Since Christ’s relationship to his church is full of mercy, the Christian marriage should also be full of mercy. I appreciate Dave Harvey’s book, When Sinners Say I Do. Harvey talks about mercy in marriage in a chapter called “Mercy Triumphs over Judgment” (chapter five). Here are a few helpful quotes worth considering for our own marriages.
“Without mercy differences [in marriage] become divisive, sometimes even ‘irreconcilable.’ But deep, profound differences are the reality of every marriage. It’s not the presence of differences but the absence of mercy that makes them irreconcilable. How many sinners who say ‘so long’ would remain as lovers who said ‘I do’ if they understood the place of mercy in marriage?”
“[In marriage] we are to pass along what we have received from God – steadfast love, inexplicable kindness, overflowing compassion. We sinned against God and he responded with mercy. We are called to go and do the same.”
“[Forbearance] means that you can bring love into play in such a way that you can cut someone free from their sin against you – without them even knowing or acknowledging what they’ve done. Forbearance is an expression of mercy that can cover both the big sins of marital strife and the small sins of marital tension. And let’s face it; small sins are the fuel for most marital blazes.”
“Forbearance applies to specific instances of sin. It involves a clear-eyed realization that we may have been sinned against, and then a bold-hearted, gospel-inspired decision to cover that sin with love. Peter gives us the key to forbearance. ‘Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins’ (1 Peter 4:8).”