Forgiveness - Tear walls down, not build them up

Forgiveness - Tear walls down, not build them up

Feeling resentful in your relationship? Struggling with bitterness, hurt feelings, forgiveness ....?

I hope this devotion from Rejoice Marriage Ministries can help you find your way to a more harmonious relationship. Enjoy!  Shawnda


Some of us have higher expectations and when we don’t feel those are met, we can be guilty of adding a brick to the wall of conflict.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Today’s devotional is written by Lori Steinkamp Lassen. She is our only daughter, who has been married to her husband, Scott for 22 years. Lori is the mother of four children, and has worked with the ministry for many years. May her devotional deepen your spiritual walk with the Lord. - Charlyne


Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”  Matthew 18:21-22
When a mason is building a wall, he will take brick after brick, stacking them higher and higher until he has completed his job. We can do the same thing with the relationships in our lives. There aren’t physical walls built up, but instead, emotional walls. Think back over your marriage. When you and your spouse had a disagreement, would you express your feelings or bottle them up? Much like a mason, you can find yourself suddenly building a wall between you and your spouse.

We all start our day with expectations. Some of us have higher expectations and when we don’t feel those are met, we can be guilty of adding a brick to the wall of conflict. That can separate us emotionally from the ones we love.

When those walls are between us, it is common to shut down emotionally. Those walls may be the result of facts or the result of what we perceive to be the truth. It can start slowly. Unresolved frustrations, anger, and disappointments. Brick after brick, the wall forms.
An unresolved disagreement - a brick goes up.
Hurt feelings – another brick.
Your husband didn’t notice your new dress – another brick.
Your wife doesn’t ever tell you she appreciates how hard you work – another brick.
Your children never tell you how thankful they are for you – another brick.
What has added to the bricks in your life?
As a woman, I realize that I process things much differently than my husband. I can build something up in my head to be gigantic. When I finally talk to him about it, I find that most of what I had built up in my  mind was simply not true.
We have a choice to make. Are we going to add bricks to that wall or take them down and let others in?
When we take the bricks down, we are forgiving.
We are giving up our right to hurt back.
We are admitting that we were wounded but we are letting go.
We build those emotional walls to avoid letting that person in. The problem is that while you are keeping others out, you have isolated yourself. You may not be a prisoner in your home but you are being held captive by your emotions.
Forgiving someone who hasn’t asked for forgiveness takes bravery. That bravery can come from the Holy Spirit. We can’t do it in our own power.
I recall a time when my husband and I had a period of disconnect. I was frustrated with some areas where I felt like he could have been more helpful. He was frustrated with some areas where he felt like I was not showing respect to him. We spent a couple of days just existing and not really connecting. I had built a wall and I’m pretty sure, he had a nice wall in the works. My pride and the enemy kept telling me that I was justified. I had a right to be upset. I should hold onto my wall. I can’t really recall who came out from behind their wall first, but we shared what we were really feeling. That doesn’t mean we both agreed with what the other was feeling, but it meant that we listened and decided to take down our wall.
That day, I could see how easy it is to build up a wall and then hide behind it, thinking how justified I was in my feelings and interpretation of an event.
I would guess that many marriages fall apart with that construction of a wall. So what can we do?
Let’s leave the construction to the professionals! In the words of a famous children’s movie, “Let it go!” Decide to forgive . Decide to move on. Decide to allow your spouse back in emotionally.
I know that some of you are praying for restoration and you don’t even like your spouse. I know you love them, but you have built up such walls, you can’t remember who you fell in love with.
Tear down that wall!
Apologize for what you did to contribute to the problems in your home. Regardless of what happened to lead to the destruction of your marriage, I am sure you can think of some areas where you failed. My dad was unfaithful  and that was one of the leading problems in the marriage. After much reflection, my mom realized areas where she failed to contribute to the marriage. Remember that there are no perfect people.
Who are you keeping out emotionally? Be open with that person. Share areas of your life where you feel weak or afraid.
Be willing to reach out. For some, that may mean taking the hand of a person who hurt you. It may mean writing a letter to someone you blocked out of your life and admitting you handled a situation incorrectly. 
I have four kids. Some days there are arguments that happen between siblings. When my husband and I work with them to diffuse the situation, we will often tell them to hug it out. It is pretty funny to watch two kids who are flaming mad and holding tight to their anger have to embrace. Guess what? By the end of that hug, the wall has come down, the anger has left and the problem can be worked on without all the extra emotions. It is hard to fight with someone you are hugging! 
You may have limited contact with your spouse. You can still let go of the wall. Those walls can be evident by our speech, our demeanor, our countenance. Does your spouse see the joyful, loving person or the angry, bitter person? 
Tear down that wall! 
God can give you the grace and forgiveness to move forward without the baggage that comes when we put walls up in our relationships. 
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  Ephesians 4:31-32

God bless,

Lori Steinkamp Lassen
Rejoice Marriage Ministries, Inc.

Charlyne Cares is a daily emailed devotional from Charlyne Steinkamp sent to encourage and support you regardless of where you are on your journey to marriage restoration.


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