Sunday, November 7, 2010

Battling Bitterness

Hebrews 12: 14-15 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no "root of bitterness" springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;

As I sat sipping a cup of coffee with a good friend this morning, I knew the question was coming. It always does because she is a loving friend who cares about my marriage.

“How are you and Phil doing?”

Before I gave much careful thought to my answer, out slipped a “meh...” with a quick cock of my head and shrug of my shoulder.

“That good, huh? I have come to realize that when I am feeling that way about my husband, I have let bitterness creep into my heart somewhere.”

Yuck. There it was - the ugly truth - lying on the table between us. The eyes of my heart had been enlightened. She was exactly right. Like an insidious noxious poison, undetectable to the eye, I had let bitterness erode at foundation of my marriage.

Lest your mind wander at this point into the land of What If’s? and I Wonder What He Did’s? - let me set the record straight. There has not been any one thing - no major sin issue or gross misdemeanor committed. It has simply been the pile up of busy days, complicated schedules and an occasional lack of thoughtfulness of both of our parts. We have not prioritized intentional, regular heart connection. But that is exactly the point. Bitterness flourishes where apathy abounds. If we are not both vigilantly attending to the proverbial garden of our marriage, sin roots and springs up and causes trouble.

I promptly came home and found Phil sitting on the couch. I remembered the brief interaction we had last night when I was awoken by his late arrival from work. My heart leapt as I saw his face, his warm smile after a long day apart. God was gracious to reignite that spark of joy, that deep gratitude and heart of service for my husband that melts bitterness. I asked forgiveness for my carelessness that had sprung into bitterness and he obliged. He reminded me that despite our marital drought, he adored me. And the bitterness thawed into a puddle of tears as God, in His grace, enables us to love each other out of His abundance.