One afternoon, several years ago after teaching a ladies’ study on God’s Agape love, I popped my head into my husband’s study to chat. We were talking, but not in the way either one of us had wanted. We began to argue, and it didn’t end well. That afternoon, I cried and had a wonderful pity party about how unfair it was, and “I was right, and he was wrong!”, Then I began to remember (well, the Holy Spirit reminded me) about the ladies’ study; Gods’ Agape love and His forgiveness. How if we don’t forgive, it is sin and sin separate me from my relationship with the Lord. I realized that He commanded me to forgive my husband and if I didn’t forgive, I was in direct disobedience to my loving Savior, and my fellowship with Him would be compromised. I needed to forgive my husband, ask the Lord to help me forgive, pray a blessing on my husband, and ‘walk out’ my forgiveness with an attitude of love and kindness towards my husband. I needed to obey, walk in love and be at peace leaving the argument behind.
My husband and I counsel married couples who are having problems, often on the brink of divorce. Without exception, each person in the marriage comes into the first counseling session with one thing in mind … my spouse needs to change—if he or she would change, then everything would be great! Most times they are so focused on what their spouse is doing wrong, that they can’t see that they too have sinned. It directly connects to the verse from Matthew 7:3 “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s (or spouse’s) eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?” Don’t get me wrong, one of the spouses can be 90% at fault, but the fact of the matter is, there is something that the other spouse is doing wrong as well. The reason I say this is we all are human and we ALL sin and need our Savior.
In the Bible, we see that Joshua had courage and he was strong—IN THE LORD. Deuteronomy 31:6, 7b & 8: “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God. He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you … Be strong and of good courage … And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”
How does being strong and courageous apply to the daily messy struggles we have in our marriages? It takes a strong and courageous person to humble themselves and admit they have sinned. When I am so focused on what my husband has done and demanding for him to change, I miss it. The only way I can walk in His Spirit, peace, grace, and courage is to admit that I too am in need of His forgiveness and strength. Realize that the only person I can change is myself, that is what a Strong and Courageous woman of God does.