II. DIFFERENT LIFE PHILOSOPHY
Now the second cause of marriage conflict relates to a different PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE. This is critical! The center-of-life philosophy will always boil down to two choices – GOD or MAN. Either God is the source of all wisdom and meaning in life, or man is the source of all wisdom and meaning in life. In short, you will either have a God-centered philosophy of life, or you will have a man-centered philosophy of life. In this sense we are all philosophers and philosophical whether we want to admit it or not.
“WHAT IS AT THE CENTER OF YOUR LIFE WILL IN FACT DETERMINE
EVERYTHING ELSE ABOUT YOUR LIFE.”
Everything that man is, thinks, does, and decides is determined by what he is centered in – HIS LIFE PHILOSOPHY. It’s what makes us tick!
SUM-MUM BONUM – THE HIGHEST GOOD
With that said, at the outset here, just let me say that I don’t like the word PHILOSOPHY very much. It was the old Greek philosopher Pythagoras who first put forth the title PHILOSOPHER which literally means LOVER OF WISDOM. This was the same guy who taught that “MAN SHOULD STAND IN AWE OF HIMSELF.” He reminds me of the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 1:22,
“Professing to be wise, they became foolish.”
Men of such man-centered reason, enlarged by vain imagination, that they outwitted and deceived themselves!
The philosophers and philosophies of history never come to ultimate conclusions about the origin, meaning, and destiny of life, and the ones they did come to were often totally bogus as in the case of Pythagoras. Basically they all agree that what fulfills all the needs and desires of human REASON is life’s SUMMUM BONUM – HIGHEST GOOD. Ironic that those who are called and call themselves philosophers, and who love learning so profusely, were often dumber than stumps.
Of course, GOD ALONE IS MAN’S SUMMUM BONUM – HIGHEST GOOD! We stand IN AWE OF GOD AND GOD ALONE! Ergo:
“THAT IS WHY THE MAN OF FAITH, NOT THE MAN OF REASON, IS AND WILL
ALWAYS BE THE REAL PHILOSOPHER AND THE MOST KNOWING.”
For our purpose here, the point is then:
“THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A GOOD MARRIAGE WITHOUT GOD. FOR
THAT MATTER, WITHOUT GOD THERE IS NO GOOD THING AT ALL.”
Jesus tells in Mark 10:18,
“There is none good but One, that is God.”
So then, by philosophy I mean:
“ONE’S WORLD AND LIFE VIEW.”
Just so you know, that when I do use the word philosophy, that is what I mean by it. If we don’t have the same life philosophy, or at least RESOLVE ourselves to the same life philosophy, there will inevitably be major conflicts that will rise up in marriage on a daily basis.
Even cultural differences often produce or affect your life philosophy. I remember dealing with a couple where he was Chinese and she was American. And she was so frustrated that she was ready to leave him. When we began to get down to the basic issues, one of the things that frustrated her the most that was that he never complimented her cooking. But of all things, at the conclusion of the meal almost inevitably he would sit back from the table and just let out a big belch that would rattle the windows. In fact, he would do it almost inevitably in front of guests when they had company, and it would just mortify her.
And they never communicated about the problem, but instead it just built up a resentment. But as they began to communicate, she discovered that in the Chinese culture, the greatest compliment that a man can give to a woman at the conclusion of a meal is to sit back from the table and bring forth a great big belch! Come to think of it, I have done that a time or two in our marriage, but it was not a compliment, just selfish and boorish relief.
But, you see, they had different life philosophies and they hadn’t resolved that before they got married, or at least early on in their marriage.
UNITY AND UNANIMITY
Does marital oneness mean the total dis-allowance of disagreement period? In other words, does UNITY always require absolute UNANIMITY? If you will:
“MUST EVERY DECISION AND ISSUE BE 2 to 0?”
To be honest with you, that in essence would mean being married to yourself. I mean, who wants to look at a double of themselves all day every day except the narcissist? What a bummer! Frankly:
“IT IS THE DIVERSITY WITHIN THE UNITY THAT ENRICHES OUR LOVE
AND HEIGHTENS OUR MUTUAL ADMIRATION.”
My wife and I on many issues and in many ways are the original odd couple. It is a blast! I love football, and she thinks it is totally nuts! I see precision, she sees chaos. I see formation, she sees deformation. I see football as manly, she sees it as maniacal. I see strategy, she sees stupidity. She accepts and even has learned to enjoy my football insanity, and I accept and have learned to enjoy her football mockery. So often I think in the lineman’s crouched position, while she thinks I am crazy. I see football as an invitation to triumph, while she sees it as an invitation to tragedy.
