How does your marriage compare to God’s call? PIII

cherish

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:25-27

For us to be successful in life, in our relationship to God and with our spouses, we must respond to Christ with gratitude and love; then, we must be respectful and submit to one another. The key to a successful and vibrant marriage is the wife and husband respecting and loving each other, because our relationship is bound to our Lord.  We are not just the participants of the church, we are the church and we model it to the world, and we must show that our Gospel and love is real and sincere.  And the Christian marriage is a prime platform for the Gospels illustration! Love and respect are the two essential ways we can improve our relationship; this is the “marriage secret” to a happy and content marriage.  The husband cherishes his wife, regardless of his feelings, so she feels secure and valued, while the wife respects her husband, even when he does not deserve it.

In this way, both have an authentic mutual affection and admiration for one another. Which builds upon each other for the betterment and prevents and solves most ills.

Let’s look at the husband’s call, as it does apply to both. He is asked to do something greater, to love their wives, to be passionate and committed about their care and personhood, not just rely on feelings. To take the initiative to lead and to listen.  In ancient times, marriage contracts would advocate the husband to make his wife submit with absolute obedience.  Paul’s assertion to his churches and readers “to love,” and because of love to “submit,” was very radical.  To Paul, love was a duty.  To truly love someone was considered weak by the macho mindsets of the times as well as with many people today. Yet, love is not weak; it is building the strength of a relationship and the bond of a family by creating a mutual partnership (Amos 3:3; Mark 12:38; 1 Cor. 7:3-4; 13; 11:8-9)!

Love or cherisheth is the verb for love (Greek: agapete) designates a continuous routine of a devoted care action all of the time, not just when we feel like it.

Love is “symbiotic” as in mutually loving toward each other to build and improve each one’s relationship.  Here, a man loves a woman; she then submits because of his love.  This submission is a love in itself that becomes as “one flesh” (Eph. 2:4-7; 5:21-32; 1 John 4:7-21).

However, submission is misunderstood when it is viewed as abuse or subjection. In context, it is what God has for us, His fullness, His love that must be received and played forward to one another.  As a family and as a church.  God’s perfect plan, even in a corrupt culture, was always oneness and intimacy that were based on commitment and obedience.  Christ restores our true intimacy (Gen. 2:19-25; 1 Tim. 2:13-14).

We are to walk as people who are wise in the ways of the Lord and who are also on guard to the ways of the world.  We are to be careful how we live, so we treat our lives and others with love, dignity, and respect, especially our loved ones.

We must not to be careless with what is precious, people who are God’s precious children.  We are to make the most of our lives, and the opportunities He gives us.  To waste it away, and to treat others with disrespect or abuse is what a fool does; so, let us not be fools!   When we understand what the Lord wants us to do—and, by the way, this is not hard—we will do better in life.  It is not hard because what God is concerned with is our character.  We form our character from understanding, and putting into practice this fullness. Then, we will have healthy families in a healthy church.

 

Forgiveness in Marriage PII

Forgiveness in Marriage c

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:12-14

We may suffer betrayal from friends, family, coworkers, and even church members. However, the biggest betrayal is always from those we love and trust the most. Yet, we are called to forgive, anyway!

Why? Because, we need it, and because we are imperfect, fallen, and full of sin. Even the Christian who is saved by Grace is still in the process of growth and sanctification.  We are yet imperfect, no matter what the level of maturity. If you are thinking, I refuse to forgive, consider this reason to forgive.

We forgive because God has forgiven us.  

If we do not, the resentment will build and build-like battery acid that slowly eats away a car-until, unless we fix it, it will destroy us.  Even secular psychologists tell us that resentment is the most powerful, self-destructive emotion in our arsenal. Will you allow forgiveness to build and destroy the love that was kindled, take your relationship away and cause hurt to your family? If so, all that will be left is the building blocks of bitterness to destroy your family, other relationships and your life!

            God desires that we seek forgiveness, because God is a God of relationships, and is committed to relationships.

God knows our human weaknesses and our self-destructive nature, and that our relationships tend to be fragile.  Broken marriages come out of our sinful nature and our fallen world, which seeks its own gain. God’s desire is to show the world our potential. Because a happy, healthy Christian marriage is becoming more rare and thus more needed. Because of what Christ has done for us, we should not take pleasure in destructive situations, those that divide and draw relationships apart.

Relationships are what life is all about!  A healthy marriage is the pinnacle of human relationships. Satan seeks to destroy marriage and pervert it with substitutions that only fester brokenness disguised as rights and victory. His first attempt was in the Garden of Eden, nearly defeating our relationship with God and with Adam and Eve and then with the rest of humanity of one another. God’s plan is to prove Satan wrong, and, our call is to build our matrimony and one another up, not destroy one another.

When a spouse betrays and we have been wronged, we experience feelings of betrayal, and consider retaliation to be justified. God calls us out of retaliation and into reconciliation.  Then we need godly council and help. Get it. Seek a qualified counselor to help you both through this.

When we fail to forgive, we are the ones who suffer the most. Your spouse may betray, but then that betrayal is lived out over and over, it will never stop. They get on with life, and unfairly the victim festers with the wounds. Then, anger, resentment, shame, bitterness, contempt, and defensiveness all synergistically build on top of one another, so every segment within us is held hostage with these emotions. We are chained like a dog on a leash, unable to reach the destination we desire, what Christ has for us.

A healthy Christian marriage puts aside spiteful behaviors, and embraces our spouse in love. What comes out of love is the release of our feelings of hurt that builds a better relationship of mutual respect for the future. 

Do not allow the bitterness to continue so that it festers causing more harm, even corrupting the potential for forgiveness, moving to reconciliation and damaging your whole being. The bitterness must not take hold in your life, or it will block the flow of the Holy Spirit and self-controlling love. Or else, the festering will continue to the point that Christ is crying out to us in the wilderness, yet we do not hear Him.

Our Lord is alerting us to the perils of being unforgiving, just as the call of red alert of impending danger.  If we do not heed the warning, our emotions will run wild, and we will no longer have control or composure, unable to recognize who we are in Christ. We will not be able to listen, solve any problems, or clear up misunderstandings.  Thus, the anger and the uncontrolled emotions will become controlled by Satan.  The red alert has been ignored, and our family has been destroyed! Your relationship(s) have been destroyed!