I remember when I was still single. I was quite bitter back then, and very angry! Mostly because of the inequality I saw between the sexes in matters of the heart, and largely due to the atrocities I’d heard and seen men get away with. I was hardened and determined that I’d fall prey to no man. At least not again…
I thought of all the lessons that I’d learnt from being bitten one too many times. I believed that by building a hedge around me and a tall tower that only Prince Charming could climb, I’d be safe from ever being disappointed or heartbroken again. But God taught me otherwise.
He resisted my inevitable conclusions with His phenomenal wisdom. I could not rest assured in my castle because it was glaringly obvious that it was not a habitation of love, but in fact a sentence to misery. Love offers no security from harm. In fact, love promises that you will get hurt…but the pain will be worth the joy of surrendering completely to its enchantment.
The true test of love is the willingness and, ultimately, ability to forgive every conceivable wrong of the beloved. To enter into a sacred and binding commitment with another soul, one must be ready to become as gracious as God! That means being so contrite that you are able to deny pride and forsake self for the good of the other and the relationship.
So often we expect this contrition from others, without being contrite ourselves. We think because we have been hurt before, they must prove that they are worthy of our trust. But we must also prove that we are capable of love; that we are merciful and kind, long-suffering and gracious. Because that’s what it takes to last “until death do you part”! If you are not ready to forgive all, you are not ready to love.
I felt inspired to write this post today, not because I was pondering on forgiveness, but more about being gracious. In marriage, there are many opportunities to argue, to be angry and to take offence. Apart from natural causes, the devil loves to throw challenges to disrupt love, because he knows the power of love…
Often, we fall for these tests or give in to temptation to be selfish and unloving… Sometimes the reason one is angry is legitimate, and at other times, it’s simply overblown pettiness! But where there’s grace, love stands a chance!
This is the grace that allows room for error… It gives the other allowance to make mistakes, with the faith that the other loves them and is not intentionally out to hurt. This grace does not boast; constantly rubbing in the other’s face their failings nor keeping record of wrongs suffered and ‘forgiven’. Grace is an active strength to the other, reassuring them that you know that they are not perfect, but you love them anyway.
This is the grace that God gives us. It is a powerful grace that protects – not simply permitting – but showing through trials and tests that its love is unconditional. In conclusion, meditate on these words from Paul as you ponder on your readiness for love (and marriage):
“Love is patient and kind. Love does not envy and is not proud nor conceited. It is not rude nor selfish, nor is it easily provoked. It thinks no evil. It doesn’t rejoice in wrongdoing, but in righteousness. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. LOVE NEVER FAILS”. (1 Cor 13:4-8).
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