Of course there can be, and are, and even should be different preferences and viewpoints on many of life’s amoral issues. It adds richness, zest, and even humor to our marriage, as we really do get a kick out of each other’s likes and dislikes on several fronts. What sends me into celebration sends her into a nap. It is a hoot! We have our own form of “Duck Dynasty.”
The Bible says in I Timothy 6:17,
“…but on God, Who gives us richly all things to enjoy.”
Our God is a lavish giver! However, the fact of the matter is this:
“WHILE GOD GIVES US RICHLY ALL THINGS TO ENJOY, NOT ALL
OF US ENJOY THE SAME THINGS.”
I believe that is all part the beauty of MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIPS. We are not clones, but vastly different image bearers of the same wonderful God.
WILL YOU MARRY ME? – WILL YOU WALK WITH ME?
Now then, let’s advance this to far more fundamental things. We do well to take a long and hard look before marriage at the words of the Prophet Amos in Amos 3:3 KJV,
“Can two walk together except they be agreed?”
Well now, can they, really? As I have just stated, I think they can have variance on peripheral issues. But when it comes to LIFE PHILOSOPHY, there is no room for variance. That is what ole Amos is talking about.
And then the words of the Apostle Paul in II Corinthians 6:14-15 KJV,
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship
hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath
light with darkness?” “And what concord hath Christ with
Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth
with an infidel?”
The answer to every one of these questions on the PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE level by Amos and Paul are an unqualified:
“NO – NADA – ZIP – ZERO – NOT – NOTHING – ZILCH.”
Let us look at why in each case!
FIRST, when Amos talks about AGREEMENT being necessary for WALKING TOGETHER, we must understand that in the Bible the verb WALK, as in Amos 3:3, does not refer to a CASUAL STROLL, or to an IMPROMPTU MEANDERING – like through the woods to grandmother’s house we go. Rather, in the Bible, the verb WALK is also a noun, and expresses the following,
“THE ENTIRE WORLD AND LIFE VIEW OF A PERSON THAT DETERMINES
EVERY DECISION HE MAKES, AND THEREFORE EVERY
PATH HE TAKES.”
You see, the noun/verb WALK shows the life of man as an ACTIVE PRINCIPLE IN AN ACTIVE POSTURE. Not only that, but he is always GOING SOMEWHERE! And where he is walking to depends on the following:
“MAN LIKE ENOCH WILL EITHER WALK WITH GOD, OR LIKE ALL
SINFUL MEN, HE WILL WALK WITHOUT GOD.”
We never walk alone, for we are either walking with Jesus Christ, or we are walking with Satan. Hear me:
“WHEN IT COMES TO LIFE PHILOSOPHY, WE NEVER JUST GO FOR
A WALK BY OURSELVES.”
So then, when a man says to the woman:
“WILL YOU MARRY ME,?”
He is really asking her:
“WILL YOU WALK IN STEP WITH ME, AND ME WITH YOU, THROUGHOUT
THE ENTIRETY OF OUR LIVES?”
No small undertaking to be sure. I have marched in miles-long parades, and it is not easy for every band member to remain constantly in step and in sync with the entire aggregate. Hear it:
“IT ALL DEPENDS ON WHAT DRUMMER AND DRUMBEAT YOU ARE MARCHING TO.”
When you are each listening to different drummers in terms of a world-and-life view, you will find yourself unable to agree on anything that really matters. It will be a walk of disharmony and disunity and disjointedness. You will find that you are not only not playing the same sheet of music, but that you are not even in the same band together.
SECOND, when Paul talks about being UNEQUALLY YOKED TOGETHER, he is in this case talking about two oxen that are so stubborn and willful in opposite directions, that they are an impossible team. They are useless and make a mess of everything. In fact, they deep down don’t even like each other. They are constantly kicking and butting and pulling against each other. That’s the point!
So that when the righteous and the unrighteous, the Christ-followers and the Satan (Belial/godlessness)-followers become joined in the yoke of marriage, we then have an UNEQUAL YOKE. They are in fact not joined at all, and it only looks that way at the outset. Before too long, it will be obvious that they are taking orders from different masters AND HAVE TOTALLY DIFFERENT MIND SETS AND DESIRES. They are both strong willed in opposite directions. Christ signals the husband to go one way, and Satan signals the wife to go the other way, or vice versa, and the rest is left up to your imagination which does not have to be that active to see the disaster in the making.
