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Sunday, May 16, 2010
Face it, most of us like things black and white. We like clearly defined boundaries. We like to know if we’re in or out, if we are winning or losing, if we are OK or not OK. Such things make life safe and easy. No mess, no fuss, no fuzzy ambiguities.

To an extent I think many in the church are afraid to tackle some of the tougher issues related to the biblical truths about marriage because marriage is an inherently messy business. Marriage doesn’t tend to fit neatly into our little black and white boxes. That’s because God, the one who designed marriage, doesn’t either.

You see the Kingdom of God is full of truths in tension, things that are completely true but that must be held in healthy tension against other things that are also completely true. Consider a few example truths about God:
  • God is completely sovereign. AND God gives us free will.
  • Jesus is fully God. AND Jesus is fully man.
  • God is trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). AND God is one.
In each case, if you stick only with one half of the truth, you get a distorted and incomplete picture of who God is.

There are plenty of marriage truths that must also be held in tension. It’s when people try to isolate on one part of a truth that the missing tension leads to unhealthy imbalance. The strongest marriages are willing to embrace the tension, the fuzziness if you will, and live in the continual pursuit of proper balance.

So since I’m going for tension, I’ll start with one that’s sure to create some:
  • God gives authority to the husband in a marriage (head of the home). AND a husband is to display that authority by loving his wife with the same kind of sacrificial love that Christ shows for the church.
Feel the tension? If that’s not enough, here’s one more:
  • A wife is to submit to and show respect for her husband. AND a husband is to love his wife as he loves himself.
Each of these truths and counter-truths are clearly stated in various portions of Ephesians 5.

I posted a while back how many attempt to distort and refute what the Bible says about marriage by focusing on part of the truth without the counterbalance of what else the scriptures say. For example, if all you look at is the submission part of what is taught in Ephesians 5, it’s easy to draw completely wrong conclusion that women are to be subjugated and subservient to men. Likewise if you only see what that chapter says about a husband being the head of his wife, without reading on to see what that looks like, you fail to see that the model for leadership is Jesus laying down his life for his bride.

Those who use the scriptures as a weapon, either to beat women into submission or to paint the biblical concept of marriage as unfair and unacceptable, generally pick and choose what parts they accept or reject. I don’t think that’s helpful or wise.

If it’s in the Word, it’s in there for a reason. You can paint me as a fundamentalist or a fanatic, but I believe our job is to figure out what that reason is and apply it to our lives, with the help of the Holy Spirit’s illumination. Yeah, that’s messy business. Yeah, it can be hard to work through and apply to the infinite variety of marriage relationships that exist. Yeah, it probably means making some mistakes and occasionally having to retrace some steps (or mis-steps). Yeah, there is a potential for mis-use and abuse of the truth. But I don’t think the answer is to ignore it.

The fuzzy mess is OK with me, and I think it’s OK with God. Is it with you?


Unknown said...

awesome insight. I couldn't agree more. wisdom stage right. thank you.

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