So I’m sick… again. I may have eaten enough chicken noodle soup in the past couple months to spike Campbell’s stock up at least fifteen points. For most of the day, I’ve been sleeping, but in an attempt to not feel completely worthless, I got out of bed and cleaned the kitchen. My husband asked me yesterday to make him a doctor’s appointment, so I crawled out of bed to make the call. After I made the appointment, he asked me if I received certain information from the receptionist that he had not originally asked me to obtain (though, he thought I should have already known to do so). So, like any good, kind, submissive wife… I got angry with him. I asked him, in a manner that would not remind most people of meekness, why he asked me to do the errand only to complain about how I did it. The whole time I was defending myself, I was feeling sorry for myself. After all, did he not know I was sick? Did he not know that all I wanted to do was sleep? If you had heard my innermost thoughts, you would have thought I was the biggest wimp on the planet.
Later in the day, as I was cleaning the kitchen, I heard a pastor on Equip FM say, “If you lash out at the people in your life, you’re not living in faith.” It struck me, as I’d just lashed out (at least in my heart as the conversation was over the computer in a chat window) at my husband for expecting me to be a mind reader. When I’m feeling well, I’m often quick to notice when Eric speaks harshly to me. It may be mildly harsh, but I am often quick to file it away in my mind in my “Eric’s mistreatments of me” folder. Hearing a pastor whom I respect say the above quote spoke to me in two ways.
First of all, it showed me that being sick or not, I have no excuse for mistreating my husband with my words and my attitude. Sure, I know that I’m called to be a Proverbs 31 woman. But I don’t have to follow those principles when I’m sick, right? Well, let’s take a look at the life of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He did not even have a bed of His own as He set out witnessing and ministering to people (Matthew 8:20). He was fully God, but He was fully man as well… and there may have been mornings He woke up feeling under the weather. However, He was filled with compassion even when He was weary, hungry, and troubled. As we endeavor to be more like Christ, we cannot take timeouts from striving to be like Him. It is not as easy to live in a Godly manner when we are sick or tired, but we are not excused. God’s grace is sufficient to meet all of our needs, and that means He can give us the grace to show love and compassion when our physical bodies fail us.
The second thing that struck me about the statement above is that when my husband does verbally lash out against me (which is very unusual and likely when he consistently hasn’t slept well), I do not have the right to retaliate. Just as I’m feeling sick today and allowed my sickness to weaken my resolve to treat him as I should, there are times that he is sick or weary. None of us are perfect and we will all fail our loved ones at one time or another. Instead of keeping my “Eric’s mistreatments of me” folder, I need to follow God’s example and freely forgive. How can I expect God to forgive my mistreatments of Eric if I refuse to forgive Eric’s mistreatments of me? Most of the time, I think I am forgiving Eric when I perceive an injustice towards me; yet, as long as I’m tucking it away in a folder to use against him later, I am not truly forgiving. Praise God that He sometimes takes us out of commission in order to show us something lacking in our lives that we would not have otherwise noticed.
Marriage is a journey. Once you think you’ve arrived, you’ll find out that you’ve barely found the highway. It is a rewarding journey, a humbling journey, a cleansing journey, and a spiritual journey. As you go through times of sleeplessness or sickness, discover ways to use the experience to grow and thank God for the opportunity He’s given you to do so. “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
What excuses do you use when you are under the weather to justify not living in a God-pleasing manner?