Wednesday, August 22, 2012
The Sermon on the Mount and Your Marriage
I recently read an article found in the July issue of In Touch Magazine titled, "Who is Your Neighbor?". It inspired me to write this post and got me thinking of how I could apply Jesus' teachings to marriage. The complete Sermon on the Mount can be found in Matthew 5-7, but I will focus on the version found in Luke 6:27-38.
1. Love your enemies (v. 27). Well, hopefully your first thought was not that your husband is the enemy. If it was, I will have to address that in another post (smile). Enemies of marriage come in all forms. I know for some it may be in-laws, the ex-wife, your husband's single friends or his boss that mistreats him at work. As Christians, we are called to love some of the most difficult people and in spite of how he or she may treat us. How can you love someone who causes tension in your marriage, disrespects you or contributes to an unhappy husband? Pray for them. It is hard to dislike someone you pray for. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. Don't respond in a tit-for-tat way. God will deal with them in His time. Just make sure you are doing what He requires of you.
2. Bless those who mistreat you (v. 28). Does your husband ever snap at you after having a stressful day at work? Maybe he responded sarcastically to something you've said? Either of these can be hurtful and our first reaction might be to give him a piece of our mind in a not so nice Christian wife way. But Jesus said we are to do the exact opposite. Next time this occurs do your best to reply back with kindness. You may have to say a silent prayer and just say nothing. Trust that God sees all and will deal with your husband in His time. Remember "a gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare" (Proverbs 15:1).
3. Don't demand your rights (v. 29). The New Living Translation states, “If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also”. Now of course, Luke is not suggesting you let your husband slap you. What he is saying is keep giving, doing for, loving, and respecting your husband even if he does not respond in kind. Now this has to be done in the Lord’s power, so pray over this if you are facing this situation in your marriage.
4. Give to everyone who asks of you (v. 30). You may have heard that marriage is 50/50. Let me tell you that is not true. Marriage should be 100/100. Each partner giving ALL of him/herself. There will be times though, that your husband may not be in the position to give his all. Maybe he is ill, lost his job, or in a depression. Don’t let that stop you from giving your 100%. God sees all and knows all and He will not let any good deed done for Him go unrewarded. And one more thing, please don’t throw it in hubby’s face that you are doing more than you feel he is. The tables can turn at anytime.
5. Treat everyone the same way you’d want them to treat you (v. 31). This is a fairly easy one. Do you like when people are rude, cut you off when you are talking, roll their eyes or disregard your feelings in any way? No, of course not. So remember, anything you don’t want your husband to do to you or say to you; don’t do or say it to him. Period.
6. Do good to those who’ve done nothing for you and won’t repay you (v. 33). The Bible tells us that if we are kind and good to those that are kind and good to us we have not done anything special. The real test comes if we can respond to our husband with love and respect when he has raised his voice, been sarcastic or hurt our feelings in some way. Let me present this another way. Do you show your husband love and affection only when he is acting the way you want him to? Do you say “yes” to making love only when you think he deserves it? Sorry, but that behavior has selfish written all over it.
7. Freely share what you have without expecting anything in return (v. 34-35). Give to your husband and marriage with no ulterior motive. Don’t play the game of-- well I will let him go play golf this weekend, so that when I want to do something for me he’ll have to say yes. Or maybe perhaps, you make more money than he does? Do your marriage a big favor and don’t think that means you are now head of the household. Don’t tell your friends and family how you pay the mortgage and all the bills and blah blah blah. If you look for your reward from men, you will not receive the one from the Lord.
“…expecting and hoping for nothing in return but considering nothing as lost and despairing of no one; and then your recompense (your reward) will be great (rich, strong, intense, and abundant), and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind and charitable and good to the ungrateful and the selfish and wicked.” (Luke 6:34-24 AMP)
8. Be merciful to people who are ungrateful---even those who are evil (v. 36). I know there are some ungrateful husbands out there. You take care of the house, the kids, your husband and never get a thank you. That can be very hurtful and discouraging. And yet, God has called us to be sympathetic, tender, responsive and compassionate towards the ungrateful, even to the evil. Why? Because He is all of these to us. Ask the Father to touch your husband’s heart in this area of ungratefulness.
9. Don’t judge or condemn anyone, even if he deserves it (v. 37). “I told you so”. Those four words are gasoline to the fire already raging in your husband when he has made a mistake. Don’t point out his failures or criticize his faults. Instead, lovingly encourage him as he picks himself back up. Remember that none of us are perfect and how will you want him to treat you when you make a mistake?
10. Recognize the immeasurable blessing of giving without reservation (v. 38). I can’t give a better explanation of this than the one given in the Message Bible. Please read this and apply it to your role as a wife and your marriage.
Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity." (Luke 6:38 MSG)
In closing, I know these may seem overwhelming and maybe impossible. However, God would not have asked them of us if He didn’t think we could achieve it. A lot of prayer and yielding to the Holy Spirit will be required. Marriage is hard work, but the reward of doing it God’s way is so much sweeter than doing it the easy way.
So, I would like to hear from you. Which of these can you start working on today? Which of these do you already see yourself doing?
Be blessed my sisters!