Summary: Sermon Series by Dr. Tim Pollock
Wouldn’t it be amazing if the moment the pastor pronounced you man and wife, there was a bright glow that just began to envelop you, trumpets would blow and all of a sudden you were transformed into prince charming and lady princess! The reality is however, that a wedding ceremony doesn’t automatically change someone’s character. In marriage as in life, it is character that counts. It is in virtue that the victory is found. Ceremonies are nice, but signing a piece of paper or saying a few words over somebody doesn’t make them a person of character. Good weddings do not equal a great marriage. A great marriage is made out of solid character and deep love. Let’s look at Solomon’s thoughts on the importance of good character.
This passage is very poetic. Its beautiful language is straightforward, colloquial and proverbial. Solomon eloquently describes four situations that are very hard to stomach. He mentions four scenarios that are very disquieting and that upset everything around them. First of all; an arrogant employee. Nothing is harder to take than an employee who has been given everything, been entrusted with a promotion and then runs rough shod over others. Second of all; a “Wanna-be.” That is an obnoxious, loud, rude, and belligerent person that has an inflated opinion of themselves. Few things are worse than a “Wanna-be” that goes to a five-star hotel and then orders everybody around like they’re some kind of a billionaire! Thirdly; an ill-natured husband or wife. This is someone with a consistently unpleasant attitude. And finally; a disgusting gold digger. Someone who has been given so much and yet it’s still not enough. They continue to use people and step on people in order to climb up the ladder. Let’s go back and focus on the third disquieting scenario.
“…For an odious woman when she is married…” (Proverbs 30:23). The word “odious” here is a word that means hateful. That is the most accurate translation. Its kind of humorous in light of today’s slang terminology, “hater.” This person is hater of God, a hater of people and a hater of good principles. Nothing causes any more of an upheaval to a family, to a community, to a church or to society than for someone to turn their back on God’s greatest gift outside of salvation and be a hateful husband or wife.
There is a vital marriage principle in this verse. This person was hateful before they got married and somehow and for some reason (who knows why), the fellow went ahead with the marriage, knowing full well that he was marrying a hateful person. How foolish it would be for a woman to carry on with the wedding ceremony, or for a man to marry somebody that is suspect in their character all the while imagining that somehow, a wedding is going to make him or her into someone with good character. There are several principles to consider as we look at the topic of character development:
1. Good Character Takes Work
It doesn’t always take a long time to see a change (sometimes it does unfortunately), but it does take effort. Offensive and disagreeable people are not victims, they can change if they want to. People who have an unpleasant personality are not victims of their circumstances. Disagreeable personalities do not develop because they’ve had a rough life. In fact, it’s been my experience that people with the most difficult surroundings actually have some of the most amazing and resilient personalities. I have been to Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children many times. These children have some of the most atrocious developmental and physical setbacks imaginable and yet most have unbelievable character! It is very common to greet one of these little children, who have such serious disabilities, and to see them break out into this wide smile and hear an incredibly warm, “Hi, how are you today sir?” We are not victims of our circumstances! People who are bitter, choose to be bitter. People who disobey, choose to disobey. That being said, to voluntarily step into marriage, the most intimate of all relationships, with a person of bad character is a certain train wreck.
Scripture is very clear; we are never to marry a “project.” Marrying a project is a dangerous thing to do. Conversely, it’s wonderful to minister to a project. If someone doesn’t have good character, it becomes a good Christian’s prayer and hope that they’ll have good character – but you don’t marry them! Am I saying that the only person you can marry is a perfect person, just like Jesus? Of course not. There isn’t anybody that would ever qualify for that. But there is a lot of difference between somebody who is just not complete yet and somebody who has bad character.