Well, my husband did X, so – it’s ok if I do Y.
Some fictional examples:
- My husband cussed me out, so I yelled and screamed and told him he is the worst father on the planet in front of our kids and told them they don’t have to listen to their dad anymore.
- My husband used porn, so I told everyone in my family about it and all my friends and the whole Sunday School class and told them what an ungodly man he is. I am so much more spiritually mature than he is. True, I kept refusing to have sex with him for months and months because I didn’t feel loved enough because he didn’t show me love the way I wanted him to. But, surely I am exempt from God’s commands in I Corinthians 7:1-5 not to withhold sex from my husband if I don’t feel loved enough. He betrayed me by using porn. I would never do that to him. It hurt me so much, there is no way I am ever going to forgive him.
- I told my husband to take out the trash. After 15 minutes, he still hadn’t done it! I was furious! He had worked a 12 hour day and was watching a race. He never helps me! If he really loved me, he would have gotten right up within 10 seconds and he would have taken out the trash. So I spent an hour last night berating him and lecturing him about how a real husband would help his wife and children and how he can’t do anything right and how I made the biggest mistake of my life by marrying him. He ignored me and watched TV, so I turned off the TV and threw the remote across the bed and got in his face so he would hear me about what I need him to do. I have to treat him like a child or he won’t listen to me.
- My husband never prays or reads his Bible. I can quote hundreds of verses in the Bible. I spend 30 minutes every day reading my Bible and praying. I am so much closer to God than my husband is. It’s obvious that I know better than he does and I should be in charge, not him. I tell my husband all the time that he needs to be a better Christian. Why won’t he listen to me?
- My husband was driving the wrong way to my parent’s house. It was going to take FIVE MORE MINUTES to go the way he wanted to go. So I told him he was going the wrong way and that he was such a bad driver and that he was wasting our time taking us this way. Why can’t he just do exactly what I tell him to all the time?
- My husband isn’t treating me the way I want him to, so I can turn to this other man at work for emotional support. I don’t even think of myself as being married after what my husband has done, so, it’s no big deal if I get involved physically with another man.
The temptation is always there – to focus on my husband’s sin (or just ways he is different from me) and what HE needs to change in my view. As long as that is my focus, my sinful, wicked and deceitful heart will have a field day. I can convince myself that any sin in my life is totally justifiable. This is the whole premise of that Carrie Underwood song where she sings about how she trashes her boyfriend’s truck because he cheated on her. It’s ok for me to destroy property and cause thousands of dollars of damage because he hurt me. I can take vengeance in my own hands. Never mind what God says about “Vengeance is mine” and “I will repay.” (Romans 12:9-21)
- If my husband sins against me in some way, then it is totally fine for me to resent him, humiliate him in public, refuse to forgive him, hold on to bitterness, disrespect him, dishonor him, undermine him as a father in front of the children, be self-righteous, have tons of pride in my own heart, look down on him, try to control him and force him to submit to me, condemn him, commit adultery, scream at him, disobey God’s commands for me as a wife and believer in Christ, boss him around, threaten him, hit him, throw things at him and treat him however I want to. I’m sure God is totally fine with that, right? I mean, HIS sin is obviously MUCH WORSE than my sin! My sin doesn’t really bother God. It’s only my husband’s sin that offends God, really.
YIKES!!!!!!!! This is exactly the kind of reasoning I used to have to justify my sin and to be blind to my own sin. Oh it is so ugly to look at now!!!!! How I cringed writing those examples!
The thing is – God doesn’t give us a”get out of sin free” card under any circumstances.
I AM WITHOUT EXCUSE BEFORE A HOLY AND RIGHTEOUS GOD
When I am sinned against, God does not excuse my sin. Jesus was sinned against – and He responded without sin. He wants us as His children to be so full of His Spirit that we always respond in the power of God in obedience to Him, too. He commands us to be holy as He is holy. When I am sinned against, I am definitely most tempted to sin in return – Gary Thomas “Sacred Influence.” But God will judge me for my sin alone. There will be no excuses for sin that will hold water in His holy presence. God hates sin. All sin. I may think “my sin is not as bad as my husband’s sin” or so-and-so’s sin, but –
God does not look at sin the way we do. He hates it all. It is ALL utterly repulsive and offensive to Him.
My sin is between me and God, primarily. My sin has nothing to do with what other people do to me. My sin is about my character, the power of God working in my life and my willingness to joyfully obey God and allow Him to fill me with His Spirit to give me the power to walk in obedience. PRAISE GOD there is forgiveness, mercy, grace, healing and cleansing in the blood of Jesus. We ALL desperately need Him!
Spoken by King David after God showed him his sin of murder and adultery:
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against You, You only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in Your sight;
so You are right in Your verdict
and justified when You judge.
** If you are in actual danger, please find help and get somewhere safe!
So, even if my husband cusses me out, cheats on me, sins against, me, wrongs me, cheats me, says hateful things to me, ignores me, is unloving to me, is selfish, unkind, rude, mean, disrespectful, etc… God calls me:
- not to “repay evil with evil” but to “overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:9-21)
- to forgive (For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:14-15)
- to find the way out from temptation that God promises to provide for His children (I Corinthians 10:13)
- to respond in the power of the Spirit of God with His supernatural love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)
- to refuse to hold on to bitterness (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. Ephesians 4:31-32)
- to respond with the agape love of God (Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. I Corinthians 13:4-8)
- to love others sincerely and genuinely (Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart. I Peter 1:22)
- to “endure hardships as discipline” (Hebrews 12)
- to “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
- to love God with all my heart, mind, soul and strength and love all other people (including my husband and my enemies) with the love of God (Luke 10:26-28)
- to not to hate my brother. (We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. I John 4:19-21)
- to not live in fear. (There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. I John 4:18)
- to live in His peace. (You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3)
I have no excuse before God. My life is to be free from sin. I cannot cling to pride, self-righteousness, gossip, hatred, resentment, bitterness, idolatry, unbelief, rebellion against God, worldliness, greed, materialism, lying, stealing, lust, adultery, murder, arguing, complaining, etc… All the sin has to go. Every trace of it. It grieves my Lord’s heart! How can I bear to cause Him pain? After He died to free me from the penalty of all my sin and wretchedness? How can I continue living in sin and not be greatly grieved myself?
My precious sisters, let’s repent of every sin, confessing them all to God, and find forgiveness, cleansing, wholeness and healing in Christ through His blood shed for us!!!! And let us live lives of obedience by the power of God flowing through us. May He continue to make us more and more like Jesus. May our lives bring great glory to His Name!
Let’s apply these commands of our Lord to how we treat our husbands!
27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” 39 He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher. 41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”
These are just a few of the commands God gives us as believers in Christ. May we walk in obedience to our Lord Jesus and may He empower us to be faithful to Him no matter what our circumstances or how others may sin against us.
You are welcome to share what you are learning, prayer requests, encouragement for other wives, questions and struggles. We are all in this together, my sweet sisters!
Grace Filled Marriage by Dr. Timothy Keller