Sermons

Summary: Most people who end in the divorce court because of a mole hill which was not removed, and it grew into a mountain.

A minister was visiting a state asylum, and was being

shown around by the superintendent. On the first floor a

man sat in a rocking chair moaning, "O Mary, why did you

do it?" The superintendent said, "This is a very sad case of

a man jilted in love." Continuing on the tour they finally

came to the top floor, and they walked down the corridor

lined with padded cells. As they passed one they heard a

man screaming and knocking his head against the wall.

"That," commented the superintendent, "is the man who

married Mary."

This is a joke, of course, but the facts are not very funny

when you discover that people are not just going crazy about

each other, but are going crazy because of each other. Dr.

Hadfield, a writer in psychology, said, "I have personally

known many neuroses precipitated by marriage; indeed, I

am sometimes tempted to think that half of my patients are

neurotic because they are married." There is just no doubt

about it, marriage is a gamble. It is a leap of faith. You can

never know the future, and so any act of commitment in the

present must be an act of faith. It is unrealistic for two

imperfect people to think that the uniting of their

imperfections will produce perfection. Gray mixed with

gray never makes white.

Imperfections are an inevitable part of marriage, and

there is only one antidote to the poison of imperfection, and

that is love. That which is the ultimate in God's relationship

to man is also the ultimate in a man's relationship to his

wife. Harold T. Christensen said, "Love is the magnet that

brings people together and the cement that holds them

together; it is the most essential element in pair unity."

Without love all other factors will fail to make marriage a

success. Kepler, the great astronomer, failed in his first

marriage, and so he decided to put the next one on a soundly

scientific basis. He made a list of all the women he consider

available. Then he listed all their good qualities, and all

their bad ones. He gave each item a value, and by exact

mathematical calculation he made his choice. His second

marriage turned out worse than the first. Science can never

find a substitute for love.

Match making machines can pick two people that ought

to be ideal for each other, but the machine cannot make

them love each other, and without love there can be no lasting

unity. This is obvious, but what is not so obvious is

what Paul implies by his command that husbands love their

wives. The implication is that husbands have a tendency to

neglect this most important factor in marriage. The two

major problems that Paul puts his finger on are,

unsubjective wives, and unloving husbands. This means

that husbands who do love their wives fail to express it, and

so lose the benefits of it in making a happy marriage.

This is due in part in our culture to the modern male's

misconception about the nature of love. All of the mass

media convey the concept that it is something like being

struck by lightning. It is a matter of mere chance. It just

happens to you. Your eyes meet across a crowded room, and

it happens-you fall in love. The only problem is that this

kind of love is as easy to fall out of as it is to fall into. With

this view of love, which makes it a matter of stimulus and

response, one is on the lowest level of love. If the love of

Christ were on this level there would be no cross and no

salvation, for there is nothing in man to stimulate God to

sacrificial love. His love is agape love, which means it is

objective rather than subjective. It is a matter of the will. It

is an act of choice. This is the way men must view love if

they are to be on the highest level. Anyone can love on the

level of eros, for this is the natural response to what is

pleasing. But only those who work at it , and strive to make

it a matter of the will can love as God loves, and as Christ

loved the church.

Eric Fromm in The Art Of Loving says, "Most people seethe problem

of love primarily as that of being loved, rather

than that of loving, of one's capacity to love." This means

that men are constantly striving to be successful, powerful,

and rich in order to be loved, when they ought to be striving

to develop their own skill in loving. Dr. Popenoe said, "If we

gave as little time to the training of our intellect as we do to

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