Love calls us to look out for the interest of others and not just ourselves. And this often means a willingness to sacrifice our natural desires to bring good to the other. But such sacrifices should still be with our integrity intact. We risk growing a heart of bitterness when we feel we must compromise ourselves along the way.
To be sure, following the example of Christ, we’re called to be a living sacrifice – freely giving up our comforts and privileges to bring life and goodness to others. But Christ did not lose himself in laying his life down. He knew who he was and why he had come. His integrity remained intact. And it’s here we must follow his example as well.
For instance, we should be willing to take the hits necessary to make life better for our wife, even when this means giving up our natural preferences. While disruptive, uncomfortable, and perhaps outright painful, it still should be aligned with who God has called us to be and how he’s wired our heart. And the litmus test is one of bitterness; there is none when our sacrifices are given freely with our integrity intact.
On the other hand, when we give just to make her happy and we disregard our heart, resentment quickly starts to take root. What we’re doing might still be objectively good. But how we’re showing up is causing us to compromise our hearts. We’re functioning as Mr. Nice Guy and the People Pleaser rather than taking bold acts of love in faith. We might even play the role of Martyr – taking a not so subtle pride in just how much we’ve given up for the other.
Either way, we’ve lost ourselves and we’re not following the example of Christ when we don’t make our sacrifices from a deep heart of integrity grounded in love.
In the end, continue to make bold and courageous sacrifices as you seek to bring more life and goodness to others. But do this with your integrity intact. This is the example set by Christ.