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I spent a lot of time this past weekend reflecting on the sacrifices that Jesus made for us, as I’m sure many did. In fact, Friday afternoon I was reading in Matthew about the events leading up to Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion, which I have read so many times in my life.
Then just Friday night as we were putting the kids to bed, tensions came to a head and my husband and I did not show the best versions of ourselves. (Hey, we are human!) He went on to put Addie to bed, and I stormed off to our bathroom to fume over it a bit more. As I stood in front of the mirror, I asked Jesus to give me some strength because I was at the end of what I felt like I could handle in that moment. Then I remembered a sermon on marriage that we had listened to recently.
See, marriage is not meant to be sunshine and rainbows. In fact, it’s not meant to be easy. Marriage is meant to sanctify us and teach us to be more like Christ. It is actually a place where the ugliest parts of us so often arise, and I don’t think that is by mistake. We can choose to peace out when things get hard, or we can choose to see that exposure for what it is-a call to pray for help and work on that area of ourselves.
In that moment of frustration and conviction, I prayed “Father, Instead of the vindication that I feel entitled to, may I seek the sanctification that you have called me to.” Instead of storming back into the room once it was just us and making sure that my point was made and everyone acknowledged that I was right and he was mean (hah!), I needed to follow the example of Jesus in the garden the night of his arrest.
“Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?””
Jesus was entitled to vindication, far moreso than I ever will be. It was His right to see that servant’s ear struck off. But He chose sanctification and grace over vindication. And if the purpose of marriage is sanctification, then I ought to do the same, right?!
Marriage is not the only avenue to practice this discipline though. We are wronged by people every day. The car that cuts us off. The keyboard warrior that gets us riled up on social media. The friend that ignores us or says a hurtful word. Our bosses and co-workers. The person who fights us for the last roll of toilet paper. 🙂
In every facet of our daily lives, instead of the vindication that we feel (and may very well be) entitled to, may we seek the sanctification that Christ has called us to.