Tonight my eGroup is discussing the topic of forgiveness as it pertains to marriage. We read the chapter in Linda Dillow’s book (What’s it like to be married to me?) called “Why do I want to stay mad at you.” Linda suggests that holding a grudge is easier than forgiving because when you hold a grudge you are able to blame the other person and you never have to look inward and admit that you played some part in the offense.
We also listened this week to my husband’s series, F-Bomb from 2011. That is such a powerful series. One of my top 10 that we have done at our church (you can easily find it in our archive). It was really interesting to listen to the series while focusing on forgiveness within my marriage. I love when my husband said that forgiveness is not weakness, it is the ultimate portal for the power of Christ in my life.
At some point in my marriage, if I want to have a healthy, thriving marriage, I have to let go of the idea of justice. Does this mean that I never get to explain myself or tell my side during a conflict? No. What it means is when a discussion gets to a point where both perspectives have been heard but neither person really agrees, can I let it go or do I have to have my justice? Am I ok with walking away feeling misunderstood?
It’s funny because when it comes to my personal forgiveness, I expect grace. But when I feel wronged, I want to call in the justice league. I am not talking about justice for a criminal. I am talking about justice with my spouse. My husband said in his message, “Forgiveness is not about dismissing your case, it’s about taking it to a higher court.”
Often when you think of forgiveness in the context of marriage you think of a big offense like an affair or an addiction. But it is those little arguments that can eat away at you and lead your heart down a very slippery slope. Learning to forgive, even when I think I was only 3% responsible takes grace. But I have been given a lot of grace. And I have been promised a lot of grace.
2 Corinthians 9:8
And God is able to make all grace abound to you so that in all things, and at all times, you will abound in every good work.
We live in such an amazing time in history. Technology has made it so that we have the greatest preachers and teachers on earth at our fingertips on the internet. We can read books loaded all in one place on our phone or tablet and we can listen to the radio on demand!
It is important to have as many ways for God to speak to me throughout your day and really your week. And during the Christmas season, when life can be so busy, we must be intentional about this. Going to church is great, it’s essential, but unless I am digging in in between Sundays, I am not going to grow very much in my walk with Christ. Of course nothing can replace studying God’s Word on your own, but we must make a conscious effort to fill our minds with things that are going to challenge us to grow and keep pur minds focused on Christ during the busy holiday season.
Here are a few ideas…
- I recently found a great resource from the ministry of Dr. James Dobson, called Family Talk Radio (this is different from Focus on the Family). They have a great app for the iPhone and Droid (just search Family Talk Radio or Dr. Dobson). I love it. I love that I can listen while I am driving or when I am cooking dinner. The app is super easy to navigate but you can also listen online at Dr.JamesDobson.org. Today and yesterday, they interviewed Linda Dillow, the author of one of my favorite books, What’s it like to be married to me? Another great program they did recently was called 10 Habits of Happy Moms (search general parenting).
- Begin the habit of listening to at least one other preacher in between Sundays (and your own if you missed church that week). You can watch Elevation sermons at the Elevation Network. Some of my other favorite preachers are Pastor Craig Groeschel at Lifechurch.tv and Pastor James Mc Donald.
- Get your mind off yourself and all you have to do by serving a local organization. This time of the year, there are so many organizations helping people in need. If you live in Charlotte, there are tons of opportunities at ElevationOutreach.com
- Listen to worship music. It is amazing how much music can set a tone in my home or my car. I have several favorite albums and a few Christmas instrumental albums, but a great cheap way to hear fresh music is through Pandora. You can download their app or listen online at Pandora.com and create special radio stations with your favorite artists or categories.
I hope you will join me this holiday season in choosing to fill your mind with things that will challenge and keep you focused on Jesus this Christmas. Next week I will share a few ideas of some family traditions that you can incorporate to help your kids focus on the true meaning of Christmas.