Even though you may have accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord, you and I will still encounter trials and hardships in this life here on earth. They are inevitable. In fact Jesus told his disciples in John 16:33..”In this world you will have trouble.” Sometimes, the trouble is inside your marriage, and when that’s the case, you often find the need to practice great patience, endurance and “longsuffering”. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 4:2 that we should act “with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love…” (KJV). Other translations use the word “patience” in the place of longsuffering.
However, the Bible doesn’t always advise us to just sit on our hands and settle into a long season of quiet endurance and longsuffering. Jesus says in Matthew 18:15-17 that we’re supposed to confront someone who is actively sinning against us. We always need to be respectful and loving, yet he tells us to confront that person who stubbornly continues in a pattern of sin against us, refusing to make changes.
So yes, there is a place for patience and longsuffering in relationships, especially when your husband has asked for forgiveness and is working to break free from a pattern of sin. However, you may be “longsuffering” unnecessarily if you have never directly confronted your husband about a sin pattern and insisted that he make changes. The appropriate time for longsuffering is when you’ve already confronted the person sinning against you and they show evidence of trying to turn away from that pattern of sin. I guess my question to you is this: Have you lovingly and firmly confronted your husband if he is sinning against you or your children? Have you drawn clear boundaries on what continuing behavior is unacceptable? If you haven’t, then there’s a chance you are longsuffering outside of God’s will. Pray about it and see what God reveals.
About 25 years ago, I heard a line in a sermon that will always stick with me. The pastor said we all have a “signature sin”…a sin that has our name written all over it! Do you have a signature sin or temptation? Is there one particular thing that trips you up all the time? Yes, that’s what I thought. And I’m sure Satan laughs his butt off every time you and I give into that temptation.
Well, we all might have a signature sin or a specific temptation that seems insurmountable, but Satan doesn’t get the last laugh! Jesus promises to provide a way out of every temptation. I just need to ask Him to give me eyes to see the avenue of escape and for Him to give me the strength to turn from my old patterns and take that escape exit. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says “…God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
I’ve learned that the first step in overcoming that signature sin in my life is this: discovering the lie I’ve believed! For me, the “way out” of temptation to eat the wrong food is uncovering the ridiculous lie I’ve believed about food. God is showing me that I have somehow been deluded into thinking that eating a boatload of sugary treats and a ton of french fries would make me feel better! That’s a lie. The truth is that eating healthy will make me feel better, so that’s what I’ve been choosing to do for the last 8 years. And you know what? I feel great…physically, spiritually and emotionally.
Do you keep repeatedly falling into the same temptation because you’ve believed a lie? It’s food for thought (pardon the pun!).
There’s a fine line between confronting someone who is sinning against us and confronting someone about their sin in general. As I read the Scriptures, it is pretty clear that we are supposed to confront our husbands or anyone who is sinning directly against us. Jesus gives us this instruction in Matthew 18:15-17 and also in Luke 17:3.
However, sometimes we go too far and start to act like we’re the Holy Spirit! It is not our job as a wife to convict our husbands of each and every one of their sins. God says that’s the Holy Spirit’s job. In John 16:8, Jesus says the Helper (Holy Spirit) “will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment”.
This means it’s not your job to be constantly pointing out your husband’s flaws, reminding him of his imperfections, and chastising him for falling short of God’s perfect standard. A wife is NOT Mrs Holy Spirit! In fact, when we start acting like we are the Holy Spirit, we start to become that quarrelsome wife mentioned throughout Proverbs. She is compared to a constant dripping of a leaky roof. Hmmm.