III

HEAD TO HEART

They stood before the alter and supplied

The fire themselves in which their fat was fried.

By: Ambrose Bierce

Even though I believed, trusted God and taught our children about Jesus, they did not accept Jesus until after Al did. When he accepted Jesus it was confirmation to them that Jesus was real. Jesus did say that it took two or more witnesses to establish a fact.

God ordained our husbands as the head of the household and the authority figure in the home. This is one of the reasons our children listen to Daddy when Mom and Dad are in disagreement. They assume Dad knows all the answers. We not only hinder our husbands from finding Jesus; we, also, hinder our children when we become unequally yoked.

We think God should do what we want, even though we know we should ask Him what He wants. We know that we were called to serve and not to be served. We need to surrender our lives to Him so He can work in us. God said we would reap what we sow; yet, we expect Him to bail us out so we don't have to suffer. Even Jesus suffered: why do we think we should not? Jesus was innocent: We brought the suffering on ourselves.

As for thinking we could save our husbands - only God can save a person. A man cannot receive faith unless the Holy Spirit first draws him with love. Faith is a gift of grace and God is the giver. A man does not choose to have faith in God. God chooses to give him faith so he can become a child of God. Without faith a man cannot be saved. Rarely does a man refuse to accept the gift of salvation after God gives him enough faith to believe (He can refuse). Understanding this makes it obvious that our husbands' salvation does not depend entirely on them. Why then has God not acted in our behalf? Could it be that our sins have separated us from God?

We feel anger and bitterness toward our husbands. I, of all people, understand why; but we are not hurting them: we are hurting ourselves. Regardless of why we are angry, we have to abandon it for our own sakes. We should love and forgive them as Jesus loves and forgives us.

Our Lord has established a way for us to love them in spite of what they do or say that may hurt us. We must remember that Jesus forgave us while we were yet in our sins. In turn, we must forgive our husbands for the pain they have caused us. After all, they did not sin by marrying us: we sinned by marrying them.

We are in pain not because of what our husbands did; but because of the anger and bitterness we retained. As Christians, the Holy Spirit seals our spirits. When we retain anger and bitterness, we grieve the Holy Spirit and grief to Him is painful. Since we are sealed to Him, we in turn feel the same pain He feels.

Take a metal pot and seal (wield) a metal handle on it. Now, fill it with hot water and turn the fire on under it to keep it hot. The pot is hot because it is on the fire. Would we reach out and grab the handle? Even though the handle is not on the fire, it is hot because it is sealed to the pot. The pot is our spirit, the liquid is our anger, the fire is our bitterness and the handle is the Holy Spirit that is sealed to our spirit.

Sometimes the pain is so bad we find it hard to forgive, But, God has made a way. There is a hidden promise in Ephesians 4:30-32 "Let all anger .. be put away from you." This infers that if you are willing to give it up, God will remove it from you. Jesus can and will remove the anger and bitterness if you allow Him. I know this is true because Jesus removed it from me: He loved and forgave my husband through me.

Al was a baby Christian and full of Joy in the Lord. I was hurting and became very angry. "How dare he be happy when he had caused so much pain in my life." I ranted and raved and everyone stayed out of my way.

Jesus said, "Forgive him." My response was, "NO! He hurt me and I can't forgive him."

Again, Jesus said, "Forgive him." "No," I responded, "I have every reason to be angry." "Forgive him," Jesus said for the third time. "No." I reasoned. "I have a right to be angry and I want to be angry."

Jesus declared, "This is what it feels like to be unforgiven."

Suddenly, it felt as though I had fallen into a dark pit of loneliness, surrounded by fear, hate and anger: the pain was excruciating. I cried, screamed and yelled for three days. I could not eat, sleep or drink.

On the third day, I fell to my knees beside our bed in tears and begged God to forgive me. I asked him to love and forgive Al through me because the pain is too great to do it on my own. In an instant all the loneliness, pain, fear, hate and anger left me and I felt love and forgiveness flow through me. I, now, loved my husband more than I thought was possible.

When we allow Jesus to remove the anger and bitterness, the Holy Spirit is no longer grieved and our pain disappears. Now it is easy for God to love and forgive through us. You see, when the Holy Spirit is no longer grieved, He can manifest His love and forgiveness in us. That same love and forgiveness can then flow through us to others.

When we repent of our wrong attitudes and sins, God is faithful to forgive us. Now we need to go forward in love.

Only say things that build him up. Do things that you know will please him. Think of the good things he did that made you fall in love with him in the first place. Concentrate on the things he says and does that make you feel good.

When they do something or say something that hurts us, we should focus on Jesus and let Him remove the pain. This should be a continuing process we use with everyone for the rest of our lives. God is faithful and he will do it. If we are faithful and diligent and do not give up, we will reap a harvest of salvation.

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