Tuesday, February 8, 2011

We Can't Go On Together With....

What you got buried in your back yard? 
What secret do you sleep with when the black moon comes?
   -  The Black Crowes, The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, 1992

Married men, it's happened to you before.  Your wife says out of the blue, "alright, honey, I'm going to ask you one time and I want you to tell me the truth" and then there's a long pause.

In our bathroom the other night Megan asked me this exact question and then waited an inordinate amount of time as my mind scrambled to anticipate what she might ask.  In retrospect I realize that in those few short moments I assumed I was guilty of something; I just wasn't sure what.  My mind raced as the seconds rolled by and I promised to tell the truth though I shuttered to think what dark secret she'd unearthed. 

Finally she asked, "did you use my razor the other night because I cut myself with it and I'm wondering if you helped to make it dull?"
She forgave me (for essentially cutting her!) and we moved on with our day but I couldn't help pondering why her first statement riddled me with such fear.  Do I have something to hide?  Is there something that Megan doesn't know that could wreak havoc on our marriage?

The integrity of the upright guides them but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.
- Proverbs 11:3
No, and thank God!  In the Spirit we are one-flesh. now  We no longer live lives of suspicion and deception.  The hidden lives that once kept us in relational limbo no longer exist.  Gone are the  former facades we once worked to keep up.  We now know all of each other: the good, the bad and the ugly.

And yet there exists some old default mode within me (Paul calls it my "old man" (Rom. 6.6)) that wants to hide, to fear being found out by anyone else, even my spouse.  Perhaps it's that same default mode that causes me to fight to be right in an argument or to make sure through passive-aggressive comments or downright criticism that Megan always knows what I want/expect out of our marriage.  It's the me that forgets what has been done my behalf.   It's the me that forgets how much I've been loved by God.

I don't love you - but I always will.
- The Civil Wars, Barton Hollow
(Released last week - go get this record!)

Though I've pledged my love to Megan for as long as we "both shall live",  in reality I don't always love Megan with my actions.  In highlighting his love of self, relational counselor Ted Tripp describes the way in which he weighs two bowls of ice cream he's just scooped for him and his wife.   He writes, "This woman has washed my socks and underwear for forty years and I'm willing to cheat her out of a scoop of ice cream!"

...and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one.  Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”   - Mark 10:8,9

Sin living within me (Rom. 7:17) desires separation. Sin desires it's own way and leads to division in relationship.  In marriage especially my flesh has been measured and found wanting.   I have not loved God as I've loved myself and I have certainly not loved my wife as I've loved myself.   Inside I know this to be true and thus, I'm prone to act like a rabid dog backed into a corner.  Aware of my guilt before God and man, I do all I can to hide it or overcompensate for my insufficiency by sizing up others to feel better about myself.  What a mess I can become.

Only love can break your heart.
- Neil Young

But then Jesus comes saying calmly, almost in a whisper, "Matthew, rest in me - I have endured what you could not so that you may have the life that I gave up.  I have taken upon myself all the guilt, shame, anxiety and fear that you could never bear.   Accept my gift of grace today, now, and let go of your schemes.  Lose yourself in my love and find your true identity in me. Only then can you love as I have loved".

Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven--for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little. - Luke 7:47

It's in these moments that I'm deeply grateful for my marriage.   Only a covenant relationship that demands this much of me could bring me to His throne of mercy and grace.  When I'm unable to love Megan as I've pledged to love her I need a power beyond myself and for this I have Jesus' Spirit.  I need only realize what depths of love reside within me because of His grace to be freed from the hell that the self inflicts on relationships....

Pure love and suspicion cannot coexist.  At the door the latter enters the former exists. 
- Alexandre Dumas Pere, French Philosopher

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
- 1st Cor. 13:11-13

Our marriages are but dim reflections of the love we have in Christ but the love that holds Christian marriages together is the very power of God.  Entrust your marriage to Christ and be set free from worldly suspicion as faith in Him unleashes hope and love in your union.

I need to go shave....I think I'll use my own razor this time!


This Week 

* Tyler Men's Gathering - 7am Wednesday AM
   The Screwtape Letters wrap-up - Chaps. 29-31 & Screwtape Proposes a Toast
   2 American Center, 5th Floor (Ritcheson Law Firm) 

* Thursday - The Magills in Concert
   at The Engage Evangelism Conference at Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, TX

*  Saturday - The Magills in Concert
   at Pine Cove Camp Marriage Conference at The Woods in Tyler, TX

*  Sunday - The Magills share at 10:30 service at Tyler Metro Church, Tyler, TX

* Please pray as we meet with several hurting couples this week and weekend whose marriages are under attack.

To support B3 Ministries click www.b3ministries.net

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your humility and candor in showing us how to both admit our faults AND trustingly repent.