See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no "root of bitterness" springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.
I'd like to go out on a limb here and call this gift something very different: bitterness.
Yes, bitterness. Definitely not a gift when you look at it like that.
"If what you see best is what's wrong with things, then that's a sure sign of bitterness and resentment in the soul. If you're an expert on the weaknesses of things, and you think that's your gift to help places get better, I'm telling you something is wrong with your heart. If you find it difficult to celebrate wins and celebrate good things, I'm telling you, you have a root in you that' not healthy, so let's lay those things down." (From Matt Chandler's 6/8/13 sermon - "What Is the Church?")Honestly, the vast majority of us are "gifted" with this ability to see what is wrong with a person. It's very easy to see what we don't like, but let's not pretend that it's a good thing. This bitterness might be laced with a heavy dose of arrogance and self-blindness. I think it starts with forgetting that we all are on equal footing.
No one is righteous, no, not one. (Romans 3:10-11)After you forget that no one has arrived at any state of perfection, you forget that God has given each of us grace and forgiven each of us, including your imperfect husband.
When you forget both those things, you start to zero in on your husband's faults. You twist the helpmeet idea to mean that in order to "help" him become more Christlike, you should be pointing out all those areas in which he could improve. You start criticizing. Nonstop. And when this happens, your perspective has officially been skewed. You are out of balance. You no longer see the good things, but only the bad things. You no longer see strengths, you only see weaknesses.
Bitter, jaded, angry, unforgiving people are evangelists into their own jaded worldview. They refuse to let other people experience the pleasure of things. They point out weaknesses. They point out failures. They point out shortcomings. They are jaded men and women who want to invite others into their unforgiveness, bitterness and rage. (From Matt Chandler's 9/23/12 sermon "City on a Hill - Part 4: A Heart at Peace".Are there areas in which your husband needs to change? Of course! Should you sometimes lovingly point them out? Of course! But when all you see is problems, sins, shortcomings, and failures, you can pretty much bet that you are bitter. You are angry. You are resentful and you are withholding forgiveness. When I finally recognize that I myself am doing this towards my husband or anyone else, I can actually feel the sneer and haughtiness on my face. It's ugly.
So if you find yourself stuck in this mire of bitterness, how do you get out?
1) Recognize and repent from your own arrogance and forgetfulness.
2) Pray for your heart to be changed; specifically ask God to show you positive qualities and behaviors to focus on. There is always something positive to focus on. Maybe he isn't a good husband right now, but he absolutely adores your children. Maybe he's really bad at leaving his socks all over the floor every single stinkin day, but he always keeps your lawn looking spectacular.
3) Take every thought captive. When you start to find yourself dwelling on your husbands genuine weaknesses, stop the thought. Replace it with a thought about his strengths.
I won't pretend that some of you aren't completely justified in feeling bitter or angry. I also won't pretend that forgiving a frustrating, unloving, imperfect husband is a piece of cake. It's not. Not at all. But just because something is really, REALLY hard, does NOT mean that it's impossible. You cannot do this on your own. You do not have the strength within yourself to forgive and love and see the good things. And that is actually a good thing because you have now been given a gift: you have been given an opportunity to depend on Christ instead of yourself. You've been given the chance to see God's power in action as you ask for, and receive an impossible love for your husband. Why would you want to miss that opportunity?
Sharing with: To Love, Honor and Vacuum; Deep Roots at Home; We Are That Family; Wedded Wednesday