forgiveness

Grace Changes the Storyline

 

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We cheapen grace when it’s only received, but the value of grace is exponentially maximized when we give it away.  Grace will always change the storyline because it changes everything it touches, especially in marriage.  The closer the relationship the deeper the risk for pain, but this is how we bring the greatest results, for everyone.

Joseph changed his storyline the day he forgave his brothers (Genesis 37-50) when it was within his power to retaliate.  David changed his storyline by showing respect and kindness to an enemy that was trying to destroy him (2 Samuel 9), instead of going to war.

Jesus didn’t change our storylines so that we could take His grace and only receive it for ourselves, but rather so that we could share it with each other.  He gave us a real life demonstration at the cross of how this grace changes outcomes:  He showed us how to capitalize on it.

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THE POWER TO CHOOSE

Unity is the common thread that is weaved over every story where grace touches.  Grace bridges us from separation because of offence to unity and in the process makes us spiritual heroes in God’s eyes.

God gave me the power to change my own storyline from retaliation to forgiveness through the power that was bestowed on me when I received Grace.  Grace has a power that the world just doesn’t get.  It isn’t until you exercise it through giving it away that you can increase its strength and feel its empowerment.

I hear over and over again how difficult it is to step out of the euphoria of the wedding day into the reality where marriage is lived out.  I agree completely:  With some marriages, it is impossible to do – in human strength.  But when you bring a supernatural being into the picture, the view changes.

God has good plans for our marriages (Jeremiah 29:11), plans that we cannot even begin to understand (Isaiah 55:8-9).  Plans that He ordained from the beginning (Ephesians 2:10 ).  He knew all this before we were born (Psalm 139:16).  He then spends the rest of our lives renewing our minds (Ephesians 4:23) and changing our hearts (Romans 2:12) to come onside with His plan of grace.

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Marriage Triangle (Part 3)

Part 3 – Imitation

 

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Ok.  So far I’ve shared that the traditional view of the marriage triangle didn’t really help us in our marriage.  In Part 1, I explored that each spouse is different in their growth and approach to God.  Because we are all wounded in different ways and depths, this makes our maturity in Christ not equal.  And in Part 2, it was the realization that the dynamics of my relationship with God changed considerably when I chose to get married.

When you are both getting along, there’s no need for counselling or instruction on how marriage should be – You are living it.  This makes complete sense: who needs directions when they aren’t lost?

But then, someone is offended.  Happily ever after is replaced with the strain from the offence creating stress and threatening the unity of the relationship.

Conflict will reveal how much of Christ has been factored in

A marriage that is truly alive with Christ will have God’s love flowing through it.  Otherwise it’s no different than any other marriage.  God’s love is a giving, a no holds barred, regardless of actions, full-out – love.  Remember in Part 2 how I discovered that logically, I can’t reciprocate directly to God, because I have nothing to offer Him.  And yet He still gives all of His love.

When God showed me to focus only on my own relationship with Him and that He would take care of me through Darrell, the same way He would take care of Darrell through me; it not only changed me forever, but also my view of marriage.

Whenever God talks about love, it’s never in a relational vacuum with Himself; but with an active relational voice that is giving.

Matthew 22:37-40 …love your neighbour

Romans 12:10 love one another

1 Peter 2:17 love the brotherhood

1 Peter 4:8love for one another

1 John 4:7-8love one another

1 John 4:11 love one another

1 John 4:19-21 loves God shall love his brother [believer] also

I don’t get to turn my back on my husband and love God at the same time.  When you choose to stop loving your husband, what you’ve actually done is stop your own love from being reciprocated to God.  You have become a taker only of God’s love- nothing is getting through you.

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You love God by copying Him

God is a giver.  So to look like Him we must become givers who only focus on what we give into the marriage … not what we get from it.  Truly imitating God means you give without limits or strings attached.  As your husband’s wife you don’t concentrate on what kind of husband he is, but instead on the tremendous son of God that he will become as God loves him through you.

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Therefore be imitators of God

[copy Him and follow His example],

as well-beloved children [imitate their father].

Ephesians 5:1


Marriage Triangle (Part 2)

Part 1 – The Myth We Discovered

Part 2 – Reciprocity

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Myth

Because I am in relationship with God, I actually have something, on my own, to give back to Him.