And going away for a weekend together to a 4 star hotel, or to a cabin by a lake is like putting a band-aid on cancer. You are a thousand miles apart at home, and a 4 star hotel or a cabin on the lake will not bridge the gulf.
“THE MARRIAGE THEN WILL ALWAYS BE A CONTEST AND NOT A
CONCERT. NOBODY WINS AND EVERYBODY LOSES.”
THIRD, what about righteousness trying to walk with unrighteousness? Frankly, that is like God walking with Satan, Heaven walking with Hell, and angels going out for a friendly walk with demons. It is too obvious to need further comment.
But for sure, when a man takes his first step into sin, he does not know how far it will take him, or where and when it will stop, if it ever does. One thing for sure, it will not take him nearer to God, but far away from God. Every step is a DIRECTIONAL STEP, and will lead us closer to Heaven or to hell. You see:
“STEPPING INTO SIN IS LIKE POURING OUT WATER, WHICH WHEN IT IS
ONCE POURED OUT, KNOWS NO BOUNDS BUT TO RUN AS
FAR AS IT CAN.”
I tell you, every step in our walk is important.
But from another perspective, listen to the words of Proverbs 10:9 KJV,
“HE THAT WALKETH UPRIGHTLY WALKETH SURELY.”
“ONLY RIGHTEOUS PATHS ARE STEADY AND SURE PATHS THAT
KEEP A MAN FROM FALLING.”
Hear it, marriage is challenging enough, let alone when one or both of them are not committed to RIGHTEOUSNESS. Perhaps they don’t agree on God’s absolutes about right and wrong, holiness and unholiness, good and bad, righteousness and sin. Perhaps he likes “R” and even “X” rated movies, and she detests such rot. Then when they are married, notice I did not say, “joined in marriage,” to stay married, someone is going to have to compromise to keep the marriage even slightly glued together. And I have found, that in the vast majority of cases, the UPRIGHT begins to bend and yield to the DOWNWRONG, for evil tends to erode and wear away righteousness first, and not the other way around. That is why the old truism in I Corinthians 15:33 never fails:
“BE NOT DECEIVED, BAD COMPANY CORRUPTS GOOD MORALS.”
And now hear me:
“ONLY THOSE WHO WALK IN RIGHTEOUSNESS TOGETHER WILL BE ABLE
TO WALK SURELY AGAINST ALL THE CONTINGENCIES AND
DEMONIC ATTACKS IN LIFE.”
FOURTH, it is even likened by Paul to LIGHT and DARKNESS trying to have fellowship together. Here the ax really splits the wood. When you really think about it, the absurdity of it becomes apparent very quickly, even as light glares and blinds the eyes of those only accustomed to darkness.
Come on now:
“LIGHT AND DARKNESS CANNOT EVEN BE IN THE SAME ROOM TOGETHER,
LET ALONE IN THE SAME BED. THEY CANNOT CO-EXIST
LET ALONE BECOME ONE.”
This is the most obvious of all of the impossibles. The moment the sun begins to rise, the darkness begins to retreat. The Bible tells us this:
“THAT THOSE WHO LIVE IN DARKNESS MORALLY AND SPIRITUALLY
WILL NOT COME TO THE LIGHT, LEST THEIR WORKS
So then, they are standing CONTRADICTIONS. A husband of darkness and a wife of light must be CONTRARY TO ONE ANOTHER. It is not possible to say that light is married to darkness and that darkness is married to light. That is, they can never be one in essence or effect. As a matter of fact:
“NOT ONLY ARE THEY NOT THE EXTENSION OF EACH OTHER,
THEY ARE THE NEGATION OF ONE ANOTHER.”
I have witnessed this in a most dramatic way. I was asked to read Scripture and pray during the flow of a wedding. I was not performing the ceremony, but I was asked to participate. When I got up there and read the Word of God in front of the groom and the bride, he had a warm and receptive smile on his face, and she had a cold and detesting grimace on her face. It was so bad, that I lost my place and stumbled over my words at one point. There was LIGHT and DARKNESS standing right in front of me, supposedly being united in marriage. On the way to the reception I told my wife that this marriage would not last very long. In six months she kicked him out of bed to the couch, and in a short time after she divorced him. It was one of the shortest marriages I have ever seen. Hear me:
“THERE IS NOT, NOR CAN THERE, BE SUCH A THING AS MR. LIGHT
AND MRS. DARKNESS BEING UNITED IN MARRIAGE.”
