Recently, I’ve been looking at the Beatitudes in the Bedroom, how this passage relates to our marriages and marriage beds. To get us started, let’s review the Beatitudes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
I already know what some of you are thinking: Please talk about how my sex-resistant spouse needs to have mercy on me and give me some much-needed physical intimacy!
I’ll actually get to that. But first, I did a bit of word study on the Greek term used for mercy: eleeo (pronounced el-eh-eh’-o). I expected to see New Testament verses about how God showed us mercy when He saved us from sin. But the most common use occurred when Jesus was healing the sick. People often approached Jesus and cried out, “Have mercy,” just before he cured them of their ailments.
So eleeo, “mercy,” often connoted healing and wholeness.
And honestly, that’s what so many of our marriage beds need. Not just frequency of sex or mutual pleasure, but healing and wholeness to be able to engage fully in the experience of sexual intimacy God gifted marriage.
In what area of your sexual struggles do you wish you could cry out to Jesus, “Have mercy!” and know that His healing would immediately follow? Did you experience sexual abuse in your past? Have you struggled to get past your spouse’s prior infidelity? Are you continually tempted by porn? Do you have pain during intercourse? Have you faced the hollow ache of infertility?
We can cry out for God’s mercy, and He delivers. Not always on the timetable we want or in the way we expect, but He is faithful:
“The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23, NLT).
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
But the Beatitude here isn’t about God’s mercy specifically, but our mercy: “Blessed are those who merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Thinking back to the physical and emotional ailments we experience in our marital bedroom, what is your beloved dealing with? What baggage or challenges confront him when it comes to sexual intimacy?
Have you shown him mercy? Helped him seek healing? Contributed to his wholeness?
We can get so caught up in our own perspective that we fail to fully consider what sexual issues are mate is confronting. Maybe your husband is trying to break a porn habit or facing a lower sex drive or aching for more sexual intimacy with you. Whatever his concerns, can you show mercy?
And no, I’m not suggesting having pity sex. Rather, true mercy involves reaching out with your heart. Indeed, Romans 12:8 advises that if we show mercy, we should “do it cheerfully.” Grudging compassion isn’t compassion at all.
Mercy might include more sex, more communication about sex, counseling about sex, or a myriad of other options.
But let’s seek one another’s healing and wholeness. Let’s extend to our spouse what we wish to receive from God. Let’s be merciful in our marriage beds. And then, let’s see how God blesses us.