How to keep from being thoughtlessly cruelWritten by Gary Thomas
Some years ago, my wife planted blueberries beside our house, about 70 feet away from the nearest faucet. We had a cheap hose at the time that kept splitting as I hauled it across the lawn to water the blueberries. I had to cut the hose and reset a new nozzle every time it split, so I finally went to the hardware store and got a "heavy-duty, industrial-strength" hose guaranteed not to split.
‘I felt so happy with my purchase. I’d pick it up, feel its weight, and say to myself, "No way this baby is ever gonna split."
Imagine my chagrin when Lisa barged into the house one evening and exclaimed, "I hate that stupid hose!"
My super-industrial strength beauty proved far too heavy for my wife. When she tried to lug it across the front yard to reach the side of our house, it felt like she was trying to pull a stubborn mule. I bought that hose thinking of me; I never even considered whether Lisa could lift it.
Although some might consider this a simple, inconsiderate act, at a deeper level, it revealed my prideful self-centredness. I didn’t mean to act intentionally cruel, but I did act thoughtlessly cruel. I simply didn’t pay attention to what was best for Lisa. Worse, I didn’t even think about Lisa when I made the purchase. I had grown tired of repairing the hose, so I determined to make my own life better.
Biblical humility invites us to become more thoughtful and more sensitive to others. It’s about the little things in life, and marriage is 90 per cent small stuff. We don’t build humility on giant gestures as much as we forge it with thoughtful actions, day after day.
Are there any areas in your marriage in which you are being thoughtlessly cruel? Where are you not even considering how your actions (or inactions) are making life difficult for your spouse, looking at it only from your own perspective?
Let’s allow God to use our marriages to teach us how to think of others.
Gary Thomas is the founder and director of the Center for Evangelical Spirituality, a writing and speaking ministry that integrates Scripture, church history and the Christian classics. He is the author of many books, including Sacred Marriage, Sacred Parenting, Cherish, The Sacred Search and A Lifelong Love.
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