In this Sunday’s sermon on marriage, I talked much about my squash bug problem in my garden. However, I’ve also had other pests this year trying to keep my garden from flourishing – slugs (that’s a first!), grasshoppers, corn earworm, corn rootworm, and earwigs – all going after the good fruits in my garden. Gardens can be full of pests, but so can marriages. We’ve already looked at the pests of selfishness and unforgiveness, but there’s 2 more pests that I want to chat with you about.
The first pest is the too-busy termite.1 The too-busy termite is a pest that day after day and week after week, gnaws away at the framework of our marriages. While we are busy with the daily grind from 8 to 5, microwaving Hot Pockets, and running kids around to every sort of event or practice, these little bugs are going to town on our homes. While we are too busy to do a proper inspection, little by little the too-busy termite erodes our oneness and we don’t know each other anymore. Ephesians 5:15-16 says,
“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise,
In the days of overstimulation we’re living in, I would recommend exterminating this termite by putting the cell phones down and frequently going on a relaxing walk or date night with just the two of you. If you go to a restaurant, try to find a corner booth where there is the least distraction – you know, one where there isn’t a TV right behind your spouse’s head! I find that my wife and I tend to have the most meaningful and necessary conversations about the direction of our marriage and our family in these moments. I never want to be too busy for them! We also intentionally put the kids to bed early so we can spend the last hour of the night talking and praying. Chuck Swindoll writes,
“No amount of fanatical zeal or noble calling will ever justify the destruction of a home…
The second pest is the forget-me-not flea. This pest doesn’t want you to forget previously forgiven offenses. Even though you’ve forgiven your offender, that pesky flea keeps bringing the offense to mind, saying, “They don’t deserve your love. They don’t deserve your trust. No more Mr. Nice Guy! Get revenge already!” The flea refuses to let you forget.
Now we may very well forget a forgiven offense (and praise the Lord when that happens!), but there is certainly no way to purge the memory of an offense, even if we really want too. Some are impossible to forget. You may have heard that God forgives and forgets, but this is impossible for Him too. He is an omniscient God which means He knows all things. He can’t forget. However, He can refuse to bring up past offenses or call us out on them or act on them. That’s what verses like Hebrews 8:12 and 10:17 mean when they say that He doesn’t remember our sins. Hebrews 10:17 says,
“Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
Micah 7:19 says,
“You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot
When God forgives our sins, He throws them into the depths of the ocean and puts up a “No Fishing” sign. We are completely released from them.
Whenever the forget-me-not flea brings a past offense to mind, let him know that you have tread the offense underfoot and thrown it into the depths of the sea. Just like we shouldn’t dwell on thoughts of lust or hatred, so we mustn’t dwell on past offenses, leading to spiritual sin.2 Take those thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). Refuse to use past grievances for leverage. Refuse to bring them up or dwell on them. Bury the flea as many times as you have too (and soak it in pesticide). Luke 6:38 says,
“Pardon and you will be pardoned. Give, and it will be given to you.
In Christ with you,
1 Charles Swindoll, Strike the Original Match (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980), 107.
2 John MacArthur, The Freedom and Power of Forgiveness (Wheaton: Crossway, 1998), 189-190.
Stay up to date on Chadron Berean's latest news and insights.