When you are upset with your spouse, how do you respond? The old me would show my husband I was mad at him in a passive aggressive way. I wouldn’t yell and shout, instead I would give him the cold shoulder treatment…sometimes for days! What happened that changed my thinking? I began to truly understand the principle Jesus taught in the Gospel of John at the last supper like this:
The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. ~ John 13:2-5
Jesus, knowing full well that Judas was about to betray Him in a horrific way, knelt before him and lovingly washed his feet. He treated Judas with the same love and service that He did the other disciples.
In this passage, Jesus shows us servant leadership. Even more, He is modeling how to love one another, even when someone is not behaving in a way that is deserving of love. He wants us to love others (especially our spouses) in the same way.
When I started to understand this concept and began feeling the conviction of the Holy Spirit to glorify God by loving my husband even when I was mad, I began responding in a different way. Instead of giving him the silent treatment, I would offer to give him a nice back scratch (something he absolutely loves). It was not easy. I was still FEELING angry, but I CHOSE to lovingly serve my husband out of LOVE and OBEDIENCE for God. In the passage in John, Jesus goes on to give us a command:
Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. ~ John 13:14-17
If we as Christians want to truly make Jesus Lord of our lives, then we need to be willing to not act as if we are better than Jesus. If He could wash Judas’ feet, then who are we to be too good to serve our spouses in love, even when they aren’t so lovable?
The last part of the verse above says, “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” To that I have to say a big AMEN! When I finally started to submit to loving my spouse the way Jesus modeled I found that things healed so much more quickly and more permanently than when I used to react to my feelings and shut down towards my husband. This proves once again, that you cannot out give the love of God!