When you look at the surface of Paradigm A, you only view the shell.  But if you look under the surface, scrutinizing the real message (Paradigm B), you can see that there is no representation of “oneness” that includes God.  Instead, what it illustrates is actually THREE reciprocal relationships, each of the three being separated in its own vacuum:

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Three Relationships Each In Its Own Vacuum

1 – God & wife

God does all the giving in this relationship, any love I have originated with Him, I love Him, because He first loved me (1 John 4:19).  There is nothing I can reciprocate to God:

He does all the giving … a wife can only TAKE.

 2 – God & husband

Again, God does all the giving in this relationship.  There is nothing a husband can reciprocate to God:

God does all the giving … a husband can only TAKE.

3- husband & wife

There is no line for the relationship that shows the oneness of marriage that comes from God, the One who does the giving.  Instead, the arrow representing marriage involves two takers.

Reciprocate, To God?

Paradigm A disguises reality by presenting the way marriage should be (see Part 1) – the utopian view.  It also enforces the idea that: I can reciprocate directly to God.  Even though I know, logically, there is no way that a natural human being has anything to offer a supernatural being.  Because of the fact that the only reason I am able to love God is, because He first loved me, this begs the question:  How am I going to love God back?

Conceptualizing the interaction (Paradigm B) that is actually taking place between God and each spouse gives a clearer idea:  God loves me.  That’s a $100 bill that He’s given to me … do I give Him back the $100 bill?  Is this how I love God back?  Keeping the $100 in a vacuum, isolated between the two of us – passing it back and forth?

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How easy is it to be in relationship with God?  I’ve discovered, as you probably have, He’s pretty easy to love.  With God there’s no relational dysfunction, is there?  Never any ugly trials and tribulations.  God is supreme perfection.  Always giving.  Never taking.

God always does the right thing and never sins against you.

Paradigms A & B don’t actually show how each spouse is growing closer to God.  As long as the arrow is pointed at God (Paradigm A) and remains between just the two of them (Paradigm B), it is not a relationship with any maturity.  Maturity responds to God’s love by imitating it.

When I identify with the utopian Paradigm A, it seems ok for me to see my relationship with God as separate from my relationship with my husband.  And this is where the deception comes in:

  1. It is not humanly possible for a spouse (a taker) to love the other spouse (a taker) the way God loves each of them.
  2. There really isn’t two separate relationships in marriage … the two have become one.

The question again:  How do you reciprocate with a being that is so supreme He completes His Self within Himself?

You imitate Him

When Darrell and I got married, we became ONE flesh.  There aren’t two of us anymore, there is one.  Therefore, that great mystery of becoming one flesh would be more accurately illustrated by a single line:

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The utopian triangle (Paradigm A) is applicable when a marriage is as it should be:  In its “good place.”  There is no conflict and both spouses are getting along.  However, with the pressures of life, the reality of trials and the ugliness of human sin, conflict in marriage is inevitable; the utopian paradigm crashes and burns … it’s useless to us.  The high divorce rates are the best indicator of the misapplication of the ‘marriage triangle.’  Perhaps it’s time for a paradigm shift.

Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery – it’s the sincerest form of learning. –George Bernard Shaw

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Part 3 – Imitation:  A paradigm shift to an active perspective.

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Marriage Triangle (Part 1)

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Part 1 – The Myth We Discovered

There is a triangle paradigm used to depict the Christian marriage, aptly called a marriage triangle.  There’s many variations of it, but generally it looks like one of these:

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The premise is obvious:  The closer you get to God the closer your marriage will align to the perfection of God thereby bringing the two of you closer.

In theory this paradigm makes complete sense, but for real life practical application in marriage, it’s a miss and leaves us strandedBy glossing over our human brokenness – the truth of what we really are, with the illusion of perfection, it leads us more into a myth mindset than a paradigm that can help a marriage grow into the force it was meant to be.

