfish”, “You are immature!”
Ohh this is hard gospel for me too!
You see, the fact that we are flawed and broken, is enough to cause us to disappoint our spouses.
Inevitably in every marriage, we all fail each other’s expectations. We flop so bad at times that we see no way out than retribution.
Even in the best of marriages, the biggest threshold of frustration comes from the spouse.
God is asking us today, to extend the same grace to us from Him to our spouses. Extend the same grace to you from the Lord, to your spouse.
Grace is love coming at you from the Lord that has nothing to do with you, but has everything to do with Christ. He loved you first. You didn’t meet His standards or measure up.
That grace, is the same one that should be extended to your ungrateful spouse that has nothing to do with them, but has everything to do with you.
They don’t measure up; they don’t meet your standards but extend it anyway!
Grace is being cherished and loved when you are unlovable to say the least.
That same grace should be extended to your selfish spouse – when they are least deserving.
Grace is a love that has nothing to do with the one being loved, but has everything to do with the lover. They make an un-obliged decision to love!
Is it sane? No! It’s insane, irrational, and outrageous.
Well, Yes and that’s the correct meaning of grace.
It’s outrageous and totally bonkers.
It can’t be measured, it cannot be put on time sheets, and it cannot be equated to anything that one will get. It has no return on investment, yet still defies the law of diminishing returns!
It’s simply a wonder that defies all laws and logic.
Grace is love that uncommon.
Oh yes! Christ died for us. Did we deserve it? No! Did he deserve the pain? No! Were we too good? No! Yet, he came down, endured pain to a point of death. He gave us the gift of grace, not because we deserve it, but because He loved us so much and didn’t want us to perish.
When your spouse pisses you off, unappreciative and is self absorbed – only your decision of extending grace to them will touch their hearts.
Rules will work, but they are temporal crutches.
Shouting might stir them to a greater degree of rebellion.
Crying might stir feelings of “am being manipulated.”
Grace will cause them to be broken – not because of their choice but because of your choice – an unobligated choice of extending grace to an undeserving spouse!
Look at Christ. He extended His grace to the prostitutes, the sinners, the tax collectors, even to Peter when He denied Him.
They deserved to perish but Christ embraced them.
Grace is a love that has nothing to do with the one who receives it but has all to do with the giver. Grace liberates.
Grace gives without making demands of change or payments.
It lays it all down, risking the rejection, knows that the wait might be long, but gives anyway.
The mission is bigger than the feelings then. Grace is simply a gift to your spouse. They cannot buy it, they cannot tag it, and they cannot live without it.
It’s a costly gift from you to them – since the ultimate price of SELF has to die!
Grace is not contingent upon reciprocity. Grace is not controlled by an innate sense of absolute justice to the one offended.
Grace is simply self sufficient and implausible.
Is your spouse undeserving? Extend grace.
Are they selfish and self cantered? Extend grace.
Are they hard headed? Extend grace.
Do they seem as if they will never change? Extend more grace.
Grace is transformative. It’s always slow, takes routes and corners, permeating every bone and marrow, but eventually, grace is only thing that ignites a total change of heart.
If you don’t believe me, look at Christ and the church!
Do not be tempted to pay evil for evil. Keep the covenant, extend grace and watch the Lord transform your marriage and spouse.