Friday, May 13, 2011

Let It Be

And when the broken hearted people
Living in the world agree,
There will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is
Still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be.

Let it be, let it be.....

Lyrics written by
John Lennon and Paul McCartney

"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus"1

I have no idea how many husbands and wives are struggling today with the thought that they can no longer remain with their spouse. As someone whose marriage ended, I want to appeal to you before you make that decision.

Don’t do it!

Certainly it will not affect your salvation; only faith in Christ can save one from sin and condemnation. But what impact will it ultimately have on you as a follower of Christ? Again, I am not speaking to anyone who has already committed to ending their marriage, many of whom have re-married; I appeal to those struggling in their marriage.

Last week we celebrated Mother’s Day (and rightly so), for the many women who have given birth; nurturing their children into adulthood. Women do this from a place of love that no man can ever fully understand, but men are not without the ability to understand love. Love is something we all are capable of giving birth to, and yet in a marriage, many find it easier to abort love; rather than nurture love.

Why is that?

A wife will never love her husband in the manner she loves her child, and a husband will never love a wife in the way he loves his mother, but each is capable of giving birth to love one another.

Why does a marriage end in failure?

If I were to ask a hundred couples I’m certain I would hear more than two hundred reasons, but I believe most of us are simply dissatisfied with the person we chose to love. The thing is, I’m not dissatisfied with me, only my spouse. Words like,
  1. My spouse is the reason why the marriage failed,
  2. My spouse didn’t,
  3. My spouse wouldn’t, and
  4. My spouse could not
are too often used to blame one's spouse for my own dissatisfaction and inconsistencies.

I hold on to these thoughts and I value them above the life of my spouse. I give birth to these thoughts and as I nurture and protect them, my spouse becomes more and more insignificant to me. It’s unfortunate that I will never put forth that kind of value, passion and desire for my spouse. I chose to abort my spouse, and I’m left with my thoughts which I can exalt and offer to God the thing which I’ve come to value above the life and love He birthed in me.

I’ve come to realize that marriage isn’t a battleground, although it often becomes a battle of wills. Marriage isn’t about who is right and who is wrong, although there will be times when both a husband and wife are wrong. No, marriage is about forgiving and loving someone in spite of the fact that they aren’t perfect.

A woman may not be a ravishing beauty, but as her husband you see such beauty in her life. A husband may be as stubborn as a mule, but as his wife, you see a man determined to get you; to accept you for the woman you are.

I’ve come to realize that I don’t want God seeing me as a flawed person that isn’t worth loving. I want God to love me in spite of my flaws.
But that doesn’t mean I want to remain flawed.

I may never reach the place where a flaw in the man I am, is perfected, but I still want to be loved by God.

I want that, but I’m unwilling to give that.

Your wife will never be everything you want her to be, but will you love her for who she is? Can you accept her for the flawed woman she is and will continue to be in this life? Or will you nurture the things, those condemning thoughts you gave birth to?

The bible says,
… I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.2

I wonder what happens when someone aborts the love of a spouse. Is there sadness in the presence of the angels of God when a husband leaves his wife? What do the angels do when love is aborted?

Paul wrote in Philippians:
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus3

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus4

Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:]”5

Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself.6

Are you capable of having the mind of Christ in your relationship with your spouse?

You don’t know my spouse MTJ! She doesn’t respect me! I don’t even think she knows how to love me.

Are you capable of loving her to the height, depth, length and breadth of God’s love for you?

I want to but she won’t let me.

Will you love her for the woman she is?

I just can’t MTJ!

What will you do then?

I’ll cling to these thoughts, replacing her life with my nurtured thoughts of her failures. I’ll value them above her life, and the love I once gave birth to. In the end, I will come to know what really matters to God.

What do you think?

I think you should let it be.

What do you mean by,let it be?

I think you should give birth to the mind of Christ and love your spouse.

Almighty God and Father,

We live in a world of division, anger, bitterness, resentment, and pain, but we are not of this world. We are citizens of heaven. You have demonstrated to us what love is. You didn't give us a concept, philosophy, or inkling feeling. You clearly demonstrated to us what true love is. Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. I plead before Your throne of grace and mercy to bring healing to troubled marriages and relationships. Relationship problems between fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, brothers and sisters, and those we once called friend. May we humble ourselves before You as Chrsit has demonstrated. May we obey Your command to love and forgive. May we obtain healing in our hearts and mind. In Jesus name. Amen.


Note: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte and Ginger).Spiritual Sundays

Footnotes:
  1. Philippians 2:5, NKJV
  2. Luke 15:10, NASB
  3. Philippians 2:5, NKJV
  4. Philippians 2:5, NIV
  5. Philippians 2:5, Amplified
  6. Philippians 2:5, Message


References:
  1. The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Version), Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6
  2. The Jerusalem Bible, Edited by Alexander Jones, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, ISBN 0-385-01156-3
  3. The Amplified Bible, by The Lockman Foundation, Zondervan Bible Publishers, Grand Rapids, Michigan, ISBN-13: 978-0310951414
  4. The Message Bible, by Eugene H. Peterson, NavPress Publishing Group, Colorado Springs, CO, ISBN-13: 978-1600060250
  5. New King James Version, by Nelson Bibles, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Inc., PO Box 141000, Nashville, Tennessee, ISBN-13: 978-0840713704
  6. The NIV Study Bible, Edited by Kenneth Barker, Donald Burdick, John Stek, Walter Wessel and Ronald Youngblood, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530, USA
  7. The New Living Translation Bible, by Tyndale Charitable Trust, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois, ISBN-13: 978-0842384896


14 comments:

Patti Hanan said...

