Good morning my friends. We are in for a good day. Jesus is Lord and the day of our rescue is one day closer. It is a good day. We are continuing with Ephesians 5.
I will not lie to you this morning; this topic on husbands and wives is a difficult subject for me. I have come out of a failed marriage with 9 children. How can I then turn around and teach on the subject of husband and wives? Well, my failure does not change the Word of God. Truth does not change in the face of failure. We all fail in some aspects to live the Word but that does not nullify the Word of God. It reveals why we need Jesus. It shows us that we cannot make it on our own. It also shows us that we need the wisdom of the Word and the power of the Holy Spirit to live it.
Perhaps this blog post is just for the men. There is plenty of things in this passage for the women but I can only deal with my failure from my perspective. I am a man and I allowed circumstances in my marriage to get to a point where I failed to be the man God had called me to be. I allowed myself to become weary. I allowed myself to become self-centered instead of Christ centered. I allowed hurt to become an excuse to fail in my duty to my former wife. I failed to love her as Jesus loves the Church.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. vs. 25-28
I could try to justify myself with many of the things that the world would find acceptable as reasons but we are not the world. We have greater knowledge, understanding and power than the world will ever have. We have the power to live the Word of God by the power of the Spirit of God who lives in us. According to these truths I cannot justify my failings. None of us can justify our failings. It is like a child who was caught hitting another child, "Well he hit me first". We are responsible for our own actions. If we do not repent and confess our wrong actions we will have to give an account for them to Jesus.
My responsibility as a man was to love my wife. I was to love her as Jesus loves the Church. That means no matter what she did or said that went against me or offended me, my responsibility was to love her and show her grace. It goes beyond words and flowers and romantic suppers. It also means when it goes terribly wrong you never give up on her. It means that you stand with her and defend her and protect her even when things get really ugly. It means standing and holding the land that God gave to you as a man and taking it on the chin as Jesus did for his bride. Not an easy thing and yet it is this responsibility that was given to men. The cross was not an easy thing either yet Jesus faced it and dealt with it, absorbed it and bore it for the sake of his Bride.
I failed in this. I have suffered for it. Yet in my failing Jesus has demonstrated to me what I failed to do for my wife. He has stood with me, refusing to give up on me. He has loved me, given me grace, forgiven me and has taken the time to restore me. This is also what I should have done for my wife instead of using her actions and words as an excuse to stop loving her. It is a hard lesson to learn. It is a hard thing to admit. It is a difficult thing to write about.
I praise him every day for not giving up on me. Recently I cried out to him to renew the love and passion I once had; to heal my heart of its hardness; to renew me in his love so I would never become bitter in my service to him. He not only did that but the overflow from it has been radically changing our church. We have seen growth in every sense of the Word. My heart feels like a brand new heart, filled with all the passion and joy of loving God and loving others.
This one thing I know from all of this; men MUST love their wives as Christ loves his Church. This love does not depend on what the women do or even on whether they deserve it. The husband's responsibility is to love her no matter how ugly her words and actions get. There are no excuses for withholding your love. Men must prove themselves to be a man in this, "Husbands, love your wives".