Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Surely It Is Not That Simple

32 Instead, be kind and compassionate. Graciously forgive one another just as God has forgiven you through Christ, our Liberating King.  Ephesians 4:32 The Voice

Could a Godly marriage be so simple as to just be kind, compassionate and forgiving?  Probably not but it would be a good place to start.  Non-Christians exhibit kindness and compassion.  To a certain extent a non-Christian can even be forgiving.   Based on the divorce rate statistics it is reasonably safe to assume that there are as many happily married non-Christian couples as there are those who consider themselves followers of Jesus. 

God wants more and He deserves more.  God wants marriage to be a reflection of the relationship between Christ and His bride (the church).  God wants marriage to bring glory to Himself; God wants us to love Him with all our heart, mind, soul, spirit and strength.  God wants a Christian’s marriage to be a “showcase” if you will, an example of what being in an other-centered relationship looks like.  Such a relationship would mean putting the other person’s needs, desires and wishes ahead of our own.

Christ gave it all for His bride so that she might be radiant, free of stain, blemish and  wrinkle. (My wife suggested that without wrinkle may be a stretch).  As you can see this goes way beyond just being kind, compassionate and forgiving but surely these characteristics would be incorporated into a marriage that would bring glory to God.

We know that it is difficult to be other-centered.  In 2Corinthians 5:15 the Apostle Paul said “ And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves…”  My translation of this is that we are so self-centered that we can’t get out of our own way and that Jesus recognized that He would have to experience an agonizing death to make our death to self a possibility.

So is it possible to live in a relationship with another person in such a way that God is glorified?  The answer is “Yes” for that is why Christ went to the Cross.  It is possible because the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in all who truly desire to follow Jesus.   It is with the help of the Spirit that we can exhibit the love of Christ.

There is an old expression that says, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”.  A God glorifying, other-centered, Christ edifying marriage isn’t built in a day either.  Depending on your starting point just being kind might be a great place to start.  In what tangible ways could you demonstrate kindness to the person that God has brought into your life?


Monday, 31 March 2014

Is Your Marriage More Important than Your Car?

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.  Matthew 5:8

f our car was malfunctioning most of us would need to take it to a mechanic as quickly as possible.  If we had a tooth ache causing us much pain we would go to a dentist as soon as he/she had an opening.  If we suspected we had termites we would naturally call an exterminator to rid the infestation.  If we incurred a numbness in our arm and a pain in our chest we would seek medical attention.

If you drive your car with the engine warning light showing for a year chances are you have done irreparable damage to your car.   If you endured the pain long enough your tooth could become abscessed and it might need to be extracted.  Unattended termites can do extensive damage to the foundation of one’s home.  Choosing to ignore a potential life threatening illness could have dire consequences.

In each of the above scenarios we would seek help as quickly as possible.  Granted each of the above situations is important and we would treat them as if time were of the essence.  Yet thousands of married couples tolerate a marriage that is malfunctioning, causing them pain. Infested with malice, and in need of heart surgery but won’t seek help as soon as the difficulties become noticeable. Why is that?

None of the above abnormalities will cure themselves, they require some form of intervention. The same is true for a marriage that is in disrepair.  Granted there are some differences when needing to treat something that is physical or mechanical.  One such difference is pride.  There is no shame in attending to something that is physical or mechanical but when it comes to our personal relations we just don’t want to admit we need help.  Are we afraid people will think less of us if we are honest?  Are we concerned that we might be part of the problem and don’t want to address it out of embarrassment?  Are we naïve enough to assume time will cure the problem?  Or are we so blasé about the permanency of marriage that we would rather seek an “upgrade” than fix the problem?

Get help and get it as soon as possible if there is any sign of a problem.  Time alone will not repair the damage.  Seek out a mature, Christian couple and ask them to mentor you.  Or buy some highly regarded Christian books on marriage AND agree to read them together.  Go to a marriage conference, attend a marriage class or see a Biblical counselor.  Your marriage is far more important than any physical or mechanical thing that can go wrong.