Summary: Every relationship eventually has moments of hurt and disappointment. We are wounded intentionally, and unintentionally, by the words and actions of others. Those wounds can cut deep and can erode the intimacy of our marriages. How ought we to handle t
As Christ Loved The Church - Ephesians 5:25-28 - May 27, 2012
Series: After The Honeymoon #6 / Communion Service
Recently I heard about a young lawyer who was called in from the big city to represent a large railroad company that was being sued by a farmer. It seems that the farmer’s prize cow was missing from a field through which the railroad passed. Assuming the worst, the farmer was suing for the value of the cow. Before the case was to be tried by the courts however, the lawyer cornered the farmer and convinced him to settle out of court, for just half of what he originally wanted. Without comment the farmer signed the necessary papers and then accepted the cheque.
After making the exchange the young lawyer could not resist gloating a bit about his success. He said to the farmer, "You know, I couldn’t have won this case if it had gone to trial. The engineer was asleep, and the fireman was in the caboose when the train passed through your farm that morning. I didn’t have a single witness to put on the stand!"
With a wry smile, the old farmer replied, "Well, I tell you young feller, I was a little worried about winning that case myself, because you see, that cow came home this morning all by itself!" (www.sermoncentral.com, Adapted from Illustrations on Forgiveness)
Well we can laugh a little bit at that, can’t we? It’s just a story with an unexpected twist and, because it’s just a story, we know that no one has really been falsely accused or taken advantage of in this situation. There is no wrong that has been done and no hurt that has been inflicted. The trouble is though that something not too dissimilar tends to happen in real life in the context of our relationships – each one trying to get the upper hand over some perceived injustice, hurt or wrong that has been done. Yet when these things happen in any relationship, particularly in our marriages, laughter is the last thing on our minds. Instead we may experience a great deal of hurt and pain, perhaps a sense of betrayal, a lack of trust. The wounds we receive may give rise to bitterness, to seeking revenge, to further hurt, as things escalate.
Scripture says, “If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” (Galatians 5:15, NIV) And we see that to be true in our own experiences, don’t we? How very easy it is for us to return anger with anger, and hurt with hurt, when we feel we have been wronged or unfairly treated! In the midst of our own pain, or hurt, or disappointment, it is so very easy to treat those we love the most, as though we had no love for them at all. And last week we considered why that is – why we find ourselves doing the evil that we do not want to do, rather than the good that we really desire, to be doing.
Because we do desire to do good, don’t we? That’s what we set out to do in our marriages, isn’t it? Let me ask you a question: Those of you who are married, by a show of hands, how many of you got married to see how miserable you could make your fiancé?! …. Just what I thought – not a single hand. But here’s another question: How many of you, having been married, have managed to do just that – to bring hurt, and pain, and heartache to your spouse, at some time or other, whether intentional or not? I know I have.
Here’s how it might happen: Say Heather does something that hurts me. In the flesh I may want to speak words that I know will bring injury to her, so that she feels the same pain I feel. That’s the desire of the sinful nature. But deep down, that’s not what I really want to be doing. Deep down, my desire is for wholeness, and healing, and reconciliation, and peace. I know my angry words won’t help, and yet sometimes I speak them anyways. Yet deep down, I want to be a blessing in her life. I want to make her laugh. I desire for her to know joy and contentment. I long to see her growing in godliness with each passing day. I delight in her smile! I desire for her to be close to me spiritually, intellectually, and physically. My passion is that we would know all the fullness, and the beauty, and the wonder of marriage as God intends for us to. And yet there are times when I choose that which would destroy the very things I desire for us as a couple and as a family.