Friday, 20 April 2012

God Can't Mean That - Can He?

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered (1 Pet 3:7).

Have you found that there are passages in Scripture that you either do not like to read and/or you assume those passages are not to be taken literally?  For example Matthew 5:30 says, “And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away.”  Surely God doesn’t really want us to cut off our hand but He is trying to make a point.  I would like to read 1Peter 3:7 assuming that this was another “overstatement” just to get my attention.  I would like to but I can’t.  God is relational and He is vitally concerned about relations.  What are the two great commandments?  Love God and love your neighbor.  Two commandments, both are relational.  In first Peter God is saying to me you need to really get to know Kathleen.  You need to honor her and love her as I have loved you, this is what I have commanded you to do.  Now if you are unwilling to obey me it is very possible that your prayers may fall on deaf ears.

Let me go out on a limb.  It is conceivable that you can have a good relationship with someone and no relationship with God.  However I believe it is somewhat inconceivable that you can have a good relationship with God and a bad relationship with other people.  The stronger the vertical connection between you and God the more likely your horizontal relationships, i.e. relationships between you and others, will be strong as well.

If as husbands, we are guilty of being inconsiderate, harsh, or dishonoring toward our wives, then we must repent of our disobedience to God, confess our sin to Him and to our wife, and learn to walk in obedience. God’s ears will again be opened to our prayers.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Hooked on Electronics

An increasing number of people are becoming addicted to the internet which encompasses video games, on line gambling, cyber relationships, pornography and/or social media.  I’m so glad I have limited my addiction to chocolate it is far less time consuming and less damaging to my marriage.

An electronic addiction is defined by some not as the amount of time spent on the computer but by the problems it causes in their lives.  Specifically if the personal time on the computer is negatively affecting one’s job, personal relationships, or educational functioning it is an addiction.

There are warning signs.  Minutes on line turn into hours.  Household work and/or work related responsibilities can be neglected.  Intimacy can decrease significantly.  Family and friends are replaced by a computer screen.  If approached about the amount of time spent gaming, etc. the person gets defensive.  There are also potential physical manifestations such as lack of sleep, headaches, back pain, eye strain and carpal tunnel syndrome and an unhealthy change in weight.

The reasons for an electronic addiction are very similar to those reasons given for any addiction:

People tend to use addictions to numb themselves from emotional pain and some people find that gaming provides them with an escape from reality.

There are feelings that the person doesn’t want to address. Stress, anxiety and depression can be avoided by time spent at the keyboard.

People who struggle with social interactions in person feel much more confident with their gaming interactions.

Sometimes the fantasy of a virtual world is more exciting than real life. People may find their own life is boring or depressing and the online world offers them a break from this.

Obviously a marriage relationship can suffer dramatically.  From a Biblical standpoint the addiction has become more important to the person than God, it has become an idol thus breaking the first two of the Ten Commandments.

Mort Fertel offers some good advice on dealing with this all too pervasive issue:

·       It’s important to remember that you can’t force your spouse to change. Nagging won’t help. Hiding the video game console won’t solve the problem. Arguing about it isn’t likely to create change either.

·       Express your concerns in a calm manner. Discuss how it is impacting you and the family. Discuss what you’ve noticed has been neglected and share your feelings. Encourage your spouse to seek help if he wants to change.

·       Encourage your spouse to become involved with activities that don’t involve gaming.

·       Avoid enabling your spouse. For example, don’t agree to change the time you make dinner to accommodate his gaming addiction.

·       Consider professional help if you feel like your marriage is at risk.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Is Worry Your Close Companion?

Andree Seu wrote a clever piece in the November issue of World Magazine. In part she wrote:
          I was trying to figure out what I was worrying about so I could worry about it properly…I often drop whatever I’m doing to have a good worry…It helps somehow (it) keeps everything in my life under control.  The worst thing is not having control…It’s the hypothetical you overlook that will kill you.  Not everybody realizes this.  It’s why you have to anticipate every possible bad scenario, so it won’t take you by surprise.

Author Eckert Tolle’s insight is most likely true.  He wrote “I would say about 80 to 90 percent of most people’s thinking is not only repetitive and useless but because of its dysfunctional and often negative nature, much of it is also harmful.”
If you or your spouse tend to worry over much you can rob your marriage of much joy.

Matthew penned, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:33-4.  The Apostle Paul wrote “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God that transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7

The very same God that controls your next breath is saying “You can assume that if you wake up tomorrow morning that sometime during the day something will not go according to your plan, something will go wrong – at least from your perspective.”  But then he says, “Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.  Just bring your problem to me and I will give you peace in the midst of your turmoil.”

In the book of Luke (8:22-25) the author tells of a time when Jesus’ disciples were panicked and convinced that they were going to drown, for a squall had come up on the lake on which their boat was traveling.  The disciples had to awake Jesus from a very sound sleep to tell him of their impending doom.  Jesus proceeded to calm the storm and then exclaimed “Where is your faith?”

I guess Jesus might ask us the same thing when we continue to ruminate over problems which may never come to fruition, or ones over which we have no control.