[Part four of a four-part series]
Today we’re once again continuing our CHEER for our husbands!
Count it a joy to serve together
Hear his heart
Reconcile quickly. There is a story of a PW who told her husband on their wedding night she would never hide anything from him save one thing, the contents of a box she would keep under their bed. After 20 years of her having this secret, her husband finally asked what was in the box. She reluctantly told him, “It’s two eggs and $1000. You see, every time you preached a good sermon, I put in $1.” The pastor smiled at this and said, “What about the two eggs?” She admitted that she put in one egg every time he preached a bad sermon. “Well, that’s pretty good for 20 years worth of preaching!” he said. She swallowed hard and said, “Yes, but every time I got a dozen eggs, I sold them.” The squabble that ensued is not worth writing about, but the ways a pastoral couple can quickly reconcile are worth discussing. Do you have a hidden box of hurtful words or thoughts against your husband?
Four Steps of ForGIVEness
(adapted from Caring for the Heart Ministries*)
1. Release the person who has hurt us.
While possibly the hardest, this step also needs to be the first. When we hold onto our hurt against someone, we suffer, not them. Once I was mad at my husband for a week and determined not to apply Ephesians 4:26, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.” I habitually sleep facing my husband, but this week I chose to roll over and sleep on the opposite side. I slept horribly and had an ache in my heart every morning. I finally released him and the pain to the Lord. My husband was so gracious when I brought up what was bothering me. Releasing the person who has hurt us is the first step towards healing, and quite possibly, a good night of sleep.
2. Pay the emotional pain their hurt has caused us…willingly.
I hate to overpay for something or, even worse, to pay for something I never wanted in the first place! I am learning to open wide the wallet of my heart and, yes, even willingly, pay for the hurt others cause me. God budgets big grace not only to us personally, but also to help us forgive others. I Peter 2:23 says, “When He was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, He did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly.” As PWs, it’s our privilege to keep short accounts with our shepherd-husbands as they prepare to weekly shepherd the flock.
3. Let Jesus heal the damage done to our heart.
This is perhaps the easiest step and flows freely after the other two. Jesus is an expert healer and knows down to the last drop what kind of healing balm we need. Let His healing in. “He heals the brokenhearted….” Psalm 147:3a
4. Ask Jesus: What do You want me to do with the pain in my heart that resulted from the hurt?
As we ask Jesus what He wants us to do with our pain, we are in essence asking Him to take it. Instead of letting us continue to bleed, Jesus wants to personally bind up our wounds (Psalm 147:3b). Four things happen almost simultaneously in this fourth and final step of forgiveness. We give our pain to Jesus; we let Him take it; we let Jesus’ healing in; and we let the pain out. Creator God wired us to experience forgiveness; it’s life-giving. As we ask Him in prayer, Jesus can lead us to a specific scripture or word picture as He shows us what to do with our pain. This is what David did often throughout the Psalms. My favorite example of this is Psalm 119:28, “My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to Your Word!” We see pain and a plea for healing juxtaposed; we see sustaining hope from God’s Word. When we ask Jesus what to do with our pain, we are in essence trusting that He can melt away the heavy weight of our pain and call forth new life. Ask Jesus today; He has a perfect history.
Dear pastor’s wives, let’s reconcile NOW with our husband. Pray for your husband to be gracious to you even as you are gracious to him; being married to a PW can be difficult, too. I have learned that it’s impossible for me to be mad at someone I am praying for regularly.
Prayer: I pray that the God of endurance and encouragement would help __________(couple’s names) to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together _________ (couple’s names) would with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:5-6
*Caring for the Heart Ministries is an effective counseling ministry with 1000+ couples counseled to freedom; it was founded by a pastoral couple. My husband and I have used their biblical resources personally and with others in counseling.
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