Tolerance Isn't Enough!

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Ask the Lord for the grace to help you lovingly uphold your spouse.

Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. Romans 15:2

David and I spent too many years of our marriage tearing one another down. It was never outright insults; we put one another down in more subtle ways. One of us might make a little joke at the other person's expense, or the other would bring up an embarrassing story. We might speak to each other in a condescending tone or shoot down the other's opinion as if he or she were an ignorant oaf.

The Lord began to convict both David and me about the way we talked to one another. Today's Scripture passage was especially convicting for me. In this passage, Paul asks the church at Rome to not merely tolerate or put up with others, but to lovingly uphold them. God wanted the church of Rome to act in a pleasing way with one another so that each neighbor would be edified.

For most of the previous years, I had thought I was achieving great maturity by the simple fact that I had learned to tolerate some of David's characteristics. I was proud that I had learned to put up with his little idio­syncrasies. But God seemed to be saying, "That's not enough?'

God wanted me to look for ways to help David grow into maturity and praise him for his attempts or efforts at growth. God wanted me to get involved in David's personal growth and development by affirming strengths he displayed. It didn't mean that my job was to change David. It meant that I was to become sensitive to what God was doing in David. What a difference that has made!

Instead of tension in our home, there is harmony. Instead of pain, there is healing. Instead of fear, there is comfort.

In what ways can you look to lovingly promote spiritual and emotional growth in your spouse?

God, help me not to just tolerate my spouse, but to lovingly uphold him or her.

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