Our pastor preached on Romans 8 this past Sunday. It was a good reminder of the freedom we have in Christ, and an encouragement to no longer live in condemnation. He said something at the end though, that made me pause and pray to God that this would never be said of me. He said, “May it not be said of us that we have a condemning spirit as we relate to others.”
A condemning spirit as we relate to others? A condemning spirit in how we relate to our spouse?
Condemn means to judge or determine to be wrong.
Have you ever believed yourself to be right and your spouse to be wrong in an argument? If we’re honest we all have felt this way at some point. But what we do with those feelings is crucial to a healthy Marriage.
We have two choices:
1. Stand as judge and jury against your spouse set on proving your point at all costs.
2. Pray for your spouse and for God’s wisdom to help you love them genuinely as you talk through the disagreement.
Of course the second choice is the best and most God-honoring. But when you’re in the midst of a heated argument it’s probably the last one you’d choose.
Why is this so? We have an enemy who is set on destroying anything or anyone who glorifies God. Our marriage is a prime target since it is a reflection of how Christ loves the church and gave Himself for her. Also, marriage consists of two sinners, making us an easy target.
We must not be surprised that he is after our relationship, nor should we be unaware of his schemes to divide us.
I’ll never forget a time when Tom and I were in a really long season of conflict in our marriage. We tried many times to reconcile but to no avail. One night the Lord impressed this question on my heart, “Who made you the standard of what is right in this situation?”
My conscience was immediately convicted and I knew I had been acting in a condemning spirit. Ouch! The truth hurts, but it also sets us free!
I was able to repent to Tom and to God of my sin and it was soon after that we found resolve to our long-standing conflict.
Matthew 7:3-5 says
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
I’ve heard it said of this scripture that the reason I recognize a sin in someone else’s life is because it is familiar to me. In other words, I have the same sin in my own heart. Realizing this should make all of us hesitant in pointing out our spouse’s sin, or anyone else’s for that matter. I must examine my own heart first, and then from a place of humility and love approach the weaknesses, failures and sins of others.
Have you ever had a condemning spirit towards your spouse? Or have you ever been the recipient of it? May God help us all grow in our understanding of this and the detriment it is to our growth as believers and as husbands and wives.