This site serves as a blog for my pastoral ministry which includes commentary on culture, random topics related to Biblical studies, pastoral ministry, and Christianity in general. The site also serves as a virtual office for my seminary students and other friends. The goal is to provide encouragement to saints and direction to sinners and seekers.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Monday, April 9, 2012
Chapters 9 and 10 deal with forgiveness between husband and wife, and becoming a servant, respectively. In the chapter on forgiveness, Thomas places the notion of forgiveness under several headings. One of these is “Not Running from Conflict.” He writes, “The spiritual discipline of fellowship is not easy. Sinful people wound each other, imperfect people see reality differently, and egocentric people have a difficult time perceiving somebody else’s perspective. The problem is, all of us are sinful, imperfect, and egocentric.” (162). I think this point really hits the heart of unforgiveness in marriages. The unforgiving party doesn’t realize or either doesn’t admit to his or her own imperfections, sins, and egocentricities.
Under the heading “Acceptance and Loyalty," Thomas quotes another writer as saying, “The challenge is not to keep on loving the person we thought we were marrying, but to love the person we did marry” (165). This is such a good reminder that somehow, in God’s Providence, we are married to the one we are with. Even if you refuse to acknowledge the strong hand of God in all your affairs of life, the notion is the same: appreciate, accept, and live with the husband or wife you married.
In keeping with the subtitle of the book concerning holiness, Thomas makes this statement concerning the bitterness that tries to spring up when our spouse has hurt us deeply: “We can respond to this “bitter juice” by becoming bitter people, or we can use it as a spiritual discipline and transform its exercise into the honey of a holy life” (176).
Another great quote is this: “Merely being faithful to your spouse is quite a testimony in this society. But as you go beyond that to communicate love for your spouse in a consistent, creative, and uninhibited way, the world can’t help but notice. God will be honored” (153).
In chapter 10, titled “Make me a Servant,” Thomas talks about sacrifice and service, something American Christianity knows little about anymore. And why? I think it’s mainly because we buy into the culture’s mindset which is a “me-first mindset,” and a “the world owes me something" mindset. Thomas explains that “Grasping for power or recognition is natural. Servanthood is supernatural” (182). Too many spouses are in a power struggle, when Jesus Christ calls us to service. Remember when He washed His followers’ feet? One of the greatest illustrations of service and sacrifice in the book is the story he tells in this chapter of the NFL football player who gave up a year of playing to take care of his wife through her cancer treatment and take care of the kids. Here’s the guy’s final remarks, “This is my family. This is my responsibility. This is my home. This is my duty” (185). Far too many Christians I know think that it’s the government’s responsibility or their parents’ responsibility to take care of their children. It is not. If you have a family, they are YOUR responsibility.