Wednesday, December 28, 2016

How Can I Rid My Heart of Bitterness in My Marriage?

The following exercise was developed to help someone who sought help to deal with bitterness in her marriage. Hopefully you can glean biblical principles and insights for your heart as you seek to grow in your love for God and love for others.

1. Continue your own, personal pursuit of the LORD. as you grow in your love for the LORD, you will grow in your obedience.
2. Study the Gospel of John chapters 12-17; note how your obedience is motivated & enabled by your love for Christ & abiding in Christ and His love for you.
3. When your focus is on Christ’s love for you, when His Word is dwelling in you richly (Col. 3:16), your growing love will produce obedience (Jn. 14:23) and will either prevent bitterness or dispel it (compare Eph. 4:22-24 & 4:31).

1. Each night before you go to bed, ask the LORD, “Are there any 'logs' that I need to deal with from today? (Mt. 7:1-5), confess your sin(s) to God and each other.
2. Then, ask your spouse, " Do you see any 'logs in my eye” that I’m not aware of?
3. If/when you see sin in your spouse, ask, “Should Love cover”? (1Pet.4:8) or should love confront"? (see Eph.4:15-16, 25, 29 &  Love Covers | Desiring God]. Love should generally confront repetitive sinful attitudes and actions that hinders one’s walk with the LORD, and adversely affects others around them.

1. Pray that God would reveal any unresolved conflicts, harbored bitterness or resentment in your own heart from the beginning of your relationship. Don’t leave any ‘stone unturned’.
2. Pray for wisdom to compare your spouse’s actions or failures with the standards of scripture. Have they violated God’s standards, or have they violated your standards and preferences? If it is simply a matter of your standards or preferences, pray for the grace to let ‘love cover’.
3. If they have truly sinned against God,
a) pray for the grace to release your spouse from culpability, relinquish them to God and trust Him to deal directly with the other person regarding the sin or hurt;
b) go to him/her and graciously talk about what the sin(s) with a balance of grace and truth, so that he/she can confess to God and seek forgiveness and restoration.

D. WHEN CONFRONTED ABOUT YOUR SIN (taken from Peacemaker)
1. Assume an attitude of humility. Resist pride which says, "I can't believe I did that" or "I can't believe he/she is making this an issue". Humility says, “I’m thankful I didn't sin worse”.
2. Address everyone who is/was effected.
3. Avoid excuses ("if", "but", "maybe").
4. Admit specific sinful attitudes, actions, failures. General statements are not true confessions.
5. Acknowledge th.e hurt you've caused and express sorrow.
6. Accept the consequences, commit to doing what you can to make right what you can where you've done wrong.
7. Ask for forgiveness.

E. WHAT IS FORGIVENESS? Forgiveness has two elements, a contract and a commitment. The contract of forgiveness involves 4 promises modeled after God’s forgiveness. The contract of forgiveness promises:
1. I will not bring this up again with you.
2. I will not bring this up again with others.
3. I will not bring this up again with myself and dwell on it
4. I will not allow this to destroy our relationship. Forgiveness is an instant, one-time action that requires a commitment to repeatedly honor the 4 promises.

God’s love for us that enables our forgiveness through Christ is the power and motivation to help you rid your heart of all bitterness.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children.  And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Eph. 4:29-5:2)

Pastor Kent

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