Author Linda Dillow and who has been married to her husband Jody for 46 years challenges spouses on loving Christ’s way in her book, What’s It Like to Be Married to Me? She emphasizes the importance of allowing the Holy Spirit to inhabit our relationships.
The way we love those close to us is an open door for hard forgiveness and showing the way of Jesus. Close relationships have a space of intimacy that can be fertile ground for genuine ministry, repentance and change.
Real, good love comes from God and loving well in relationships showcases him. Considering this, Linda raises a question:
Who are we going to give to first?
People on outside of our homes can be very thankful for the gifts we give or acts of service we perform. On the other hand, husbands, children and parents don’t always remember to thank us.
Nonetheless, a life of loving extravagantly starts in the relationships closest to us.
“Where God wants me to be holy is first in my home. He wants me to walk in integrity. He wants me to be aware of the words that come out of my mouth because they can either build up or tear down. And, he wants me to be aware of my spirit. Am I holding bitterness or anger in my heart?”
Loving well showcases Christ, but holding bitterness or anger against a spouse or family member showcases our sinful selves. While anger may seem to give power and comfort, it drowns out the voice of conviction and doesn’t leave room for growth. In the Scripture, Christ is clear about our call to forgive.
“It never says, ‘If your husband deserves it.’ He says, ‘You forgive as I forgave you.'”
Forgiveness is freedom.