This is Part 2 – if you haven’t read Part 1 of her story, you can find it HERE
In the last few years of our 7 year marriage, my prayers consisted of tear filled utterances. My heart broke as I fought to pursue God in my pain. There was so much confusion, anger, resentment, and disappointment that vehemently vied to steal my attention from the hope I was clinging to. Hope was still present; it was still in those promises that I had been reading in God’s Word. Hope was still an option, but my flesh wanted to retaliate against all the awful offenses that my husband continued to commit. How was I supposed to move forward in doing what was right?
This began a series of valuable lessons where God taught me that in my walk with Him my focus was to be less on being right, and more on being righteous. There was a shift in my perception and how I began seeing things. It was almost as if my human lens, distorted by hurt, was switched out for a godly lens filtered with God’s love. The first lesson was that God loves His created.
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19 (NIV)
No matter how flawed we are, His love for us never changes. Despite my husband’s actions, he was still one of God’s created. God still loved him, just the same as He loved me and still does.
The second lesson revealed God knew that sin would be our demise, and out of great love, mercy, grace, and compassion, He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for the forgiveness of all our sins.
“Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in His death so that everyone could also be included in His life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.” 2 Corinthians 5:14 (MSG)
Through Christ, we are forgiven of our sins. Each of us falls short of God’s glory every day, and we all receive the same merciful forgiveness through love. Forgiveness is one of the greatest acts of love we can ever give to another, but it is also one of the hardest. Our natural instinct when we are hurt is to respond in hurt because hurt people, hurt people.
So how do we push past the hurt to be obedient, and “Do not seek revenge or bear grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” Leviticus 19:18 (NIV) I can assure you, I knew God had stipulations for that command that were completely in favor of me tweaking it. I mean, I had been enduring some pretty hefty things! Clearly, my husband warranted me returning at least a baby-sized portion of hurt in return, right? However, God being Who He is let His words from that Scripture verse settle in my heart. I prayed, “But Lord, surely you see how wrong this man is! This is not what You have commanded husbands to do.” God’s response gripped my soul, and I found myself at a crossroad in my walk with Him. He said, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13 I needed to choose between what I felt was right versus what God would call righteous.
Read Part 3 of Loving Beyond All Reason HERE
D.R. Kelly is a Board Certified Christian Life Coach, based in Loganville, Georgia. She has degrees in Biblical Counseling from Luther Rice University, and Human Services Counseling in Marriage and Family from Liberty University. She is a member of the International Christian Coach Association (ICCA). As a proud and devoted mother to her teenage son, she not only mentors young adults, but is also a member of her local church where she actively serves as a small group leader to lift and encourage middle and high school students. Whether through creative lettering, writing, or Christian life coaching, she is fully committed to her calling in walking alongside and edifying the lives of others. Currently, she is writing her first Christian devotional, Encouraged Growth: A 40 Day Devotional of Encouragement and Prayers, set to be published in Spring 2017. For more information about D.R. Kelly, she can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org