Thank you for encouraging people to not give up on their marriages. Divorce has become so easy. Marriage is hard work because we are all imperfect people, but God is there to help if we turn to him. A three fold cord is not easily broken.

Pain to Purpose said...

The Bible says that God hates divorce, and so then, we should hate it too. Divorce seems like the easy way out, but it actually produces more mess, more confusion, more mean words, more stress, more financial difficulty than reconciliation. Satan has the world bound with believing otherwise. And don't even get me started on the silent victims of its path: the children. I hate divorce!!

MTJ said...

Patti: You're so right! Marriage is hard work, and many have succumbed to emotional, physical, and spiritual exhuastion from their efforts. I believe that marriage operates from the place of love, forgiveness, and grace; we give love, forgiveness, and grace to our spouse. These three elements fuel my passion for my spouse in a way that is inexhaustible. When I view marriage from a place of legalism, I will invariably grow tired from my efforts.

Carrie: We live in a world where some want to shade it with the colors of black and white. I find it strange that we attempt this when God has in fact created a world with a vast array of colors.

Like you, I'm opposed to divorce, but I live in a world where that view isn't the only one prized. Many in this country (alone), have chosen divorce over reconciliation; and many Christians in America have chosen divorce.

This post is not meant to condemn anyone for choosing divorce. As I said, "marriage cannot save anyone from their sins, only Christ saves."

I do not believe marriage creates problems, it identifies problems in my life that need to be resolved. I believe that God uses marital conflict to gain my attention; enabling me to address problems in my life. I do believe divorce creates problems in my life because it allows me to ignore basic issues which I refuse to surrender to God. Issues such as obedience, love, forgiveness, trust, and faith.

I don't want anyone to feel as though I condemn them for the choice they made or will make regarding their marriage; I will not do that.

I merely suggest that we all consider the mind of Christ in whatever we choice we make regarding marital relationships.

Joan said...

MTJ: Your post is one that many need to hear. There are so many divorces these days (and the courts make it so easy with no-fault divorce). As you said, there are many Christian couples who have chosen this path. In our own church home, we know of several couples who are contemplating or have gotten a divorce.

Recently my husband and I went through a six-week small group study called Sacred Marriage (by author Gary Thomas). Although our marriage is strong, I would be foolish to think that something couldn't happen. Satan is out to destroy lives and will use any means possible, including tearing apart Christian families.

There are no perfect people and no perfect marriages. For those who get out of one marriage and expect to go into another one with the "perfect" spouse...well it just doesn't work that way.

Blessings,
Joan

Sharon said...

A very timely message. Thank you for your open vulnerability, and for being bold in proclaiming truth.

Only through knowing and receiving and relying on God's love and forgiveness of us, can we in turn offer it to others.

GOD BLESS!

Ginger~~Enchanting Cottage said...

I think that to many people give up to easily. I love the saying~~ A couple that pray's together stays together.
Blessings,
Ginger

Charlotte said...

This is a very timely message. One everyone should read. I remember as a child asking my mother who she loved most - me or my Dad. She always said she loved us both the same but in different ways. This didn't really satisfy me as a child because I wanted her to say she loved me more. As an adult I came to understand that there really are different kinds of love.
I hope you have a beautiful weekend.
Blessings,
Charlotte

Anita Johnson said...

We are starting a marriage study in our Bible Study in June, even though most of us have been married for more than 25 years. We still need to be reminded of God's picture of what marriage should be and model that for our children too.
Excellent post and your prayers always touch my heart.

Pamela said...

After church this morning a woman told me, "I just love to see the connection between you and your husband. It's been years since my husband showed me any affection." Broke my heart as I promised myself to pray for them each day. I've been married 36 years, but try never to take for granted the joy of our marriage. This was an important post for all of us to read and share.

Blessings,
Pamela

Renee said...

Thank you for using your own hurts to help others....Very helpful post. God bless you.

sarah said...

I echo what Renee said....you're turning something that was painful into helping others. That's the best.

Wanda said...

Hi MTJ, I've never been married but I have always wonder what really causes so many marriages to fail. You shed some for insightful light on the subject. I join you in praying that marriages be restored.

Lloyd said...

Praying for you my brother in Christ. May the God of Love touch you and your wife's hearts and make them whole again. God bless, Lloyd

Jane said...

Marriage is a deep and personal tie between two people committed to love each other throughout their lives. Marriage should lasts, should, but it takes hard work and mutual acceptance. God's word is clear on it. I've recently been pondering severing my relationship with my god-daughter, and our turbulent relationship gave me a little insight into a troubled marriage, that when one party is deeply hurt, whether real or perceived, it is very difficult to continue in it, having to face the person who causes you hurt day in and out. Wanting to get out of that relationship is not so much as to breaking faith with the party, but just avoiding getting hurt again, and living with so much pain. What causes the pain? Pride, selfishness, different expectations??? I have no answer to that. I thank God for a good spouse, I think I'm a lousy god-mother because I'm now wanting out...