There’s a picture hanging in our home that says, “Life is a gift we’re given each and every day. That’s why it’s called the present.” The truth of this statement has become even more real to Cindy and me (Steve) in our marriage over the past few weeks. Life IS a gift!
Because I’ve been a Type-1 diabetic for over 40 years we learned a long time ago that we have no “guarantee of tomorrow.” Life is more fragile than we sometimes realize. And then with the serious heart attack I had a little over two weeks ago, the gift of life has become all the more precious to us. We truly are blessed.
What about you?
Are you living your life in a way that shows that the breath God has given you is truly a blessing? And are you living your life so you are blessing others –particularly to your spouse? According to what we’re told in 1 Peter 3:9, you are to “bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” Of course, there are conditions that come with this blessing. We are not to “repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling.” We’re also told, according to verses 10-12 to keep our “tongue from evil,” turn away from evil and do good” and “seek peace and pursue it.”
I’ve been joking with Cindy lately when I unintentionally irritate her to, “Remember, I’m a gift.” I can usually get her to laugh at that point, to which she says, “You’re a gift all right!” And then she smiles and we either discuss what has happened in a less heated way, or we just go past it.
Using humor and laughter has been a blessing in our marriage. It has helped us to enjoy life together more, and tamp down the seriousness of some of the situations that occur. Sure we have some serious “talks”. But we bless and are blessed when we can apply humor and bring laughter into our lives (at appropriate times). It really IS good medicine!
You are Called to Bless.
In talking about life being a gift, please read what we’re told in 1 Peter 3:8-12.
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
What Cindy and I see in these verses is that God wants to bless us. BUT He also issues a very stern warning to each of us not to abuse this gift; this blessing He gives to us. We challenge you (individually and as a couple, if possible) to ask the Lord to show you your strengths and your weaknesses in these verses. Then PRAY for how you are to apply them in your marriage.
Despite It All…
Despite the irritations and adversities (like personality differences, heart attacks, car crashes, financial setbacks) God can bring good. We have the opportunity to grow in ways we never could have otherwise, if we’re humble and teachable. The question is, when we’re challenged, do we find ways to grow through it? Or do we instead, “do evil” repaying “evil for evil or reviling for reviling?”
Cindy and I have often lived by and encouraged others to live by the following principle. “Don’t allow yourself to believe the lie that because you hurt so badly, solutions to do that, which you should not, are acceptable.” They are not. Look for healthy solutions.
Their Sin Never Justifies Yours
We agree with Gary Thomas, when he said:
“Your greatest temptation to sin is when someone first sins against you. But THEIR sin never justifies YOUR sin. Fighting your mate’s irresponsibility with irresponsibility of your own is like pouring gasoline on a fire; it just makes things that much more explosive, that much worse. The Bible recommends a different approach: let love conquer evil; let responsibility shame irresponsibility.
“It’s a spiritual fact that kindness kills wickedness far more effectively than nagging, complaining, or disrespect. Remember, God won us with grace when we were His rebellious enemies. He doesn’t ask anything of you that He hasn’t already done for Himself. And this same God says that we are responsible to love, even in the face of another’s irresponsibility.
“Peter wrote, ‘Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing‘ (1 Peter 3:9). Did you catch that? We’re called to respond to evil with blessing. It’s not human nature to be sinned against and think, ‘How can I bless this person who just hurt me?’ But such a spiritually powerful practice yields every effective results. Regardless of how anyone else acts, we’re still accountable before God for our responses. (From book, “Sacred Influence”)
Life is a Gift
I see life as both a gift and a responsibility. My responsibility is to use what God has given me to help his people in need. (Millard Fuller)
Look for ways to bless your spouse. Enjoy life; it truly is a gift that we shouldn’t take for granted. And make sure you spend it in such a way that God is blessed too. We hope you will. We also hope you will find ways to bless your spouse, and we pray you will be blessed.
Steve and Cindy Wright
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