Show Me Where to Start

“This isn’t right – I gotta fix this…I miss my family!” This is what a close friend said to me as he described what made him fight for his marriage. With two children, a mortgage, and a job that he didn’t feel was worth waking up to each morning, it became more than a notion for this man in his thirties; it had become overwhelming. He and his wife had separated after only five years of marriage, and during their separation, he grew even more despondent. He began to feel so isolated from his family that he couldn’t see how he and his wife could fix what was broken. Neither one of them could imagine submitting to the other for the sake of their family’s unity and peace.

Jesus Christ said in Matthew 5:9(NLT), “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.” There are many ways to bring peace to any situation, but it takes humility, love, and a heart that is eager to please God. Peace work requires that we release all claims to pride, and the need to control and be right. This is very difficult for some of us. Anyone that is going through or has gone through a difficult time in their marriage can attest to the fact that it’s easier to run away from the problems than to stand strong and face them head on.

As women, we have endured a lot, and still continue to endure a great deal. We don’t have the luxury of being weak; too many depend on our strength. We run to God because like the song says, ‘we’ve tried Him, and we know He’s all right!’ Our backs have been against the wall enough times to know that He’ll never leave us or forsake us, but sometimes our strength is entangled with stubbornness. Our tenacity, when it’s stretched too thin, can be tainted with bitterness. Then we say to God, “Why is it always me that has to change? Why do I have to do all the emotional acrobatics all the time? Why doesn’t he ever have to come clean and surrender too?”

Our Lord and Savior answers these questions so beautifully in Matthew 5:13-14(NLT), “13 You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. 14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.”  We add flavor to the lives of those we love and know, and it is because we are the lights of the world. It should be our highest privilege and honor to show people the unyielding endurance of the love of Christ. Forgiving others keeps us salty. Making peace keeps our light bright. He never said it was easy. It’s hard work sometimes, and that’s why peace-work comes with such great rewards.

It doesn’t matter how many times we have to rein ourselves in, especially when we’re cringing and about to burst because we want to say something and speak our minds so bad. We must hold our tongues. The rebellious part of us despises this. We don’t want to submit to anyone, and we don’t want anyone to have authority over us, but the truth of it is that marriage requires submission. Both spouses must be submissive and committed to one another. And yes, sometimes it will feel like one person has a greater portion of this than the other, but the wonderful part about it is that God blesses those who work for peace. The reward will be evident in the quality of our unions.

No matter how broken things may seem, we can roll up our sleeves and ask God to “Show me where to start!” He will show us how to create an environment of humility through the love of Christ. We must have faith that God will always hold us up, even when we let our guards down in our marriages. When we let down those barriers of rebellion, we will have cultivated a space and place where our partners feel emotionally safe to do the same. Through Christ, we can choose to be the peacemaker, and we will never regret the decision to do so. ■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

“Show Me Where to Start” written for Copyright©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

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