Monday, 26 March 2012

Speak the Truth in Love - Part I

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4:15 (NIV)

In my opinion Ephesians 4:15 may be one of the most difficult passages in Scripture to apply to married life. Let’s start with a couple of assumptions. First - the primary purpose for marriage is to glorify God and I’m sure that on your wedding day that is all you were thinking about. Secondly it was God’s intention from the moment we said “I do” to use our spouse to help us develop spiritually. This is not to be construed as nagging.

The euphemism for helping you develop is “constructive criticism.” The typical response to such a generous offer is “Who died and made you king/queen?” Most of us do not take kindly to any form of criticism, whether it is true, i.e. warranted or not. But God didn’t stop at merely assigning us the duty of helping our spouse to grow to become more Christlike, He had the nerve to instruct us to do it “in love.”

Imagine the following conversation:
(Servant-leader husband) “Dear you know how much I adore you. You know that I worship the ground that you walk on. There is just one itsy, bitsy thing that I would like to point out - we are spending more than I am making and to be good stewards we need to dial our spending back.”
(Frustrated, irritated wife) “Are you saying that I am to blame for the financial condition we are in? I re-use Kleenex, I only grocery shop where coupons are doubled, and I haven’t bought any new clothes since Obama became President.”

This conversation is not going to end well and most likely nothing will get resolved.

So where did it go wrong? Assume for the moment that in fact the couple is spending more than they are bringing in. It sounded as though the husband was trying to love and even said we are spending, not you are spending.

The fact is that you can wrap up criticism anyway you like and it is not the gift that keeps on giving. So we need to back up and take a running start at this subject to see how God intended us to help our partners become more like the Son.

Tune in for Part II

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