What happened here was the fulfillment of Mark 12:24,
“Do ye not therefore err, because you know not the Scriptures,
neither the power of God.”
FIFTH, what about the BELIEVER MARRIED TO AN INFIDEL/UNBELIEVER? That cuts to the chase now doesn’t it? Oh how we must grasp this and be grasped by it! These two can never be joined, for belief and unbelief are as far from each other as Heaven is from earth. Heaven is Heaven and earth is earth, and the two cannot be joined. And if they were joined, Heaven would no longer be Heavenly, and earth would no longer be earthly. Likewise if faith and unfaith could be joined, belief would no longer be true belief, and unbelief would no longer be real unbelief. They would both be altered into kind of a hybrid belief/unbelief.
It all reminds me of the words of our Lord in Matthew 6:24,
“You cannot serve God and mammon.”
Well then, if you cannot serve God and mammon – the eternal and the temporal, then it is also true that if you cannot serve them together, you cannot enjoy them together either. Hear me:
“BELIEF AND UNBELIEF – BELIEVERS AND UNBELIEVERS CANNOT ENJOY
EACH OTHER EITHER, FOR THEY ARE MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE
This is all huge! If the couples’ world-and-life view is at variance, let alone totally at odds, they will be taking different paths over and over, and will be unable to WALK-LIVE TOGETHER. They will go separate ways which makes marriage impossible.
Most importantly then, are you both in love with Jesus Christ, which will totally determine your world and life view? Are you both committed to Jesus Christ as your Lord, your Savior, you’re all? Is the Lord of the Word and the Word of the Lord at the center of every issue and every decision? If one is and one isn’t, you will be divided spiritually and morally, and your marital foundation will crumble quicker than a cookie.
“A CLEAR AND STRONG LIFE PHILOSOPHY MUST INCLUDE A STRONG AND MUTUAL
THEOLOGY AND MORALITY, WITHOUT WHICH YOUR MARRIAGE WILL NOT
BE A UNITY BUT A DUALITY, WHICH IS NOT MARRIAGE AT ALL.”
You who are not truly united in Christ, you must hear this real good:
“FOR EVERY HOUR OF COMPANIONSHIP YOU DO HAVE IN RIDING BIKES AND GOING
CAMPING, YOU WILL SPEND DAYS AND NIGHTS IN SPIRITUAL, MORAL,
MENTAL, AND EMOTIONAL LONELINESS AND ANGUISH.”
“HE OR SHE MAY EXPECT YOU TO SEXUALLY BE AS RESPONSIVE AS A WELL-TUNED
SPORTS CAR, WHEN IN FACT YOU CANNOT BE ONE TOGETHER ON THE DEEPEST
LEVELS OF YOUR LIFE.”
“ON THE SURFACE ISSUES OF LIFE YOU CAN HAVE DIALOGUE, BUT ON THE DEEPEST
AND MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES, YOU CAN ONLY HAVE A MONOLOGUE. THERE IS
NOTHING MORE PAINFUL THEN GOING THROUGH MARRIAGE HAVING TO
TALK TO YOURSELF.”
Now there’s a host of other things that I could talk about. If you marry a minister or a farmer, you’d better have some life philosophy worked out ahead of time. Or someone in public service work or whatever! But if the issue of life philosophy, as we have described it, has not been settled before marriage, you are in for a rocky ride that many marriages do not survive.
III. MISMANAGEMENT OF LIFE’S INJURIES
Now then, here we are opening up that which for many spouses is not only a can of worms, but a den of vipers. It has destroyed lives and marriages on a far greater scale than any of us can imagine. I have met it throughout my ministry. It is a horror movie that has more reruns than Friday The 13th.
One thing for sure, we live in a world of hurts. If you will, it is a hurting world that repeats itself in hurting others again and again. When it comes to marriage, here is a principle that must be confronted head on:
“EITHER THE HUSBAND AND WIFE WILL BE HEALED HEALERS, OR
THEY WILL BE WOUNDED WOUNDERS.”
That is our world! Call it a REALITY CHECK! Call it what you want. We cannot half imagine the wounds and scars that people live with in the world in these last days that the Apostle Paul describes to young Timothy in II Timothy 3:1 as,
And in II Timothy 3:3 as,
We live in a society of brutality. Prisons are filled with those who have brutalized the innocent. Child abuse, sexual abuse, spousal abuse, parental abuse, date-rape abuse, verbal abuse, elderly abuse, hospital patient abuse, and on and on and on! Murder and adultery are pandemic. We read the words about them in Job 24:14-16,
“The murderer arises at dawn: he kills the poor and the needy. And at night he is a thief.”
