Divorce, Forgiveness, Healing and Reconciliation, Judging, Suffering

Are You Really Sorry?

In this episode of the Purposed Marriage Podcast, we discuss the importance of genuine repentance and the role it plays in the process of reconciliation.

“I Want to Say I’m Sorry” by Andrew Peterson

Anger, Christian Walk, Couseling, Divorce, Forgiveness, Healing and Reconciliation, Judging, Marriage

Humble Yourself

When I made the decision to file for divorce, I was full of self-righteous anger. I deserved so much more out of my marriage and from my husband. Perceiving Tommy’s flaws worse than my own, I felt superior. In reality, I had such backwards thinking. I lacked mercy towards him and was constantly finding Tommy at fault. I didn’t have time to scrutinize myself because I was too busy keeping a record of his wrongs. And, every chance I got, I took the opportunity to point out his offenses towards me. Rehashing past failures never offered solutions to our martial problems, rather, it led to further bitterness, resentment and anger in his heart and in mine.

The years of turmoil took a toll on our marriage. It strained our relationship to the point where I felt completely defeated. Instead of turning to God with my hurt and pain, I allowed the devil a foothold in my marriage. The enemy slowly drove a wedge deeper and deeper between me and my beloved. Over time, my attitude towards Tommy changed as well as my patterns of thinking. The dangers of not taking every thought captive soon spiraled out of control. Thoughts I would have easily dismissed in the past were now stirring around in my mind daily. I had completely given myself over to the lies of the enemy and was no longer guarding my heart. Inevitably, separation and divorce quickly followed.

Self-righteousness is terribly destructive, and sneaks into the heart and mind making it nearly impossible to show genuine love towards others. Is there any characteristic more deceptive? We hate to see self-righteousness in others, yet we will defend it in our own lives. The bible makes it clear that God despises pride, which is at the root of self- righteousness. We see this in the parable Jesus tells of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18. The Pharisee elevated himself above everyone else looking down on others, whereas the tax collector recognized he was a sinner and asked for God’s mercy.

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.
Luke 18:14

At the point in my brokenness, where I became more repulsed by my sin than that of Tommy’s, the tide began to turn. The Holy Spirit revealed the depravity of my own heart and redirected my anger inward. I had to face reality, my sin was equal to his in the eyes of the Lord. Ultimately, I realized the best way to change my husband was to humble myself.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Psalms 51:17

In Christ,
Amy Larson

Forgiveness, Judging, Marriage

Examine Your Own Heart

You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Matthew 7:5

When a spouse has made the decision to turn against you and the Lord by abandoning the vows made before God, it’s a natural instinct to point the finger of blame. But how many of us pause and take a look at our own lives, which in many cases, played a role in cultivating an environment conducive to marital disaster? The realization of my own contribution to our marital demise came far too late for me, because for years I was consumed with judging my spouse’s actions and not my own. Sadly, this delay in spiritual self-awareness exacted a heavy toll on our family, marriage and my relationship with Christ.

At the beginning of my stand, I remember being focused on what my wife was doing and how she was acting. Early on, my conversations with others typically involved describing her behavior and painting myself as a victim. It was so very clear to me that what she was doing was wrong, but it wasn’t until I began really diving into Scripture that I realized my focus and attention was off base. The eyes of scrutiny had been aimed in the wrong direction. I was so focused on my spouse, that I had grown blind to my own iniquities.

Through the course of Biblical counseling, and intentional quiet times with the Lord, I began to understand how misguided this perspective was. Correcting my flawed point of view meant turning the eyes of scrutiny completely on myself and allowing the Lord to expose the parts of my own life that had not fallen under complete submission to the Holy Spirit. When I was able to stop focusing on the actions of my spouse and instead became more aware of my own sin and shortcomings, my heart and mind gradually became transformed. This metamorphosis was not something accomplished on my own. To be clear, without a steady diet of Gospel truth and transparent conversations with the God, my spirit would have no doubt remained the same. Of this I am certain.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:2

The path to restoration and healing is never paved with bitterness and resentment. If you recognize your own heart is filled with animosity towards your spouse, with the help of the Holy Spirit, purpose right now to change. Relationships are reconciled and grievances forgiven when both parties put off anger and instead put on love and compassion. You may not be able to control or suppress the malice directed towards you at this point, but over time, the transforming power of Christ exhibited in your own life will produce seeds that will one day bear fruit. As God’s Word tells us, do not grow tired or weary in well doing, for in due season we will reap if we faint not. May we all learn to focus our efforts on becoming more like Christ through the examination of our own hearts and minds. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you today and when conviction sets in, purpose to set your thoughts, words, and deeds under the full submission of God and His holy Word.

In Christ,

Tommy Larson