Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
My wife and I just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary on June 10. We have been blessed by God through those ten years. We have certainly had our joys and sorrows. We have tried to imitate the kind of love that God demonstrated to us. We have not always succeeded in doing what this passage from Ephesians describes. It is difficult to always be kind and compassionate to others. It is difficult to practice the kind of forgiveness that God shows to us. And yet, by the grace of God, we have been kind, compassionate, and forgiving to one another. God has forgiven us for our sins and he has given us the strength to keep going.
When we got married back in 2006, Ephesians 4:32 was one passage from our sermon text. We wanted to include this verse and a few others from Ephesians because they describe that the best kinds of relationships are centered on Christ and his forgiveness. When husbands and wives experience difficulties and sin against each other, it is an enormous blessing to be able to see the forgiveness of Jesus. He has forgiven us so much more than we ever deserve. If we are able to forgive each other in that manner, it strengthens our relationship and helps our bond of love to grow.
An illustration that I have seen at several marriages is the cord of three strands. The three strands are the bride, the groom, and Jesus. When I have seen this done, the groom holds the three strands while the bride braids them together. The pastor or someone else usually reads a scripture passage or a reading about the purpose of the three strands. The message is that the relationship that is built on Christ is the strongest relationship. Jesus has shown us the greatest love. If we can imitate even a small portion of his love, then husband and wife will show a selfless and self-sacrificing kind of love to each other.
My wife and I have certainly had up and downs during our 10 years. We got our first dog and then our first dog passed away. We got our second dog and learned what it was like to have a puppy destroy our stuff. We struggled with infertility but then we adopted our amazing daughter. It is stressful to help our daughter with her disabilities but it is also a great joy to see her grow and surprise us. Like many others we have celebrated the birth and adoption of children in our extended family but we have also felt the sting of death as loved ones pass away. Through all these experiences and many more, we have kept on focusing on the forgiveness of Christ.
10 years of marriage has been a great joy. God willing, we will experience many more years. Regardless if you are married or single, it is important to build every relationship around the forgiveness of Christ. When Jesus is at the center of our relationships, then we truly can be kind and compassionate to others. We will sin in our relationships. We will say and do many sinful things. But with Christ, we will be able to forgive and move forward. It is a great blessing when we can forgive one another. Forgive each other, just as in Christ God has forgiven you.