He first kills them and then robs them. How vulnerable the poor and needy are, and what little they have the murderer takes, as well as takes their lives. How many dead bodies are found under viaducts and in alleys, beaten to death and robbed.”
Then the adulterer:
“And the eye of the adulterer waits for the twilight, saying, ‘No eye will
see me.’ And he disguises his face.”
“In the dark they dig into houses, they shut themselves up by day;
they do not know the light.”
I think of the deeply wounded hearts and lives of those who have lost loved ones to murderers. I think of adulterers who the Lord describes as those who dig into other people’s houses like tunneling moles in the dark. The dark means that they try to keep it hidden, so as to keep off the shame and avoid the fury of an enraged spousal discovery and jealousy. In his or her digging, they dig the graves of two households now filled with wounded hearts. In fact:
“IN THEIR DIGGING, THEY DIG THEIR OWN GRAVES TOO.”
WOUNDS OF LIFE BEFORE MARRIAGE
A. The words that we shall share from the Bible in just a moment are not legal words, but the words of THE MASTER PSYCHOLOGIST AND COUNSELOR, our loving God Himself.
Why? Simply because:
“IF WE DON’T FORGIVE THOSE ‘DESPICABLE’ WOUNDERS EVEN AS GOD
FORGAVE US WHEN WE WERE DESPICABLE WOUNDERS OF HIM,
THEN WE TOO WILL BECOME THE WOUNDERS AND DESTROY
OURSELVES AND OTHERS AROUND US.”
We must have the following words written upon our hearts, so that they become the CONTROL CENTRAL of our lives. We read in Ephesians 4:32,
“And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other just as God
in Christ also has forgiven you.”
And Colossians 3:13,
“…bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint
against anyone, JUST AS THE LORD FORGAVE YOU, SO ALSO SHOULD YOU.”
Listen now, healing of wounds happens in no other way:
“THE ONLY WAY TO BE HEALED OF DEEP HURTS IS FOR THE HURTEE TO
FORGIVE THE HURTER AS GOD IN CHRIST HAS FORGIVEN US.”
That means the following:
“THAT WE AS THE HURTEES TOTALLY FORGIVE THE HURTERS EVEN AS GOD
FORGIVES US, TO THE POINT OF REMEMBERING THE SIN NO MORE
EVEN AS GOD REMEMBERS OUR SINS NO MORE.”
“BURYING THE HATCHET, ALONG WITH OUR RAGE AND OUR HATRED,
AND NEVER ALLOWING THEM TO TAKE ROOT AGAIN.”
B. But we must carry it a step further in our understanding, and get tough on ourselves. You and I may not like what we are about to hear, but hear it we must.
A powerful principle is this:
“HE OR SHE WHO HURTS THEIR SPOUSE CAUSES A WOUND AND A BREACH,
BUT HE OR SHE WHO REVENGES AND AVENGES THE WOUND
DEEPENS IT, AND WIDENS THE BREACH.”
It gets tougher still! What did I tell you, namely, that the exposure of the foundation flaws and cracks become harder to take, but take them we must. The next truth is this:
“THE WOUNDER HAS THE GREATER GUILT, BUT THE REVENGEFUL
WOUNDEE CAUSES THE GREATER DISTURBANCE.”
“THE STORM COULD NOT BE SO HURTFUL AS WHERE IT IS RESISTED AND OPPOSED.
AFTER ALL, THE WIND BLOWS THE SAME OVER THE OPEN FIELD AS IT DOES
THROUGH THE FOREST OF TREES. BUT WHERE THE MOST
DAMAGE IS DONE IS WHERE IT IS THE MOST
OPPOSED AND STOOD AGAINST.”
Yes, I know, this is a window breaker and a cage rattler. But let the truth set us free. The truth hurts sometimes more than any inflicted hurt. No pain – no gain. Forgiveness is not optional, but obligatory if we are ever to become HEALED HEALERS OF OTHERS. In His hour of greatest pain, Jesus prayed,
“FATHER FORGIVE THEM, FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO.”
C. But why then is it so hard for us to become FORGIVEN FORGIVERS? Well now, you must read on, and let the truth set you free. Here are some real life examples that are as impacting as they are revealing.
