Monday, 6 December 2010

God Doesn't Make Suggestions

One of my favorite writers is Doctor Bob Snyder. He heads up the International Health Services organization and is author of Lessons Learned on the Journey. (

Recently he wrote:

"Early in my life I learned a valuable lesson – to distinguish between a suggestion and a command. Initially I did not understand. I learned quickly when my parents disciplined me for interpreting a command as a suggestion! A command was non-negotiable and my feelings or my circumstances were not to be used as an excuse.

Treating the commands of God as suggestions is not wise either… Ignoring God’s commands also comes with consequences."

While there are many verses in Scripture that can be applied to marriage there are a few that are specifically designated as such. 1Peter 3:7 commands husbands to understand their wives; and the Book of Ephesians, verse 5:25 commands husbands to have the same love toward their wives that Christ has toward His Church. Wives too are given a specific command, that to respect their husbands. (Eph. 5:33b) 

Now I am not suggesting these commands are easy to carry out. What one husband would call respect may differ greatly from what another would consider being esteemed, admired, and honored. How one wife would describe what it looks like to be loved unconditionally as Christ loves His Church and to be truly understood by her husband might look totally different from one woman to another.

Back to Bob’s point, these are commands not merely suggestions. Here’s what boggles my mind. Thousands of Christians seek marriage counselors, read self-help books and spend millions on divorce attorneys every year. I venture to say not one of these people tried to apply God’s commands for 60 days. Now I’m not against reading a book on how to be a more effective communicator, or going to a Christian counselor to learn how to glorify God in the midst of a conflict. But if God gives us a command and we choose to totally ignore it why should we think that our marriage will go well or that some other source of information is going to be superior to the Word of God. “Ignoring God’s commands comes with consequences.”

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