Sermons

Summary: God has exalted romance to the highest level in His Word. The essence of worship is praise, and the essence of romance is praise.

We are conditioned by life in our culture to be more

conscious of the negative than the positive. The news is

largely a focus on the negative, and we are made by the

media to see life as tragic and full of accidents, murder, and

endless blunders of one sort or another. You have to go

against the grain to say to yourself, thank God for the

millions who did not get murdered last night along with

myself. Praise God for all the cars that didn't get hit. I

rejoice in the millions of homes that did not burn, and for

the millions of children who got home safely, and for the

many businesses that did not lay people off. Good news is

ten thousand times more common than bad news, but it does

not make the news because news is devoted to the unusual.

What this does, however, is make us a problem conscious

people, and this is a hindrance to praise, both of God and of

our mates. There are dozens of things we appreciate about

our mates, but like the news reporter we sniff out the real

story which is the negative, the weakness, the blunder, the

things that aggravate us. The husband comes home from

work and he brings home the groceries his wife asked him to

pick up. But he brought home the wrong kind of beans.

Now here is a wife who appreciates her husband. She

appreciates his working and his willingness to go out of his

way to pick up groceries along with dozens of other good

points, but when she sees the wrong kind of beans, what is

the news flash? Idiot husband blows it on beans.

That is not what their life is all about at all-the kind of

beans they eat. But all of the dozens of valued

characteristics are pushed out of sight, and this minor

blunder becomes the Rock of Gibralter sitting on their

kitchen counter. That is the news, and that is where we

focus. Not on the 142 times he came home with exactly the

right order, but this present atrocious blunder. So what if it

represents a mere fraction of life? It is now the headlines for

the day. She makes a federal case out of his stupidity, and

he forgets all he admires about her and says she never

appreciates anything he does. In seconds they have an

honest to goodness news worthy conflict.

This is what news is: the unusual exalted to the level of

such prominence that it dominates your consciousness. This

is what people are made to do, and mates often do it for

nothing. Has your mate ever said, "You never do anything

to help me!" This comes right after she has asked you to

pick up a piece of lint off the floor. Because you have a

higher chair and a lamp in your hands you say, "I'll get it

later." That lint becomes the news. It is all that matters

now. The sun, the moon, the stars, and all your labor of love

over the years is blotted out, and you are nothing but a

non-picker up of lint. It is not all lint for all time, but that

particular lint which is now the news.

What I am trying to illustrate is that as mates we become

problem oriented rather than praise oriented, and this

distorts our perspective so that we see life like the news. The

mini-negatives stand out like an eclipse of the sun, and the

maxi-positives fade into the background like a sliver of a

moon. Reversing this perspective is not easy, but it is the

Biblical goal, and Christians need to work at the praise

perspective if they want the blessing of Christ in their union

rather than the burden of the culture. The question is, what

do you focus on in your marriage-the newsworthy or the

praiseworthy?

The difference is that the praiseworthy partner has their

focus on the usual and the typical and the commonplace

which is in no way newsworthy, but which is what their life

is all about. The positive values they share day by day that

make life enjoyable. The massive number of little things you

appreciate, but tend to take for granted. The Bible

authorizes us to be people of praise, not just in our worship

of God, but in our relationships on the human level. In our

text of Prov. 31 we see a marvelous wife and mother, and

this is a hymn of praise to her. In verse 28 her children bless

her and her husband praises her. In verse 30 it states that a

woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Verse 31 says,

"Let her works bring her praise at the city gate."

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