A young college girl came into the college chaplain because she wasn’t doing so well. The chaplain could tell that she was deeply troubled, and that there was some real psychological and emotional trauma in her life. Finally, after some deep probing, it came to light that she had a list of angry and bitter oughts against her very hurtful mother. She really down deep knew that she had to forgive her mother, but she hadn’t and said she couldn’t. The chaplain prayed a very compassionate but corrective prayer, and while he was praying about forgiveness, all of a sudden she cried out:
“I CAN’T GIVE THEM UP – IT’S ALL I’VE GOT.”
There it is! If she forgave mother, and in forgiving GAVE UP HER BITTERNESS AND REVENGE, she would not be able to get even. Worse yet, mother was now dead, and her forgiveness would have to be one way, with no chance of apology or contriteness on mother’s part. I CAN’T GIVE THEM UP – IT’S ALL I’VE GOT. She didn’t forgive her mother. She didn’t give up her bitterness and revengeful spirit. Many years later, a woman came up to the chaplain, and it was the very same girl now grown up, or was she? He sat down with her, and suddenly with tears running down her cheeks, she said to him, “CHAPLAIN JONES, I HAVE BEEN THROUGH TWO MARRIAGES, TWO DIVORCES, AND TWO BREAKDOWNS.I SHOULD HAVE FORGIVEN MY MOTHER AND GIVEN IT ALL UP.”
It is amazing what a hold the BITTERNESS AND REVENGE CAN HAVE ON THE HUMAN HEART. She walked away that day as a grown woman now, still not forgiving her mother, and still not giving up her bitter oughts. LIFE’S GREATEST AND DARKEST STRONGHOLD CAN ONLY BE BROKEN AT THE CROSS OF JESUS CHRIST, BUT WE HAVE TO BE WILLING.
HEAR IT NOW:
“EVEN AS FORGIVENESS HAS THE POWER TO HEAL AND RESTORE LIVES,
MARRIAGES, AND FAMILIES, SO TOO, UNFORGIVENESS HAS THE
POWER TO DESTROY LIVES, MARRIAGES, AND FAMILIES.”
THE MISMANAGEMENT OF INJURIES CREATED IN MARRIAGE
Many, many couples did not have any kind of adequate premarital counseling, and that’s a tragedy. For instance, no one has ever sat down with them and taken the time to give them guidance to show them the following:
“SOME GOOD LIMITATIONS AND BOUNDARIES TO TEMPER THEIR ZEAL.”
Now, before we move into this, ZEAL IS A VERY GOOD AND NECESSARY THING. To be filled with zeal for the Lord and for the work of the Kingdom of God is a most Christ-like virtue. We read in John 2:17, when Jesus zealously cleansed the temple, that the disciples remembered what was written about Him in Psalm 69:9,
“ZEAL FOR THY HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME.”
Without ZEAL/PASSION/FERVENT DESIRE, the Lord would have never died for our sins or faced the cross. Hear it:
“ZEALLESS-PASSIONLESS PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS PASSIVE PEOPLE, AND THEY
ACCOMPLISH VERY LITTLE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF TRUTH
But now understand that there is a great difference between having ZEAL and being a ZEALOT. There is a great deal of difference between being a FAN and being a FANATIC. Uncontrolled zeal and passion is when VIRTUE can become a VICE.
I talked with a couple one time and the woman seemed to be growing in all sorts of spiritual dimensions. The husband became more and more indifferent and passionless in their marriage. And finally when I was talking alone with the husband I said, “Brother, I know what’s wrong with you. Your wife is into the things of God, going at a fast and furious pace and she just loves the Lord so much. You feel like your wife has another lover, don’t you?” And I saw his tough exterior break and the tears began to flow down his face.
You see, here was a wife who had a great deal of religious zeal, and running off to every meeting and seminar in town, listening to every tape with CBN playing in the background 24 hours a day, and totally oblivious to what her zeal was doing to the marriage. Oh, I could tell you about ardent hunters and avid golfers, and people with zeal, a zeal so strong it eats up sensitivity and wisdom, a zeal that becomes like a seductress stealing the love and affection of a marriage, and thereby inflicts deep wounds that are constantly being reopened. All too often, in contradistinction to Jesus:
“CHRIST’S ZEAL FOR THE HOUSE OF THE LORD ATE HIM UP, BUT OFTEN
UNBRIDLED ZEAL IN SPOUSES EAT UP THEIR HOUSE AND
“ZEAL CAN BE AN ENLIVENER, BUT IT ALSO CAN BE A KILLER.”
