1 February 2017
In the fight against sin, you have not yet had to keep fighting to the point of death.
Have you forgotten that encouraging text in which you are addressed as sons? My son, when the Lord corrects you, do not treat it lightly; but do not get discouraged when he reprimands you. For the Lord trains the ones that he loves and he punishes all those that he acknowledges as his sons. Suffering is part of your training; God is treating you as his sons. Has there ever been any son whose father did not train him? Of course, any punishment is most painful at the time, and far from pleasant; but later, in those on whom it has been used, it bears fruit in peace and goodness. So hold up your limp arms and steady your trembling knees and smooth out the path you tread; then the injured limb will not be wrenched, it will grow strong again.
Always be wanting peace with all people, and the holiness without which no one can ever see the Lord. Be careful that no one is deprived of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness should begin to grow and make trouble; this can poison a whole community.
Jesus went to his home town and his disciples accompanied him. With the coming of the sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue and most of them were astonished when they heard him. They said, ‘Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us?’ And they would not accept him. And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house’; and he could work no miracle there, though he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.
“… that no bitter root spring up and cause trouble through which many may become defiled”
My in-laws celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last year. Imagine being married for 60 years! I’m into my 3rd year and I can already see how things would go awry if we are not disciplined about treating each other with mindfulness and love. The bad habit of taking someone for granted can just creep up on you. That old saying ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ is never more true than when it applies to marriage. Why is it that when we’re around someone a lot, we naturally become the lazier, less polite, less ‘edited’ versions of ourselves? My in-laws may have been together for 60 years, but I don’t for one moment believe that they were blissful and happy years. That they’re still together is a testatment to the sustaining power of God. You don’t stick it out through all that unless there is divine intervention; unless God himself has blessed you both with the grace to endure it.
Jesus nailed it when he said, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house”. That’s especially true for spouses. A word harshly spoken, a wrongdoing unforgiven produces bitter roots that “spring up and cause trouble through which many become defiled”. Life is often all about timing, and divorce is what happens when two people want out of a marriage at the same time. I get angry sometimes with my husband, as most wives must do. And when that happens, I have to catch myself so it doesn’t spiral. It takes prayer and discipline to remember that its up to me to break the cycle of bad feelings. I need to forgive and, more importantly, forget instead of holding on to my hurt. Because bitter roots can take hold if you tend to them enough with all of your resentment. Before you know it, 10, 20, 30… 60 years would have passed that you’ve been looking back in anger, and you’ll be left wondering where all the time went.
(Today’s Oxygen by Sharon Soo)
Prayer: We pray for the grace to forgive our loved ones for their trespasses against us.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the Holy Spirit, the peacekeeper and divine presence in every successful marriage.