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Posts Tagged ‘Christians’

There are few things married people can say to shock me. My husband and I have dealt with everything short of physical abuse – anger, resentment, bitterness, sexual problems, communication problems, and financial problems. We’ve been brought back from the brink of marital death more times than I care to count, and what it has taught me is that there is nothing a marriage can’t overcome with the help of a loving Father, and some old-fashion elbow grease. I know it may sound like I’m oversimplifying the problem, which is not my intent. I guess you could say I’ve made so many excuses in my life that it bugs the daylights out of me when I hear other people making them. I know how desperate people can get when they want to escape pain, because I’ve experienced it for myself.

I once saw divorce as a (sometimes) necessary evil. Marriage is about sacrifice and commitment and not about being happy all the time… but it’s not about being miserable, either, right? When your marriage is teetering on the edge of disaster and you’re so miserable you can barely live with yourself, then it’s OK to leave, isn’t it? I mean, God has to understand. God just wants us all to be happy, after all.

Here is what I’ve learned, the hard way.
1. Divorce is like putting a little bandaid on an enormous, gaping wound. Why? The assumption is that you will get divorced, leave the situation, and either live alone in peace, or (usually) find someone else to share your life with. Does it happen? Yes. All the time? Not hardly. You’ve heard the saying, “you can run, but you can’t hide,” right? What do we expect to accomplish by divorcing, other than doing simply that – running? If you leave a broken marriage behind you in a heap of dust, you’ve resolved nothing. You haven’t solved any problems, you haven’t learned how to deal with the relational issues involved, and apart from blatant abuse, you can never honestly blame the breakup on your spouse. It doesn’t work that way. It takes two to tango – even if you tango yourselves into a tree.

2. “God has given me peace about it.” Are you sure? Now, look, I’m not entirely refuting this and saying it never happens. There are legit reasons for divorcing…unfortunately, most people don’t get divorced for those reasons. They get divorced because a struggling marriage is painful and it’s easier to walk away. Before you declare that God has given you peace about a divorce, get real honest with yourself and think, OK, do I truly have biblical grounds for this divorce? Am I truly feeling God’s peace, or am I simply feeling relieved that the end is in sight? Get together with other people that are grounded in the Truth, and be honest with them. Get their godly perspective. You might be surprised what you find.

3. “For the sake of my kids, I have to get a divorce.” Don’t base your decision on something Oprah said, or even the short-term impact divorce will have on your children. Seek God’s counsel, not a TV shrink’s. And do some real research. Children of broken homes have far more issues than children from traditional families…even ones that have to fight hard to stay that way. What message do you want to send your kids? If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again? Or, give up and run away from things that are too hard?

4. “My husband/wife refuses to do the things he/she needs to do in order to make this marriage work.” Over a year ago, I blogged about a Christian singer who had chosen divorce, and stated my (hopefully compassionate) disagreement with her choice. She read what I had written and responded to me, and we had a not-so-pleasant volley of e-mails between us. Anyway, she blamed most of the problems on her husband’s unwillingness to change. This, however, is a very basic tenet of faith. If we walk by faith, not by sight, then that means we live according to Truth and not according to what feels best. The Bible is very specific about telling us how to treat our spouse, and what kind of mate we are supposed to be. The fact that our mate does not follow the same guidelines does not give us the right to stop trying. Feelings follow actions. Did you catch that? FEELINGS FOLLOW ACTIONS. Our culture tries to convince us it’s the other way around, but it’s not. You act, then the feelings come. You respect, love, and encourage your mate, and deliberately focus on the positive vs. negative aspects of your spouse, and you see if it doesn’t bring forth positive change and renewed effort in your spouse.
Husbands, the Bible instructs you to love your wife as Christ loved the church. Christ’s love was unconditional, and it was not just an emotion – it was an action. Many times, the church did not deserve unconditional love, mercy, forgiveness, grace, or a second chance… but that was what Christ gave us. That is how we ought to be loving our husband/wife.

5. It’s not about being happy. Marriage isn’t always romantic, or fun. It’s hard work. Life gets in the way. You won’t always a feel burning passion for your mate. It’s a drag sometimes, but guess what? It’s for your own good. God is not as concerned about your happiness as He is about the state of your heart. If it takes rough seas to knock you out of the boat, expect a violent storm. If allowing a division between you and your mate is what it takes to make you focus on God first and foremost in your life and in your marriage, expect to be unpleasantly redirected. If you’re not walking with God, if God is not the center of your marriage, GOD WILL ALLOW UNHAPPINESS TO INFILTRATE YOUR LIFE IN AN EFFORT TO MOVE YOU FORWARD IN A RIGHT AND HOLY DIRECTION. IF YOUR MARRIAGE IS IN A SHAMBLES, IT’S BECAUSE THE ENEMY HAS MADE IT THAT WAY, AND THE ENEMY HAS MADE IT THAT WAY BECAUSE YOU LEFT THE DOOR OPEN AND UNGUARDED. IF GOING THROUGH A DIFFICULT PERIOD IN YOUR MARRIAGE HOLDS THE POTENTIAL TO DRAW YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE CLOSER TO THE LORD, THEN DON’T BE SURPRISED IF IT HURTS FOR A WHILE! If you can learn a valuable lesson from pain, God will allow you to ENDURE pain!

We live in an “anything goes” culture. If it feels good, do it. If it doesn’t feel good, can it.
What kind of marriage are you in? One that runs on feeling and emotion instead of hard work and perseverance? Or are you willing to go all the way – regardless of how painful or how difficult – to have a marriage that is consecrated unto God, and set apart from the rest of the world?

Sometimes being an example for Christ means allowing people to watch you hurt, and being willing to accept inconvenient, godly instruction along the way.

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I’m watching this show called “Countdown to Armageddon” on the History Channel, pointing to Revelation as its guide.  Of course, they flash photos from 9/11 and ask, “Is this the beginning of the Apocalypse?”  So I just have to ask – are people thinking this must be the end of the world because America was attacked by terrorists, because if so, it seems awfully arrogant.   Like, all of a sudden the almighty United States is attacked, so that MUST be the beginning of Armageddon?  Or maybe it was Hurricane Katrina?  When was the last time we were hit so hard?  Hurricane Andrew?

Back in World War II, they must have thought the same thing, as millions of Jews were slaughtered and Pearl Harbor went up in flames.  “Surely, this is the beginning of the end!”

Actually, I do believe we’re in the “End Times.”  But I believe we’ve been in the End Times since Christ ascended into Heaven, though things are obviously getting worse, that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re close to the end.  God’s timing is not our timing.  Truth is, we have no clue when Christ is coming back.

Oh, and by the way, the Rapture isn’t a biblical concept.  Go ahead, look it up in your concordance.

I could be totally wrong, and if anything thinks I am, please let me know, but… I think when the true END is near, we’ll know it, we won’t be fumbling for answers and explanations.  We will know beyond a shadow of a doubt.  After all, there are things in the Bible that have to come to pass before the end.

It’s easy to forget, isn’t it, that Jesus is coming back and all this pain will disappear?  It’s so easy to fall into sadness and discouragement, wrongly thinking that this world is as good as it gets.  This is all basically a test-run.  Love your God will all your heart, soul, mind, and strength because it’s the only thing worth pouring all of yourself into.

Think about Heaven.  Focus on it.  But do so knowing that nobody has any idea when the end will come – not even Christ himself.  But it IS coming, and He’s up there preparing a place for us now.

Just imagine, if we could live in that knowledge – fully immerse ourselves in it – how affective we’d be in the Kingdom of God, and how at peace we would be in our earthly dealings.

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