Marriage is hard work. Church is hard work. Life is hard work.
Every day there is sin to be forgiven and, unfortunately, the cycle of sin and repentance can feel more like defeat than the victory it really is at times.
In the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery in John 8, Jesus tells her at the end of the passage these words “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?…Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
Here we hear Jesus himself tells us the words echoed in Romans 8 –
We hear and know the Truth of no condemnation, but what does it look like in our marriages?
It looks like forgiveness.
By the power of His Spirit we can forgive every thing, every time. We will get weary of it. Socks next to the clothes hamper, dinners gone cold from waiting, harsh words spoken too quickly- all forgivable in Christ Jesus. Living out “no condemnation” is often hardest in our own homes, but the power of Christ crucified and rose is also, possibly, most powerful in our own homes. Hearing more forgiveness, more gentle reminders of God’s deep and unfathomable love for us, from our spouse, is like remembering our baptism daily. Defeat is covered, sin’s power destroyed, we raise to new life seeing the Spirit’s care and concern lived out in another person. Our spouse stands as Christ to us, offering His hand to lift us up, absolve us and we can go and sin no more, knowing that He walks beside us.
The mystery of one flesh plays out in this place of forgiveness in marriage. Because my spouse offers me forgiveness, I can, practically speaking, more easily forgive myself. This is spiritual care in marriage. It’s not always easy, not always perfect, but it is Christ in us. And in Christ there is no condemnation.