My hands are dripping wet and I’m holding the lid to the butter dish when he walks into the kitchen. “I haven’t kissed you yet today,” he says, as he stretches out his arms to pull me in.
I want to push him away. To tell him now is not the time. For one thing, can’t you see I’m in the middle of doing the dishes? And for another thing, I’m on my way to correct our children, again. Because the same bad habit, the one I keep reminding them to break, well they did it again and I’ve had enough. Enough. This time, when I tell them just how bothersome it is and how irritated I am, I know they’ll listen. They won’t have a choice. Please, dear, get out of my way.
This is what I want to say. But I hold my tongue. He’s right. We barely said hello before he left early this morning to grab breakfast with a friend. I force myself to welcome his embrace. He kisses me. Tenderly. Passionately. I kiss him back. We smile at one another and go our separate ways.
I realize I’m not mad at my children anymore. Yes, I still need to confront them about their negligence, but I’m ready now to do it gently. Tenderly. Carefully. With grace.
I could have ignored my husband’s open arms, shoved him out of the way, intent to charge forward in my angry outburst. But his invitation caused me to pause, and by stepping into his embrace, my anger subsided.
A similar invitation is available to us every single moment of every single day. If we are in Christ, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. He’s not just walking into the kitchen to stop us in our tracks, he’s always present, always available, and always ready to welcome us into his arms to remind us of the truth: I love you, you have been bought with a price, you are mine.
As we remember our identity in Christ, the Spirit whispers: live as one who is loved. So we ask for his help. We lean into his strength. Through the power of Christ at work within us we put our anger, irritation, selfishness, pride, bitterness, envy, impatience—whatever sin is tempting us in the moment—to death. And then we move forward in the life and love that are ours in Christ.
Our Helper is always near. Let’s step into the Spirit’s open embrace.