Written By: Mandy Hill
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:7)
My husband and I recently heard the one of the coolest stories from a good friend of ours and I couldn’t wait to share it with you all. I pray that it speaks to your heart as uniquely as it spoke to ours.
Imagine a tall glass of beautifully clear sparkling water. This water is pure, fresh and clean; similar to that of a new relationship. Think back to those early days in your relationship with your spouse. There was simplicity and joy; it was pure and free of conflict.
Imagine that glass again – but with an added spoonful of salt. When that salt gets dumped in, the water is no longer clear, pure, fresh or clean; instead it is cloudy, complicated and bitter. Likewise, when unresolved conflict clouds your relationship with your spouse things get complicated and hearts grow in bitterness.
Let all bitterness, wrath, anger and slander be put away from you. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32
Sometimes forgiving your spouse is tough work! Especially for someone with a tendency to be stubborn like myself. 😉 Even after forgiveness has been given, I sometimes hang on to that hurt and bitterness.
Let’s imagine that glass again. A significant amount of time has passed and now the salt has settled onto the bottom. The water is clear once again but there is still the salty residual that we are holding onto deep at the bottom of the glass. Similarly, when we forgive our spouse without allowing God to heal the wounds from our conflict, essentially we hang onto residual bitterness.
Things may appear clear and fresh again but what happens when your spouse says or does something that reminds you of that conflict? It would be like someone bumping into that glass that had the residual salt at the bottom. Once bumped, the salt resurfaces and spins around the glass again causing disorder. If we don’t trust God to take away the bitterness in our hearts and choose to genuinely forgive our spouse, that residual salt will always be there to cause us grief.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
The good news is this, Jesus can filter our ‘salt’, sisters! Like this story with the glass, hanging on to our ‘salt’ only hurts ourselves. Let’s give that residual over to God and allow Him to pour us a big tall glass of fresh water. Allow God to restore your relationship back to that place of pure joy with your husband. He’s waiting for you.
Father God, please help us to be better at giving up that residual that our flesh so desperately wants to hang on to! Let us choose to trust You to take away the residual as we release forgiveness to our offenders (whether the offender be our husband or anyone else for that matter!) Thank You that in You, we can find peace that completely erases conflict and find restoration in its place. I pray for my sisters who are dealing with residual this very day, please remind them that ‘love bears all things!’ Thank You, Jesus for never leaving us alone to battle things on our own; we do desperately need You. In Your name, Jesus, Amen.