IV. SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION
Now then, the 1st problem is related to the FOUNDATION. The 2nd one is related to LIFE PHILOSOPHY. The 3rd one is related to MISMANAGED INJURIES. Now the 4th defect in marital foundations is SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION. Oh, oh you say, I don’t know if I want to go here? Well friend, if you are married, you are not only already there, but you are in it over your head. Your reaction of reticence is already indicative of a real problem. Hear me:
“WE SHOULD NEVER BE ASHAMED TO DISCUSS WHAT GOD WAS NOT
ASHAMED TO CREATE?”
Listen boys and girls:
“SEX DID NOT COME FROM HELL, IT CAME FROM HEAVEN; IT DID
NOT COME FROM BELOW, IT CAME FROM ABOVE.”
When God called His creation of the first husband and wife VERY GOOD, that included SEX. God created and affirmed sex most positively and definitively.
FACT, 62% of all pastoral marriage counseling deals with sexual problems. There are some statistics that would indicate 85% of couples have sexual problems at some time in the marriage.
Now this could relate to several things:
1. For example, we could talk about the absence of joy or maturity in the couple’s sexual life.
2. We could talk about problems with birth control. In other words, they’ve never come to full agreement on this subject or there’s fear of pregnancy and so forth.
3. We could talk about sexual hang-ups and myths that go all the way back to early childhood, ignorance, misinformation, as well as the sex education in the 7th grade locker room. I wouldn’t dare to embarrass you by asking how many of you got your sex education from a source other than your parents. And that’s a tragedy.
4. We could talk about PHYSICAL HINDRANCES in this area, things that contribute to problems in the physical realm, like being physically out of shape, or high blood pressure, or being over-weight, or just plain fatigue. Sometimes these things can be resolved simply with adequate diet or just plain sleep. Or some of you may need physical healing. How many know if we’d just take care of the temple we wouldn’t need so many healing miracles?
5. Another physical area that often relates to sexual dysfunction is simply to be physically displeasing. By that I mean things that could be changed, like poor personal habits, the lack of cleanliness.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve ministered to people who didn’t want to talk about how much that problem bothered them in their marital life.
We used to quote a non-existent Scripture,
“Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”
I think it’s found in the book of Hezekiah or something. But how many know that God doesn’t have B.O.? Do you understand that bad breath is a part of the curse? Won’t heaven be wonderful? It’ll put the Colgate Palmolive Company right out of business.
Now do you see how many times these things come right back to DIFFERENT LIFE PHILOSOPHY. Can you imagine the wife who’s raised in some sort of immaculate environment and marries a husband who was raised as a farm boy on the back hills of Arkansas? Can you see some problems in that? They come in for counseling. He says, “My wife’s so clean she keeps her car in a plastic bag.” She says, “My husband’s so dirty, you look up the word ‘bacteria’ and they’ve got his picture in there.” The sexual parts of the body are by nature the most dirty and bacteria laden. We must keep them clean and unstinky.
INTERRELATIONSHIP OF ALL THE CAUSES SO FAR
Now, can you see that sexual dysfunction often relates to these first 3 problems:
…DIFFERENT LIFE PHILOSOPHY,
…MISHANDLING OF PAST INJURIES?
Can you see how these 3 add to this problem?
A. You see, Godly sexual joy relates to and is dependent upon a MENTAL ATTITUDE, mental health, and freedom in the spirit, unencumbered by sinful predispositions or guilt or feelings of rejection. This is all a part of God’s foundation for marital bliss. And without that foundation, people can be very normal sexually and yet have all kinds of problems.
B. But, you see, again, let me emphasize the interrelationship between these other problems. Can you understand how a man would have a problem with his wife if he believed he was supposed to be married to Jane instead of his wife? Or she thought she was supposed to have married John instead of her husband? Do you understand that? If I believed that I really missed it, or I doubt that I’m in the will of God with my mate, can you see the problems that it would cause in SEXUAL AREA?
SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION AND SEXUAL DAMAGE
When God created human sexuality, he created it as one of the most beautiful, most intimate expressions of God’s love nature in all of creation, for God is love. But when the enemy distorts or perverts this area, when it becomes ignored, impaired or abused, it damages the marriage, and injures the type of Christ and His Bride that is supposed to be illustrated in marriage.
This is far more rampant than we know, more than likely because we don’t want to know. It is too ugly and too painful to even think about. Before I share a very real story with you, I first draw our attention to the well known words of Psalm 103:2-4,
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits;”
“Who PARDONS ALL YOUR INIQUITIES; WHO HEALS ALL
“Who redeems your life FROM THE PIT; Who crowns you with
lovingkindness and compassion.”
