For the last 20 years or so, I have had people contact me from time to time about their marriage problems. I am not a marriage counselor, nor am I a mediator, and I am most definitely not a shrink. Biblically speaking all I am is a teacher.
I have noticed over the years that all of these otherwise wonderful people all have the same problem, at least from a Biblical point of view. In every case at least one of the parties involved has a problem dealing with self.
If you regularly read this blog, you may have noticed that I am a bit passionate on the point of self; this is the reason. In fact, if memory serves me, I have had a comment or two suggesting that I’m a little blunt on this subject. Of course that observation is entirely correct, and I have had people suggest to me in the past that I need to show more grace when talking about self.
At church I am often quoted on this subject, with or without attribution, because everyone there knows who says, “Get over your self!” (Laughter always ensues)
It literally breaks my heart to see a family ripped apart because one or both spouses cannot get beyond the notion that they must “win” every argument, that they always must have the last word, or that while their opposite number must forgive and forget, they must impose “repercussions”. As you might guess, these spouses always see the end result as being 100% the other person’s fault.
In one particular case, one spouse was perfectly willing to forgive and forget, and their actions demonstrated sincerity to a point I hadn’t seen before. The other spouse was in agreement that forgiveness was required to save their relationship, and so that spouse also agreed that they would no longer discuss the past, only how and where to go from that point. It seemed that they had finally turned a corner and that things would move in a positive direction… and in fact the rest of that conversation went surprisingly smoothly; but there was one little glitch. As we were breaking up, this spouse said to the other one, “There will still be repercussions for everything you have said and done…”
Quite naturally that particular couple has long since divorced, and their children have paid a heavy price for the need to impose “repercussions”.
The Bible calls for us to surrender all of our being to Christ; it also calls for us to put others ahead of ourselves. In the case of married people, the Bible calls for each to p[lace the interests of the other as top priority. As a matter of fact, the Bible goes so far as to say that we must put “self” to death. How can we say that we are followers of Jesus Christ when we must always be right, win the argument, get our way, force the other partner to bend to our will and impose sanctions for disobedience? How is it that a Christian can claim to be a follower of Christ when he or she will call their own spouse obscene and degrading names when they don’t get their way? How can we deliberately wound our partner and claim to be filled with the love of God?
OK, this is where I need to remember to add a good measure of grace to my message… So here goes:
For the sake of our Lord and His testimony, for the sake of your eternal future and the sake of your children and your loving husband or wife…
GET OVER YOUR SELF!
Sorry, but I can’t think of a nicer way to say it without losing clarity and still have any chance of breaking through the defenses against the truth.
One last point; the frustration I mentioned in the title is entirely mine!