Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Surrender All - Are You Nuts?

I heard a pastor say, with tongue in cheek, that he was considering charging $250,000 to do a wedding because the lawyers are making that on the back end to undo the wedding. Our culture has taken the Bobby McFerrin lyrics to heart, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” It is all about me, my happiness, my fulfillment, my desires, and my needs.

I am still convinced that self-centeredness is the single biggest problem in most marriages. Finances, children, sex, family of origin, etc. can provide areas for disagreement and conflict but conflict usually arises because I don’t get my way. The heart is the root problem those other topics are the surface issues.

As usual the Bible is counter-cultural and counter-intuitive. Ephesians 5:21 says “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Not only did God command us to be other centered but Christ modeled it. Philippians 2: 1-8 brings it home, i.e. provides the game plan by which we can have a love that lasts. Verse 3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Furthermore we are told to have the same attitude as Christ when it comes to how we are to relate to one another. i.e. to “make ourselves nothing taking the very nature of a servant.” Surely you jest.

I “jesteth” not. If there was anyone on this earth who was always right and who had all the powers of persuasion, (not to mention a legion of angels at his disposal) it was Jesus. Yet he “…made himself nothing…humbled himself and became obedient to death.” This is exactly what we are called to do – all but the death part.

Granted this could have its own set of complications. If we actually deferred to one another it could take days to decide where to go to dinner, weeks to decide which movie to see, hours to decide who was going to put the kids to bed, do the laundry or cut the grass. “I’ll do it”; “No, I’ll do it”; “But I’d be glad to do it”; “No dear – let me, please”.

Okay that may be a little over the top. Deferring to someone else doesn’t mean you lose your identity, your voice or your opinion.

What it does mean is that you seek to understand the other’s point of view and you seek a win-win compromise where both parties feel heard and honored in the final decision.

It does mean that if such a compromise is not readily apparent that you give up your position, not as a martyr, but as someone who is attempting to act in a selfless way.

What do you think - can this work?

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