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“Welcome”–God’s Word for Your Marriage

Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. — Romans 15:7

“I know it’s a red light!” I growled at my wife.

My teenaged daughter groaned in the back seat, “Dad!”

That moment Sunday evening was huge. My wife was anxious because of my poor driving. The beast of pride had welled up inside of me. It could easily have led to isolation—icy, short interaction for the rest of the evening, and sleeping back-to-back.

There is a war going on for our souls

After a few quiet moments, my next words were, “Honey, I’m sorry. I had no right to speak to you like that. It came out of my pride and it was wrong.” And to my daughter I added, “I am sorry. Please forgive me.”

Because both found the grace to forgive me, the rest of the night was joyful.

As we drove home, my wife and I talked about the truth of repentance and forgiveness—and rejoiced that this is a reality in our lives. Sometimes we call it our “recovery time.”

How long does it take us to get to repentance and forgiveness when our flesh and sinful nature get the best of us?  One of my favorite passages about marriage is from Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It is from his Letters and Papers from Prison, and he is commenting on Romans 15:7 (above):

“In a word, live together in the forgiveness of your sins, for without it no human fellowship, least of all a marriage, can survive. Don’t insist on your rights, don’t blame each other, don’t judge or condemn each other, don’t find fault with each other, but accept each other as you are, and forgive each other every day from the bottom of your hearts . . . From the first day of your wedding till the last the rule must be: ‘Welcome one another . . . for the glory of God.’ That is God’s word for your marriage. Thank him for it; thank him for leading you thus far; ask him to establish your marriage, to confirm it, sanctify it, and preserve it. So your marriage will be ‘for the praise of God’s glory.’ Amen.”

This has become the model for our daily prayer time with each other. We recognize that we are a mess and we desperately need Jesus every day. In our prayer each morning, we welcome one another and give ourselves to God together. We thank Him for redeeming our marriage, and ask Him to continue to sanctify us and preserve us.

And in this process, we are learning how to live together in the forgiveness of our sin. We can only do that through Jesus Christ.

“Father, I pray for our dear military friends. Strengthen them during deployment. I pray for my own marriage. As Christ has accepted us, help us to accept one another in our marriages and in the body of Christ. As Christ has forgiven us, help us to forgive one another. Empower us all to ‘live together in the forgiveness of our sins’ that it would be for the glory of God!  I ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.”

Work Cited:

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich, Letters & Papers From Prison (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997 edition), p. 46,47.

Questions to Share:

1. In what ways is your marriage glorifying God?

2. Pray together for God to strengthen your marriage, to sanctify it and preserve it.

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