She was a beautiful woman with a fantastic husband and wonderful children. To look at them was to be impressed with what every family should be. Looks however are deceiving! Would to God that people, marriages, and families were as lovely inside their house as they often appear in God’s House.
It really surprised me one day when my secretary was called by the husband to make a counseling appointment for this man and his wife. I would have never guessed the PIT THEY WERE IN, and furthermore, it was surprising, for husbands are generally the last ones to accept let alone desire counseling. Just when you think you have seen everything, you have seen nothing. There was nothing that could have shocked me more than this situation.
It was the husband who took the lead, and after assuring me of his love for his wife, he went on to explain that their marriage had become impossible. There was more than a tinge of desperation on his face and in his voice. To make a long story short, his wife would over and over again fly into fits of RAGE AGAINST HIM, and her favorite name for him in those TEMPER TANTRUMS was calling him “A SON OF A BITCH.” She did this as a way of life, and would regularly call him “A SON OF A BITCH” in front of the now grown teenage children.
The wife confirmed every word that her husband said, and she went on to say that he deserved every bit of it. Upon some exploration to discover why she felt justified in her wrathful degradations of her husband, she could not even come close to anything in his life that would slightly warrant her despicable outbursts against him. Yet, their marriage was not only a barren terrain, but a one-sided war zone. The agony of self-revelation did not come easy for her. Why was she manifesting such cruelty toward her husband, who was the furtherest thing from being a fighter that you can imagine. This was making no sense at all, and when that happens, spiritual discernment tells you that there is something being hidden deep down that must come up and identity itself. Easier said than done!
After much probing and persistence, she finally shared in private with me that when she was a young girl, she was repeatedly sexually molested and raped by her grandfather. It was an unbelievable and yet a totally real story, the hearing of which was as hard for me as the telling of it was for her. Here was a flaming red-hot stove burning deep within her, and frankly it was almost for her too hot to touch.
More than that, their sexual life was a tortured affair. When she finally would yield to his advances, THE RAGE AND THE SON OF A BITCHES were particularly profuse afterwards, so that their sexual union was all but at a standstill. They had been divorced once before, reunited, and then eventually got a second divorce – a tortured story of love and hate. Why such a horrific journey and a tragic end?
FIRST OF ALL, because she refused to forgive her grandfather! Here we go again, for her ANGER AND RAGE was all she had to get even with grandpa. It had nothing to do with her husband at all, for she would have raged against any man. She in essence hated all men, and abhorred their penises.
You see, God’s Word is not only spiritually and morally exact, but psychologically and emotionally exact. Psalm 103:3 is inspired with pinpoint accuracy:
“ONLY WHERE THERE IS FORGIVENESS CAN THEIR BE HEALING.”
The wife so desperately needed to receive and give the former, before she could experience the latter. She was never healed, her marriage was never healed, and neither she nor her marriage could be REDEEMED FROM THE PIT.
“THE CRUX OF THE HEALING OF LIVES AND MARRIAGES IS FORGIVENESS.”
SECOND, because she would not forgive and be forgiven for her unforgiveness, she could never be healed of her terrible hurts, rage, and vileness. You see, it comes down to this, we can’t change our feelings about anything or anyone without the Lord’s help. We have to take most seriously the words of Jesus in John 15:5,
“for apart from Me you can do NO-THING.”
And now hear it:
“TO HAVE OUR FEELINGS CHANGED, WE FIRST MUST GIVE OUR WILLINGNESS
TO GOD TO HAVE HIM CHANGE THOSE FEELINGS.”
“SARAH, IF GOD WOULD GIVE YOU A TOTALLY NEW SET OF FEELINGS,
LOVE FOR HATE, PEACE FOR WRATH, WOULD YOU BE WILLING
TO ACCEPT THEM?”
Only God can change feelings of hate and rage in the midst of deep pain and injury which hang on to us like Velcro. This is so important in marriage and in all relationships, because people will say over and over again that they just cannot do it. God can do what we can’t, and if we do not let Him:
“WE WILL BUILD OUR ENTIRE LIVES AND MARRIAGES AROUND SEETHING RESENTMENT.”
Jesus our Redeemer will do it for us, if we simply crawl up on His lap, cry out our hearts out to Him, and let Him love us and our marriage into His healing and wholeness. He will take us out of the pit, if we allow Him to take the pit out of us. God bless you. Amen!*
*Seven Causes of Marriage Conflict Pt. 3 coming soon.