I ended last week’s post in the series, The Many Faces of Grace, with this question: When is it unhealthy or “enabling” to overlook an insult or sin in my spouse (or other offender)?
I think the questions to consider in this kind of situation are:
- Is it destructive to one or more relationships? (Creating a relational wall)
- Is it harming the person’s testimony as a Christ-follower?
- Is it a repeated pattern?
Please extend some grace to me as I back up for a moment before plowing ahead. I briefly mentioned the very first “face of grace”—saving grace—in last week’s post. That’s the grace that all the other faces of grace stand upon.
If you don’t have a saving relationship with Christ, then you won’t be able to adequately do or show any of the other “faces of grace” in your marriage and life. Read more about this saving grace here.
Just for fun and illustration, I’d like to give each of the faces of grace a nickname appropriate to the “face” that is shown when that grace is activated.
So for “saving grace,” I think “Grace” is the most accurate and straightforward nickname to choose.
Regarding the “face of grace” I discussed last week that involved patience, acceptance and humble forgiveness, I think “Patti” for “patience” would be a good nickname. Don’t you?
As I eluded to above, there are times when extending grace involves confrontation, so maybe we could call that face of grace, “Connie”—short for Confront (Middle name “When” and last name “Necessary”). 😉
Before I discuss how to graciously confront in this series, I’d like to unveil yet another face of grace that comes in the gap of waiting to confront or not.
This face could be called, “Pete”—short for “petition.”
Here’s how Pete helps in the gap . . .
Let’s say my hubby said something hurtful to me. I then choose to show the face of grace known as “Patti”—showing him patience by not saying or doing anything to react to his offense. I simply continue to treat him with kindness in my tone, words, and attitude.
Would that be where grace ends? It could be. Unfortunately, sometimes this is where it stops in my life.
But here’s the thing, leaving it there often means that I’ve just given Satan an opportunity to step into this “gap” with his destructive schemes. If I don’t show up with “Pete” in tow, I leave not only my heart and relationship vulnerable to attack and discouragement, but I leave my husband’s heart and life unguarded. 😦
[Tweet “This is when I petition the Lord in prayer—asking for more grace to be applied. #PetePrayer”]
My prayer might sound like this: “Father, I ask You to open my husband’s eyes to the ways he has hurt me. Also, replace the angry or hurtful words he might be tempted to say with loving words instead—giving him the ability to avoid hurting me in the future. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
Every day that I pray that prayer for my husband, I’m seizing another opportunity to extend grace to him. It doesn’t matter if my spouse realizes I’m “extending” God’s grace to him. The point is, God is invited to work more actively in my spouse’s heart. Besides . . .
Jesus loves to answer a prayer like that!
Don’t forget! You might want to pray a similar “Pete” prayer for your own heart—asking God to protect you against bitterness and to open your eyes to any ways you’ve negatively contributed as well.
[Tweet “Doing this act of grace daily can radically change the atmosphere in your marriage.”]
Next week I will be talking about “Connie”—the confrontational face of grace. The funny thing about “Connie’s” face is that it often changes depending on the way my spouse or offender responds. Oh my!
[Tweet “Christian bloggers, join us at From Messes to Messages linkup! #MessyMarriage”]
What’s been a negative way you’ve handled this “gap time” after your spouse has hurt you?
(Remember … Confession is good for the soul!)
How long or how many hurtful actions do you think it takes before you should confront your mate?
Be sure to scroll down to comment below!
Here are some lovely linkups I join – Christian Blogger Community, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Testimony Tuesday, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Writer Wednesday, Coffee and Conversation, Coffee for Your Heart, Faith and Friends, Sitting Among Friends, Moments of Hope, Literary Musing Mondays, Fresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday
Let’s Get this ‘From Messes to Messages’ Linkup Started!
Add any links that are uplifting, helpful and encouraging to our spiritual lives, marriages and families! Be sure to add a link on your blog back to “From Messes to Messages” or Messy Marriage as well. For linkup guidelines/button, click here.