Photo from: 8-ball.net
Whether or not you have kids you’ve probably heard about the importance of not crushing little ones’ spirits. The Bible phrases it this way: do not embitter or exasperate your children, or they will become discouraged (Col 3:21, Eph 6:4.)
Though spouses certainly are not to have child/parent relationships, there is an important point made here: our words and attitudes can discourage those we love. We can crush each other’s spirits.
That’s important to remember.
Many of the New Testament teachings on relationships are in the positive. Love one another. Encourage and exhort each other. Lift one another up. Carry each other’s burdens. These call to action statements get us geared up for Godly relationships (Tweet this!)
But we have other options.
We have the ability to work against these commands. We can tear each other down. We can withhold compliments. But our discouragement can be less than intentional.
Have you ever quietly brushed off a loved one when they were in a good mood and you weren’t? Do you know what it feels like to work hard for the sake of a spouse who fails to say thank you –or even look pleased?
Marriage advice books often address issues that result from “inactions” like these. Consider that your silence says something to those around you. The things you fail to appreciate, over and over, can exasperate others. Many small and gentle criticisms make one bitter when compliments are never offered.
Chances are that you don’t mean anything by these inactions. You may not be disapproving, critical, or ungrateful. But God’s Words about loving other are action-oriented for a reason. We all need to see it, hear it, and feel it instead of just believing it all the time.
That transfers to faith, doesn’t it? God blesses with “faith-boosters” all of the time. He times that call just right. He answers that simple prayer tangibly. His gifts are good and exactly what we need. We have reasons to joy and delight in Him. God doesn’t have to do these things, but He chooses too.
Tangible reminders like these don’t diminish our relationship with the Lord or our faith in Him. Instead present, active demonstrations by the Lord in our lives build us up. Follow His example, encouraging one another in the Lord!