by Barbara Rainey
With all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love. EPHESIANS 4:2
One weekend our two family photographers—daughter-in-law Stephanie and oldest daughter, Ashley—were together taking photos of Ashley's little boys. My favorite is one of little James, who was about 18 months old at the time, in his birthday suit. The dark backdrop in the photo highlighted the purity of his new little body with its clear, soft skin. The pose they captured showed James innocently and playfully on his hands and knees, looking to the side with a precious grin on his face. It will be a treasured photo for years to come.
As photographers, Stephanie and Ashley had a choice. They could have placed little James in the backyard mud and then irritated him to make him mad so that they could capture his little sin nature on film forever (which would have been much easier to do)! Instead they chose to focus on his best qualities. And because he was naked, they carefully chose an angle that hid his male parts from view, knowing it would be distracting in the final photo and that James would likely be embarrassed by it someday.
Like little James, we are naked and exposed before each other in marriage. No one knows your wife's or husband's sin, shame and failures the way you do. But marriage was designed by God to be a place of comfort and safety, not condemnation and critique.
Each of us brings our own set of flaws with us when we marry, and unfortunately, we add new ones to them as time goes along. But marriage should be the best place for two imperfect people to find acceptance and ongoing forgiveness . . . as well as the courage to change and grow.
Share some of your favorite things about your mate—and in so doing, repent of your critical focus.
Pray that forgiveness will flow freely in your marriage, creating an environment and inducement for godly change.