Ever feel like YOU are paying all the consequences of your spouse's sorrowful choices?
A few weeks ago, my oldest met an interesting homeless character. The man shared his story of freedom. He was once a self destructive alcoholic. He was physically dying and refuse to stop drinking. He was in the hospital for two months, then sent to a rehab facility where he had four hours of free time every day, where he could leave the facility. He spent those four hours DAILY, continuing to drink himself into oblivion. Until one morning he woke up in the facility with NO desire to drink what so ever. He completely recovered physically. He gives full credit to God for sparing his life.
My son and 'Bart' reasoned together and concluded that Christ's death not only saves us from the wages of our sin, BUT also the *consequences* of that sin.
"Oh wait a minute!" you say. "There are always consequences for sin."
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~Romans 6:23
The consequence of sin is death, we know from the Word. A friend defined it clearly in a sentence once: The consequence of sin is death; death of relationships, integrity, honor, etc. (paraphrased) NOT just our physical or spiritual death. However, the Word also informs us that we can be FREE in Christ.
...because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. ~Romans 8:2
FREE from the LAW of sin...I am FREE to sincerely LOVE, HONOR, FORGIVE and RESPECT my husband--regardless of his choices or behavior. FREE! He is not walking in Christ--therefore he is NOT free to forgive, love and enjoy a wonderful marriage and family. Wow! But I am and I do. My kids and I have fun all the time. Our home is peaceful and lovely. We are free to pursue love in the LIGHT, not hide in the darkness and run from our choices. (hhhmmm...ring a bell? Adam & Eve?)
Bart, the man mentioned above, was actively pursuing his own destruction...and yet, was SET FREE. We have seen people not be good stewards of their bodies yet are set free from terminal illness, obesity, injury and physical pain. We are NOT in bondage over our past mistakes. We are not required to carry around the yoke of our past lives, before Christ. We are not required to pay any penance at all.
My kids and I are NOT paying the price for my husband's choices. HE IS--for as long as he chooses to reject Christ--he is a man with out honor and integrity. A man who cannot be trusted, unsafe. HOWEVER, in surrender, Christ RESTORES all that was ever lost and broken. I maintain my integrity, my joy, my peace. My children and I are learning relational health and love. We are NOT damaged goods.
We have all heard testimonies of men and woman that are UNrecognizable compared to their old lives. What was once a life of wickedness, the prostitute, the exotic dancer, the murderer and embezzler, NOW living lives of chastity, respectability, being wives and husbands of excellence and honor.
In an INSTANT, Christ comes in and your life is forever changed. "But you don't seem to understand...my life feels horrible since my spouse left. My home is a wreck. My kids are in shock. I can't pay my bills."
Oh, I understand. But those temporary afflictions do NOT hold you hostage. They do NOT define you, determine your value, nor *control* you. THAT is the freedom. You ARE a new creation. You are no longer a slave. Your circumstances no longer control your emotional or mental outlook on life. Perspective!
You can PRAISE in spite of hardship. You are FREE from those 'consequences'. You are free to grieve and BE COMFORTED. You can laugh wholeheartedly with the fullness of joy when something goes wrong, KNOWING God IS going to provide for you. You are FREE from fear...YES, He IS going to provide! Yes, He WILL make a way...there is ALWAYS a way---> HIS way. You are FREE from having to prove yourself or live under the mistaken idea that you *must do it all*.
You are free from striving to be good. You are free from resentment for offenses that have been perpetrated against you. You are delivered from anger. You are free TO LOVE. You are free TO FORGIVE. You are free to mourn BUT not as one with OUT hope...but one filled with the glorious hope of Christ.
You and your children are free from having to carry around these open heart wounds forever. Christ delivers you from these painful 'consequences.' Your future IS secure.
Our spouses are the ones riddled with and burdened by pain and suffering. *Things* will never satisfy and heal. Unless one has Christ--one will continue a life of insatiable lust...lust for freedom, lust for a soothing salve, lust for something to silence the accuser...and there is nothing but the spilled and poured out blood of Christ that can cover the multitude of sins.
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” ~John 4:13-14
Forever thirsty...there is the fire that burns, never satisfied, consuming all in its path...then there is the fire that refines and removes the dross from the silver and gold, producing something better and more valuable coming out than what went in.
The broken hearted are never alone...but Christ is even closer. You are free from being crushed...healing and rescue is imminent!!!!
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. ~Psalm 34:18
Bart did not *deserve* this rescue. He did nothing to earn it. God could have only saved his soul while leaving his body to ruin. Instead He offered him immeasurable grace and he lived to TESTIFY of this amazing saving power.
My spouse doesn't deserve it. My kids don't deserve it. I don't deserve it...but here it is, ready to be received. Receive your rescue.
Perhaps you may think: "But this guy was HOMELESS--that sounds like a serious consequence." I challenge you to consider instead--HOW this man knew what was TRULY valuable. He asked my son for nothing (who was offering) but dog food for the 2 gorgeous dogs he had.
No one WANTS to be homeless...but he was not broken, in despair or hopeless. He sat there and testified to the POWER of God and his mercy. HIS life was SPARED and for HIM, that was ENOUGH!!!
HE was living a life of FREEDOM. Not bound by lack or the perceptions of others
What are YOU doing with the grace Christ has given You? LIVE and testify! EnJOY your freedom.