Monday, December 20, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Loving Your Husband

Here you are, ready and eager to read another portion of my random thoughts that I dish out on a fairly inconsistent basis. But, before you continue, I have to warn you: This post is not about babies. Or birth control. Or a lack thereof. It's not even about children or parenting! I must give a secondary warning, but this is just for Sean: This post does include some mention of the awesomeness of my husband. Feel free to gag now and get it over with.

As I know that some people reading this probably don't have the same beliefs that I do, I'd like to summarize those. I believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, given to us as His revealed knowledge to all of us, inspired by the Holy Spirit and meant to guide us, primarily, to our understanding of our own sinfulness and knowledge of Jesus Christ as God and faith in Him and His sacrificial love and death on our behalf as the only way of salvation from our sin and from eternal punishment (see Romans 3:23, John 3:16, and Eph. 2:8). This post, though applicable to all, is primarily focused at those who would agree with me in these beliefs.

Given my trust in God, His love, and my high esteem of the Bible, I take literally the concept that men and women have different roles in this life. In marriage, men are called to love their wives and protect them, and women are called to submit to their husbands and respect them.

BUT, given these specified roles, there's something that has struck a raw nerve with me over the last year and a half. I've noticed that men often have a really hard time admitting their weaknesses and mistakes, taking personal responsibility for them, and asking others for forgiveness. (Don't get me wrong, women. We have a hard time with this, too.) If left with this difficulty, they are prone to arrogance, hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and a lack of love and grace for others around them. Not a pretty picture, and certainly not a good position from which to be representing Christ in a marriage -- or to others, for that matter.

David, on the other hand, is pretty darn good (though not perfect, Sean -- no husband worship here!!) at, at least eventually, admitting his sin and repenting for it.

I've seen the weakness described above first-hand, magnified in all its ugliness, a few times over the last year and a half, and I've seen the destruction it has wrought in its path. It's been heart-breaking, to say the least, as these men -- who have so bullishly sought to destroy all who have lovingly reached out to help them -- have been men that are at least professing faith in Christ and lives that have been transformed by Him.

But none of this is at the heart of my ramblings here.

This post is for wives, with a very serious warning for all of us to be diligent in the role God has given to us. You see, at least in two of the situations I have referenced above, the actions of the wives of these men have left me nauseous, physically wanting to puke. A lot. These wives have both watched their husbands be lovingly corrected by godly leadership and refuse to repent for their sinfulness. Yet both these women have, presumably in the name of love, submission, and loyalty, patted their husbands on their backs and "lovingly" supported them in their self-worship. And in doing so, these women have proved themselves to be the epitome of adulteresses, lacking anything close to love and reverence for their husbands or the God they claim for their salvation. And for this, I pity their husbands and them, for they know not the joy and freedom of repentance nor the loving faithfulness of a godly spouse.

Women, we should be prayerfully, humbly, lovingly, and yes, privately exhorting our husbands to godliness. If our husbands are saved by grace, we can have confidence that the same God who saved them will continue to sanctify them. Yet God uses His children as sanctifying agents in each other's lives, and we are to be sanctifying agents in our husbands' lives. A wife is the one person God gives to a husband for him to cleave to and become one with. We can either love him in a way that helps him draw closer to God, or we can hate him in a way that enables him in his love for the idols of his heart. Seriously -- what kind of wife are you?

Most who know me know that I think my husband is about the most amazing husband a gal could have. (Sorry, gals--he's taken!!) And I definitely am very convinced that he's the one that got the short end of this marriage. But David is not perfect. He's in the process of sanctification along with the rest of us. But over the years, I've seen him grow dramatically in the area of being able to more quickly recognize his sin against God and others, repent, and ask forgiveness. Dramatically. And though I'm FAR from perfect and have a long way to grow in this area myself, I can see how God has used me as a sanctifying agent in this area of David's life.

There are many practical angles I could expand on, but this post is too long already. I would like to conclude by noting that saying things like, "I'm sorry if I hurt you" or "I'm sorry that you were offended" don't indicate real repentance. If one is not actually acknowledging sinful behavior and actively, with the grace of God, turning away from it, saying "sorry" in a way that turns the responsibility away from oneself and onto someone else is fake, to say the least. God empowers His people to righteousness through humility expressed in repentance. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

Friday, December 10, 2010