Ron Lutz ~ Ephesians 5:22-33
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
“… to be fully known and truly loved is a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”
Defending – I find it difficult to receive feedback about weaknesses or sin. When confronted, my tendency is to explain things away, talk about my successes, or to justify my decisions. As a result, I rarely have conversations about difficult things in my life.
Pretending/ Faking – I strive to keep up appearances, maintain a respectable image. My behavior, to some degree, is driven by what I think others think of me. I also do not like to think reflectively about my life. As a result, not very many people know the real me (I may not even know the real me).
Hiding – I tend to conceal as much as I can about my life, especially the “bad stuff”. This is different than pretending in that pretending is about impressing. Hiding is more about shame. I don’t think people will accept or love the real me.
Blaming– I am quick to blame others for sin or circumstances. I have a difficult time owning my contributions to sin or conflict. There is an element of pride that assumes it’s not my fault and/or an element of fear of rejection if it is my fault.
Minimizing – I tend to downplay sin or circumstances in my life, as if they are normal or not that bad. As a result, things often don’t get the attention they deserve, and have a way of mounting up to the point of being overwhelming.
“God commands us to forgive because it is the best way to live. He commands us to forgive others because he has forgiven us; he is the Great Forgiver. He commands it because the only other way is to remain a prisoner of the hurt for as long as I live. God commands forgiving because to refuse to forgive means I allow the one who hurt me to keep me chained in a prison of bitterness and resentment year after year. No human beings are more miserable than the unforgiving.”
To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable in others because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.
-C. S. Lewis
According to Paul, marriage is not a be-all and end-all, but a pointer to something bigger than marriage. (which by the way is good news for singles)… Paul is saying that God’s design for marriage is that it is preparatory and temporary. The first and fundamental goal in marriage is for a husband and wife to prepare each other for an everlasting marriage to Jesus. The only marriage that will remain in the new heaven and new earth is the marriage between Jesus and his bride, the church… we know that even the best day of marriage in this life will pale in comparison to the worst day of marriage to Jesus in the new heaven and new earth (as if there could be a worst day).