Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Some Thoughts on Love and Marriage

I don't doubt for one second the claims on marriage from today's article on CNN.com titled Love and marriage are not the same thing, but I do find it very sad and alarming that the author considers these new findings to be liberating, when to me they are nothing less than heart breaking.

After reading the article, my conclusion is that the author made great efforts to convince readers that churches will soon need to come to grips with a new reality regarding marriage.  Namely that that "traditional marriage" is a thing of the past.  Not only must the church accept this new-found freedom from the "fire and brimstone" scare-tactics which have been leveraged by the church when dealing with marriage for the past two centuries, but the church must also find a new way to deal with congregants desires to be set free form the overbearing bondage that has come with this old-fashioned understanding of marriage in the traditional (and biblical) sense.

But here's the catch.  If one was to take a deeper look at these claims, they would find that they are really not new claims at all.  The topic of marriage, divorce, commitment, monogamy and a life-long partnership were issues long before the past few years.  In fact if you know anything about the Bible, you probably know that these very same issues were addressed throughout the Old and New Testaments alike.  The real issue in my mind is a human issue...or to say it differently, is a sin issue.  The notion or belief that LOVE (defined as a feeling or an emotion) is what keeps a marriage together is nothing less then selfishness.  Love is not a feeling.  Love is an action.  The Bible defines love in the following way:


Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

Folks, where are the "feelings" in any of those biblical statements about love?  We are deceiving ourselves if we believe that societies current definition of love, namely our own happiness, is the make or break point of a persons commitment in a marriage.  Marriage, which was defined long ago by God, is a reflection of God's relationship with his church.  It is to be an echo of the unrelenting grace, forgiveness, long-suffering and compassion we receive from God because of the covenant which he made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob long ago.  Imagine for one minute if God viewed his love for humanity in the same way many people view love in marriage today.  What if God defined love as his "happiness" and the only thing that would keep him in a committed relationship with all of humanity was simply a certain feeling of warmth, compassion, gentleness etc.  Needless to say, we (the church) would have been long ago made a bride without a groom.  But that is not where we find ourselves and there is good (and biblical) reasoning to be found.

We have been deceived.  Love is not what keeps marriages together. Hard work, humility, selflessness, forgiveness, forbearance, commitment and a covenant between two imperfect people and God are some of the things which keep a marriage together.  Articles like these should not make us question our understanding of marriage and commitment, but instead should break our hearts.  And there are many reasons, but I will lay out two very important ones here:

1.  The  claims are misguided and continue to represent a sinful understanding of marriage while they are also a contradiction to biblical truth.
2.  They paint an accurate portrayal of the modern day understanding of love and marriage which has no relation to the biblical understanding of love and marriage.

Don't be fooled Christians.  We are called in scripture to love our wives as Christ has loved the church. (Ephesians 5:25)  And we must understand that Love (in the biblical sense) "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.  Don't allow a worldly and sinful definition of love to distort what God has revealed to you about a God-honoring marriage.  We are called to love our spouses through all things and not simply those things we can endure while still being happy.

Read the article HERE


For His Glory,

Jason

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