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Marriage: Laughter Instead of Anger

Ken Davis cracks me up! I’ve always appreciated his humor and enthusiasm for life. If you’ve never heard of him, you should check him out. This video makes me think of Mike and me later down the road. Shoot, we’re about like that now when we’re trying to argue across the house!

A few years ago I started making a “Top 10” list. I reflect on the past year, how I’ve grown, things I experienced, read, accomplished, and look at how God revealed himself to me through out the year. At the top of the list for this year will be “Learning to laugh more with Mike, instead of getting angry.” Here is a perfect example of what I mean.

I am a terrible passenger driver, as is Mike. I’m quick to criticize Mike and his driving. I typically criticize him on his speed, not because he’s going too fast, but because he goes slow! Yes, I know. Opposite of what you might’ve thought. I am really in to watching lights and the pedestrian signs. I watch the countdown to try and make the light. I think I became an expert at this because I used to have to drive across town almost every day to get to work.

So, Sunday morning rolls around and we’re running late to church. I always say I think God was playing a joke on me when He picked Mike for me, who as it turns out, is the slowest person I know and I am very much the opposite. Yah, we’re almost always late to church because of Mike. Anyways, I find myself saying often to Mike, “if you would have been going the speed limit, we would have probably made that light.” And there it is. The beginning of one of the most ridiculous arguments, on the way to church no less! Ha! I remember one time as we were making our way to church, I had coffee. I was pregnant and thinking about how this was probably going to make me pee all morning at church.

We were running late, of course, and I noticed we had already stopped at two lights that we probably could have made if we were going a smidge faster. I roll my eyes, thinking Praise and worship will be over by the time we get there. Bad mood ensuing. No, don’t try to hold my hand while you’re driving. I’m trying to be irritated with you. 

As I’m thinking of ways to be snooty with him, Mike quickly puts on the brakes before a light and some coffee spills on me. I can instantly tell that he’s expecting me to come unglued. In that instant, I thought to myself, if Asher was in the car, how it would look if I so disrespectfully get mad at Mike? The Holy Spirit reminded me of a verse I had read that morning from Proverbs. Side note: a friend of mine had said that if you aren’t sure what to read from the Bible, Proverbs is a good book to pick a chapter to read based on the day of the month. So, if it’s the 15th, I would read the 15th chapter in Proverbs. Anyways, I was about to get angry at Mike. I was reminded of Proverbs 15:15.

“A miserable heart means a miserable life; a cheerful heart fills the day with song.” (MSG)

I chose to laugh. I made some silly remark about how the coffee would attract people to my growing stomach anyways. Mike chuckled back. The drive to church instantly took a lighter mood. I think of other times when Mike would do things that would normally easily irritate me, but instead, I chose to laugh about it. I want to live the most joyful, cheerful, life possible. I can’t do that on my own. I’d get angry trying!

The Holy Spirit continues to reveal His Word to me. The Holy Spirit is the one who helps me grow in this area. Reminding me to always giving thanks. Counting it joy in the trials, knowing that I’m growing as a person. Laughter gives strength to spirit. Proverbs says a twinkle in the eye means joy in the heart (15:30). I think a twinkle in the eye also means more joy in your home. A home that I want to not only be joyful for Mike’s sake when he comes home from a hard day’s work, but also a joyful home for Asher to thrive in, especially as he gets older.

I’m certainly not perfect at this. There are always moments when I criticize instead of keeping my mouth shut or laughing with Mike so he doesn’t feel bad. Sometimes we jokingly do the “What?” game as Ken Davis joked to diffuse an argument. But the Spirit is helping me try not to watch the pedestrian lights count down anymore, at least while Mike’s driving.

Peace,
GloDo you find yourself fighting with your spouse all the time? Sometimes, laughing instead of getting angry may be the best alternative. Marriage tips and advice.

 

 

Why Can’t I Just Forgive?

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Sometimes when I’m mad at Mike, he might ask me if I’m still mad at him. Sometimes I respond, “I’m only on seventy times two right now!” He knows I’m referring to Peter in the book of Matthew.

“At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, ‘Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?’

Jesus replied, ‘Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.’ ”     Matthew 18:21-22

I always thought it was kind of funny that Peter gave a number of times when he asked Jesus this question. Seven does seem like a mystical number in the Bible. Maybe Peter was thinking, Hey, I can live with seven times, I mean six just doesn’t quite seem enough and more than that just gets to be too much! Ha! I can just see Jesus throwing his hands and shaking his head while slightly exclaiming, Seven! Thinking, Oh Peter, if you only understood

Why was Peter asking this? Jesus just finished explaining to them the importance of working out conflicts with someone who has hurt you. He makes it sound like a “process” of actively pursing and choosing to forgive that person. Jesus said try talking to him, if that doesn’t work, talk to him with someone else present, and if that doesn’t work, talk with someone who might offer guidance to him and guess what? If that doesn’t work, “you’ll have to start from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love” (Matt. 18:17).

What?!? Start from scratch? That might be why sometimes I feel like I just can’t reach forgiveness with someone. It also sounds like a lot of work to reach forgiveness. Although, he did mention seventy times seven, hmmm… Why is forgiveness so hard?

I’m not one who believes that I have to do tons of work to get God to love me or forgive me. If I do this and this and this then all is well in the God department. I don’t think it works that way. Now, when it comes to forgiving someone else, I do think there is an action required on my part. I think Jesus is pointing out that you have to choose to forgive. That is an action of course, but by making that choice, you have to trust God will take care of the rest.

Notice how he doesn’t say, once you do these steps for forgiveness, the other person will finally understand. No, he says you might have to start over, meaning you might have to keep choosing to forgive that person. And you might have to do it seventy times seven times! He doesn’t say you will get that other person to change their ways. He doesn’t say you will get that other person to come forth and apologize. I’m starting to think the whole forgiveness “process” is really for the person who is hurt, more than it is for the person who has hurt you.

That’s not to say your actions of continuously choosing to forgive a person wont have an impact on them, but I wouldn’t worry about it being your responsibility to change that person’s feelings. Yikes! That is way easier said than done. I have to trust that I am doing what I believe is right and God will take care of the rest. I’ve heard several pastors say something along the lines of how forgiveness is really for you, the person who is hurt.

I think Joyce Meyer said once that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting it to kill the other person. Double Yikes! I don’t really think about that when I’m caught up in the anger I’m feeling or bitterness. Although, I bet poison tastes pretty bitter…

I’m a big believer in speaking the Word out loud. So, what do I do when I’m harboring unforgiveness and letting it eat away at me? I speak God’s truth out loud. Even if I don’t feel it, that doesn’t mean it wont work in my heart. The Holy Spirit is the one who ministers to my heart. I particularly like Galatians 5:1

“Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you!”

I like this verse because it reminds me that I am letting unforgiveness make me a slave and I don’t know about you, but I hate it when I realize that I am letting Satan control my emotions. I am free! Woohoo! I don’t have to feel that way! None of us do. I’m going to choose that freedom. Even if it’s seventy times seven times or whobody knows how many times.

Peace,
GloFaith and forgiveness are hard. Why can't we just forgive others?