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For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
When we first declare to our mate “I do”, we are essentially saying
“all of me is committed to all of you” regardless of the cost.
But what happens to a marriage when one or both spouses
stuff feelings of guilt, anger, greed, jealousy or rejection?
Truth be told, when any combination of these disabling feelings
are allowed to smolder in one’s heart, it is only a matter of time
before corrosive and destructive words jump into the conversation.
What might start as a simple rather mundane complaint
can so easily evolve into a unnecessary criticism aimed right at your mate.
John Gottman, who wrote Why Marriages Succeed or Fail,
discusses the difference and the connection between complaining and criticizing . .
and it’s inherent danger
He notes that a complaint
is a specific statement of distress, displeasure, or anger
while a criticism is more global and less specific.
When you complain, you are referring to a particular action (or lack of action).
But – when you criticize, you are attacking the character of the person.
The problem with criticism in God’s eyes is threefold:
1) you are playing the devil’s hand when it comes to accusing
and tearing down your spouse, 2) you are starving your partner’s soul
and your marriage of the one thing we all need to be able survive
and thrive this side of heaven: grace (Ephesians 4:29), and 3) left unchecked,
criticism can only lead to the marriage dead-end of contempt –
that dark place where one heart no longer attaches value to the other.
Ever stopped to consider how much grace we have received
and are still receiving in Christ?
More than our minds can comprehend – so much that John 1:16 tells us
that the limitless storehouses of heaven have been opened,
“For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace”.
Unstuffing and confessing feelings of guilt, anger, greed, jealousy and rejection
will never overwhelm God’s grace and will never underwhelm your spouse.
The supreme pinnacle expression of God’s love for us is indeed His grace . .
that is, being given what we do not deserve
(a right standing with God, sonship in His family and a forever future free of sin and death)
on top of His mercy, which withholds what we actually do deserve
(death and forever separation from light and life in His family).
In essence, John 1:16 messages that we as God’s kids
are constantly being lavishly provisioned with the grace of God
thanks to a Savior who first demonstrated “all of Me is committed to all of you”,
regardless of the cost .
The best way to express thanks for God’s grace? . .
let it spill out of our hearts and first get all over our spouse . .
it’s how we best message . .”I (still) do”.
“Father, we pray that we may have power,
together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide
and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know
this love that surpasses knowledge – that we may be filled
to the measure of all the fullness of God in our home. Amen.”
– Ephesians 3
How is God encouraging you today?