Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Guilt Free

“Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be—
    you get a fresh start, your slate’s wiped clean.

Count yourself lucky—God holds nothing against you
    and you’re holding nothing back from him.” Psalm 32:1-2 the Message

Okay let me say at the outset that while I prefer this particular translation of these two verses, I dislike the use of the word “lucky”.  Luck plays no role in the Kingdom of God.  Other translations start with “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven…” which better appeals to my sensibilities.  So you’re thinking “Then why did you use the Message version?”  You were thinking that weren’t you?  The reason is because I prefer the words that follow, i.e. “you get a fresh start…” and “God holds nothing against you…”

Most of the couples who come to see me as a counselor have many things in common.  Let me name two.  First, the problem with the marriage always resides in the other person and secondly each partner comes in with their own list of grievances of how they have been hurt by the other.

My approach to counseling is more prescriptive and it stresses being future focused.  If I keep replaying in my head all the ways my partner has hurt me how helpful is that?  Do you think those messages are coming from God?  If so, guess again.  God doesn’t forget our sins but He chooses not to remember them.  “The slate is wiped clean.”  The more we understand God’s grace toward us the more ready we are to forgive someone else.

As I see it couples who are struggling in their marriage have a few choices.  Seek fulfillment somewhere else, find the one person in the universe, who doesn’t exist, who will make you happy.  Or you can stay together, live parallel lives, and try to minimize further damage.  OR you can do everything it takes to have joy in your marriage, which would be God’s desire for you and your spouse.  But you don’t know what my husband/wife is like.  Your right, I don’t but I have seen enough couples that I know it is pride and self-centeredness that is often what derails couples from making their marriage work.

First you each need to have a vertical relationship with the Lord.  The stronger the vertical relationship the stronger the horizontal.  You need the Holy Spirit!  Secondly you need to be able to approach your marriage as though you are the biggest problem in your marriage and are willing to change, even if you think you are only contributing one percent to the problems.

Why the Holy Spirit?  Because without Him it is unlikely that you will be able to make the changes that each partner will need to make.  That’s why those who enter marriage as a covenant relationship will do the work because they realize that there is no exit strategy and they are not willing to be miserable for forty more years.

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