Marriage

Is My Way Always Right?

Proverbs 17:19 NRSV
One who loves transgression loves strife;
one who builds a high threshold invites broken bones.

I have a terrible tendency to want, to need to be right. And if my opinions, my way is always right, then I am likely going to be in contention with those around me who see and perceive the world differently than I do. Psalm 94:4 equates arrogance (the need to be right): They pour out their arrogant words; all the evildoers boast. (NRSV) Demanding that only our way is right is the same as boasting. And arrogance isn't the way of the believer. The believer is called to be humble. In fact, when we are humble, we are obedient, but when we are not humble -- when we are arrogant and self-seeking -- we are living in strife with those around us and are in sin. In fact, it is impossible to please God unless we are humble: Before I was humbled I went astray, but now I keep your word. Psalm 119:67 NRSV

What Kind of Friend Am I ?

Proverbs 17:17 NRSV
A friend loves at all times,
and kinsfolk are born to share adversity.

Prior to the giving of the Holy Spirit (in the New Testament), those who followed the Lord (predominantly Israelites) had only the capacity for earthly love, not for heavenly or agape love since they loved out of their own ability and not through the spiritual ability of the Spirit. However, there were still higher standards of behavior given. In the Law, the Lord required:

"You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord." Leviticus 19:17-18 NRSV


You shall love your neighbor as yourself. It was this law that was discussed by the lawyer and the Lord Jesus in Luke 10:

Listening More and Talking Less

Proverbs 18:2
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
but only in expressing personal opinion.


Proverbs talks a lot about, well, talking! I think that we often confirm who we are (whether we want to be that person or not) when we talk. Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." And yet, we still talk. We talk in person. We talk (and text) on cell phones. We talk on the Internet. We talk, talk, talk. And a great deal of the time, we are "expressing personal opinion."

Do We Truly Love or are We Only Loving Ourselves?

1 Corinthians 5:9-13 RSV
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with immoral men; not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But rather I wrote to you not to associate with any one who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. "Drive out the wicked person from among you."

If we, the Church, were more obedient to God's Word, churches would probably be much smaller. Paul's admonition here is for Christians not to associate with those bear "the name of brother" if:

  • They are immoral
  • They are greedy
  • They are an idolater
  • They are a reviler
  • They are a drunkard
  • They are a robber

Understanding and Living our Relationships According to GodPremium Content

... diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6

Who do we have relationships with? What are our most important relationships? How should we handle our relationships with others? Is our interaction with others pleasing to God?

Who do we have relationships with?

    1. God/Christ
    2. Spouse
    3. Children
    4. Extended family (parents, grandparents, uncles, nieces -- etc)
    5. Friends
    6. Co-workers and acquaintances

What are our most important relationships? (In this order)

    1. God / Jesus Christ
    2. Spouse
    3. Children
    4. Family
    5. Friends/Others

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Am I Codependent or being a Good Christian?Premium Content

On the surface, codependency messages sound like Christian teaching:

    "Codependents always put others first before taking care of themselves."
    (Aren't Christians to put others first?) .

    "Codependents give themselves away."
    (Shouldn't Christians do the same?).

"Codependents martyr themselves."
(Doesn't Christianity honor its martyrs?)

Those statements have a familiar ring, don't they? Then how can we distinguish between codependency, which is unhealthy to codependents and their dependents, and mature faith, which is healthy.

Codependency says:.

    I have little or no value.
    Other persons and situations have all the value.

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Am I Codependent?Premium Content

If you think or believe the following statements, it may be a sign that you are codependent:

    My good feelings about who I am stem from being liked by you.

    My good feelings about who I am stem from receiving approval from you.

    Your struggles affect my serenity. My mental attention is focused on solving your problems or relieving your pain.

    My mental attention is focused on pleasing you.

    My mental attention is focused on protecting you.

    My mental attention is focused on manipulating you "to do it my way."

    My self ­esteem is bolstered by solving your problems.

    My self ­esteem is bolstered by relieving your pain.

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What is Wisdom and How do We Acquire it?Premium Content

We know there are a lot of broken, miserable, angry, sad, frustrated, married couples who are not living their marriage in the "ways of the Lord". Every day they trudge in their daily routine barely able to take another day. When we are going through such issues in our marriage, such as being married to an abusive alcoholic, or married to a unfaithful man or woman we only see as clear as our feelings will let us see. This is not enough to repair damage done to the marriage.

We have to go beyond our feelings and emotions and try to understand what is happening in our marriage so we can do something about it in the spiritual way and not through how we are feeling about it. It's difficult to do but it is what NEEDS to be done. If we continue in our own perspective by "how we are feeling" we truly do not grow spiritually and we stay within our own private little world of emotions.

This is where wisdom comes into the picture. As scripture says, we have to throw off everything that hinders us or lay aside every weight that is keeping us from seeing clearly so we can win the race; this includes how we are feeling, which may be ill will and resentment towards our spiritually sick spouse and other loved ones. Feelings are ok to have, we need to experience our feelings, but we also need to recognize when our feelings become stumbling blocks in our growth with God.

    …let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1

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When You Want Revenge

1 Corinthians 13:6 RSV
[Love] does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.

Ever want revenge against someone else? I think that one of the innate human emotions is the desire for one's persecutor to suffer as much as they have caused suffering (or more). I think that many of us, at one time or another, fantasied about that horrible person being humiliated or hurt like they humiliated or hurt us.

It's simple human nature.

But Paul tells us that we, as Christians, deny ourselves, deny our nature and choose love. We refuse to rejoice at wrong, even the suffering of our enemy, are rejoice in right. That we have a higher calling: to trust God in everything.

Zealous or Jealous?

1 Corinthians 13:4b
"...love is not jealous or boastful... "

We've already studied two aspects of love. Love suffers through pain and trials without complaining (patience). And love makes itself useful to others (kindness). These are positive attributes.

What's interesting is that Paul places them in juxtaposition with two negative attributes, things that love isn't.

Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn't jealous. Love isn't boastful.

  • Love isn't jealous.
    • The Greek word translated here "jealous" is "zeloo" and it has two connotations, one negative and the other positive. In other words, it's an attribute that, in one situation, is good and in another bad.

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