This triangle image bolsters the idea of black and white in the marriage relationship and leaves us with a flavour of simplicity.  It doesn’t factor in the reality of any hurt, strife, offences, or conflicts that are inevitable, as Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 7:28, “… Yet those who marry will have physical and earthly troubles, …

Perfection is a myth

MYTH:  Darrell and I are equal in our maturity and our backgrounds won’t make any difference.  It doesn’t matter what each of us has been through in childhood and life, we’ll ascend the triangle towards God at an equal rate of maturity.

Both spouses growing equally in their respective relationship to God, and naturally getting closer to each other.  Yes, if all things were equal.  If I grew up on Bliss Boulevard and if Darrell came from Paradise Place and if we were making our home on Utopia Avenue, this triangle is a statement of truth.  Correctly depicting 2 Christians in a marriage; as the marriage should be.upwithmarriageJAN

But here’s the problem:

  • Earth is not utopia and balanced maturity is hardly the reality of two sinners that are …
  • Bound together in such a close relational space that they may as well be called one person …
  • Living in the fallen world.

Sorry for the bummer of all those grim verses but if we are going to live in reality and not fairyland, we need to be honest with ourselves about who we really are.  Let’s face it, there’s a reason Jesus had to die for us.  Also, if when we get a little high on ourselves, there is nothing more effective than a good dose of reality to level the playing field of marriage.

Without exception all of us are different.  Nobody grows and matures at an equal level, in the same way or during the same time frame.  Each of us have come from different backgrounds, lived different lives and have experienced hurt in ways that differ from each other, so our wounds are unalike.  Our healing and maturity will be anything but identical, equal or symmetrical as we grow closer independently to God.

Conflict is not a myth

You can’t live in this world and not be wounded.  Somehow, some way … all people are hurting (Mk 2:17).  Hurting people hurt others.  But as we heal and grow … we do less damage to each other.

Wounds are the root of offence, discord and strife.

They reveal where we need to be healed in order to grow-up.

Ferreting out the wounds from beneath our self-made coping mechanisms so that we can heal and grow, takes time.  And on top of the wounds, there’s also variations in our genders, our basic personality differences, which are not so basic if you’ve spent any time reading some of the Meyers Briggs information.  Not to mention birth order factors that probably come into play.

We humans are fearfully and wonderfully created with all our amazing complexities.  The good we live in and do belongs to us and our spouses; and so does the darkness.  It’s not as simple as:  sliding up our respective sides of the triangle into happily ever after.  So, what’s the solution?  Reciprocity.

Part 2 – ReciprocityWhat can you give to The God that has everything?  Same triangle – alternate and active perspective.  Helping each other to heal so that we each can grow closer to God.

 

Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Confession:  In my blogging sometimes I’m more concerned about the messenger (me) than the message (God) … yuk, I know.  Yesterday I had prepared a short post in honour of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday.  I chickened out.  I was worried that people would think I was trying to capitalize on the assassination of a great man, instead of the fact that his teachings can have a profound effect on your life, and moreover in your marriage, if you’ll take to heart what he says.

Foolish, I know.  First, not trusting God – big NoNo there.  But also you readers – I didn’t assume the best in your hearts and for that I’m sorry.

Jan 20/14 score:

Satan ONE / Robyn ZERO

God, “Got my number.”  You know when you are reading your Bible and you can feel that conviction, deep down inside of you?  Well today, I knew.  I knew that God knew – and He knew that I knew, He knew.

Now am I trying to win the favour of men, or of God?  Do I seek to please men?  If I were still seeking popularity with men, I should not be a bond servant of Christ (the Messiah). -Gal 1:10

SO for today, Jan 21/14, “Thank You Lord for Your mercy being new EVERY day and the opportunities to come back around and do it right!”  This is the post I prepared yesterday, may it bless your life and marriage!

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January 20th marks the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr.  I know his main message is that of a civil rights activist but for me, his words became very personal in my marriage.

He talked his message.  He walked his message.  He died for his message.  This is what Christ did.

… and it’s what you and I are called to do.  When we look beyond ourselves and the wants and needs of our flesh, that love and forgiveness that Martin Luther King, Jr. lived , taught and died for will start to trickle into our marriages.  The more we focus on Christ’s life and actions the more we’ll be able to really grasp what it means to die for a cause greater than yourself, just like Martin Luther King, Jr. did.  Before long God will turn that trickle of love into a tidal wave.

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