Image by Frits Ahlefeldt
This morning started out with the Lord tugging on my heart to spend some time with Him. I didn’t. I’m struggling with the fact the maker of heaven and earth is inviting me to spend time with Him and I continue to prefer a warm comfortable bed. I am living proof that the sluggard turns on his bed like a door on its hinges.1 I don’t want to be this way, however there is a reality I must face that says comfort has become my idol. What if I was one of the three that were faced with bowing down to an idol or be thrown into the fiery furnace – would I choose to honor the Creator of heaven and earth?2 The evidence doesn’t look good.
There are occasions when it is most difficult to be around my wife; this morning was one of those times. It was like being around an angry bear and everything seemed to escalate the situation. I tried to play dead. Even when your playing dead sometimes the bear comes over and mauls you to see if there is any life. Was she saying, “love me, I’m hurting” or was she just trying to make my life miserable because she was miserable? In the moment, I concluded the later although now that I’ve had time to think about it I think she needed to be loved.
When I began to reflect on how the morning started I thought it would have been nice if my wife had a reset button. The kids and I would have re-booted her several times, if we could have gotten close enough; it can be a dangerous proposition to get that close to an angry bear. I thought about how she probably needed some love and then I heard my daughter say, “you need a hug” and gave the angry bear a hug. I was stunned! I actually thought, I couldn’t do that, right? I mean, how do you hug a cactus?
Because of the way I handled the situation the Lord stopped me and met me with a gift. He is faithful and His promises endure forever. He confirmed His love for me through his word. You know how the bible says at what ever point you judge someone you do the very same thing… He brought conviction! I humbled myself in agreement with Him. I was the one who needed the reset button! I was the cactus!
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you towards repentance? But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.3
Revelation: This was a divine opportunity to love my wife; to love her like Christ loved the church! I denied her…. I denied Him. Like Peter, I said, “I don’t know him”.4 What you say? This isn’t a stretch, didn’t Jesus himself say, “What ever you do to the least, you do unto me”?5 I had judged my wife as the least, I pretended not to know her, I played dead in her time of need.
Reflection: Where did I go wrong? What if I had responded to the invitation to meet with the maker of heaven and earth in the early morning? Would the uncomfortableness of leaving my bed out weighed the uncomfortableness of the morning as it unfolded? Did God in His infinite wisdom know that I needed to prepare for what was about to unfold? Did God have my best interest at heart when He extended the invitation to meet with Him? Was His early morning timing perfect? Does He know how much sleep I need?
I answered no to those questions (except maybe the last one) because I was looking to an idol to meet my needs and I reaped the blessings of the idol. The blessings of idols are curses that prevent me from receiving the goodness of the Lord. I have been hording God’s mercy and His grace. I had a limited supply of something that is unlimited because I had cut myself off from God, the source, through Judgments. Until I release those I hold in Judgment there is no mercy and grace for me. I am bound in unforgiveness awaiting judgment.
My Prayer: God, I forgive my wife and release her from all judgments, please forgive me. Forgive me for hording your mercy and grace. Forgive me for not loving my wife like Christ loves the church. Please extend your mercy and grace that I may extend it to my wife and love like you do: unconditionally. Thank you for convicting me. Thank you for loving me.