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Can a wife love her husband without respecting him?

Can a wife love her husband without respecting him? Not only would I say it’s possible, I would say it’s common! Most women will say they love their husbands, and I believe they do. But many of these same wives might not respect their husbands. I’ve met men who have told me they feel loved by their wives but not respected.

In marriage counseling, when I hear wives expressing their frustrations about their husbands, it typically sounds like this: “I don’t feel that my husband loves me. I wish my husband loved me more. He never tells me he loves me.” But when husbands express frustration, it more often sounds like this: “I wish my wife respected me more. I wish my wife followed my lead. I wish my wife supported my decisions.”

In truth, it is much easier for a wife to say she loves her husband than to show it through respect. But it is through respect that a wife expresses her love for her husband. If a wife does not show respect, her husband will not feel loved. A good perspective for couples to keep in mind is that feeling unloved is as painful to a wife as feeling disrespected is to a husband.

An example from scripture of a wife loving her husband without respecting him

Continue reading Can a wife love her husband without respecting him?

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Correcting People Is Loving

marriage-gods-way-author-scott-lapierre-correcting peopleLast post discussed the importance of correcting people, something largely ignored by the world. Our culture often says “love” means letting people do whatever they want whether it is detrimental to them or anyone else. Disagreeing with someone’s choices or lifestyle makes you at best unloving, and at worst hateful. This logic demands sitting back silently while people make decisions that are detrimental to them or others.

The Bible, on the other hand, points out the logical reality that love demands correcting people:

Proverbs 9:8 Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you;
rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.

He will love you, because he has the wisdom to recognize you have done him a favor.

Correcting People: The Behavior of Friends Versus Enemies

David saw it as an act of love to be rebuked by someone: Continue reading Correcting People Is Loving

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Ladies, be your husband’s best friend!

Be your husband's best friend!
Be your husband’s best friend!

Last year I preached a sermon discussing the different Greek words for “love.” One of the words – probably the most well known – is agape. This is an unconditional, sacrificial love that loves even when it’s not reciprocated.

This is:

  • The love God has for the world: John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 
  • The love man has for sin: John 3:19 This is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
  • The love husbands are commanded to have for their wives: Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.

Another word for love is phileō, and it refers to strong affection or brotherly kindness. This is…

  • The beginning of words like philosophy (love of wisdom), philanthropy (love of fellow man), or philharmonic (love of music).
  • Used of the religious leaders who love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets” (Matt 6:5).
  • The way Mary and Martha described Jesus’ feelings for Lazarus when they said, “he whom You love (phileō) is sick” (John 11:3).

You see the two words – agapaō and phileō – used together when Jesus repeatedly asked Peter if he had agapaō for Him. Since Peter was humbled by his recent denials, he wouldn’t tell Jesus His love for Him was unconditional; instead he said he had phileō for Him (John 21:15-17).

Now the most interesting use of phileō…

Titus 2:3-4 says “older women” are to “admonish the young women to love their husbands.” This word for love is phileō. So even though husbands are to have agapaō for their wives, wives are to have phileō for their husbands. Why aren’t wives expected to have the same sacrificial, unconditional love for their husbands that husbands are to have for their wives? Is it that husbands don’t want or need that kind of love? I don’t think that’s it at all: I think it’s that wives are to love their husbands differently than husbands are to

My best friend Katie.
My best friend Katie.

love their wives. Wives are to love their husbands by being their friends. I think most men – myself included – would say it can be very discouraging and trying at times being a husband, father, provider, spiritual leader, and everything else that falls on most men’s shoulders. Can having a wife with sacrificial, unconditional love be encouraging? Yes. But what could be even more encouraging?

Having a best friend.

 

What does it look like when a wife isn’t a friend to her husband, when she doesn’t phileō him? It’s described in Proverbs:

  • Her “contentions are a continual dripping” (19:13b, 27:15),
  • She makes him want “to dwell in a corner of a housetop” (21:9a, 25:24) or “in the wilderness” (Pro 21:19a).

But when a wife has phileō for her husband, when she is his best friend, “the heart of her husband safely trusts her. He has no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life” (Pro 31:11-12).

This post is from my book, Marriage God’s Way: A Biblical Recipe for Healthy, Joyful, Christ-Centered Relationships, chapter fifteen: “What Is Love?”

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3 Blessings When Choosing God Over Family

Choosing God over family
Choosing God over family

There aren’t many more difficult situations for Christians to face than those involving choosing God over family:

  • A loved one claims to be a believer but wants to marry an unbeliever, so you’re unable to support the relationship.
  • You don’t want to let your kids stay with family members that you know will be a negative influence.
  • A relative is living in habitual sin and you have to confront the person.

There are examples in the Old Testament of individuals having to choose God over family members:

  • Moses called for the execution of the individuals responsible for the Golden Calf, and this meant some Israelites had to kill some relatives: “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.’” (Exo 32:27).
  • King Asa was one of the greatest reformers in the Old Testament. When he purged the idolatry from the land, he had to punish even his own grandmother: “[Asa] removed Maachah his grandmother from being queen mother, because she had made an obscene image of Asherah” (1 Kin 15:13).

Jesus is the premier teacher and example on this subject:

  • Jesus said we shouldn’t love father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, etc. more than Him (Matt 10:37, Luke 14:26).
  • Jesus taught the closest relationships in His life weren’t with His physical family, but His spiritual family: “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” Then pointing toward His disciples He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother” (Matt 12:46-50, Mark 3:31-35, Luke 8:19-21). Jesus minimized His earthly relationships, to emphasize His spiritual relationships were with those who obey His Father.
  • When Jesus spoke to Mary, there’s no record of Him calling her “Mother.” He called her “Woman” (John 2:4, 19:26). There were two relationships between them:
    • Mother-Son earthly relationship.
    • Sinner-Savior spiritual relationship, and this one trumped the other.

When situations arise and we have to choose between God or family members, there’s really no choice. Our greatest love and commitment has to be to Christ.

Despite the difficulty associated with choosing God over family, we can be encouraged by these blessings:

First, choosing God over family provides a teaching opportunity with our children.

We can share the above verses with our children and explain: “Our greatest love and loyalty has to be reserved for the Lord. That’s why we made this decision.” Our children are able to see our faithfulness to Christ. They might never forget what we’ve done, and hopefully they’ll be encouraged to make the same decision if they face a similar situation.

Second, choosing God over family provides an opportunity to discuss our faith.

We might be able to discuss our faith with the affected (and possibly offended) family members: “We’re very sorry that this has hurt you, but as Christians we believe…” Then explain the motivation behind the decision. At best they’ll see where we’re coming from and possibly have a change of heart. At worst they’ll be angry, but at least they’ll remember we had the courage to obey God when it was unpopular.

Third, choosing God over family allows us to demonstrate our love for God.

Finally, and most importantly, being able to choose God over family allows us to demonstrate to God that we love Him, and that He’s more important to us than even our family members. This is a great privilege.

Have you ever had to choose God over family? If so, would you be willing to share about it below?

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God's Personal Love For Us

I talked to the leadership about my FMLA and I was going to take the full three months off, but Katie says we probably really only need two :).

Since Rhea was born I’ve called her Princess. When your Father is the King, you’re a princess. Well the other day I was holding Charis on my lap and Rhea was in front of me and we were having a nice little conversation about how great it is for her to have a little sister, but things changed when I called Charis “Princess.” Rhea said, “What did you just call her?”

I said, “’Princess.’ She’s also my Princess.”

Rhea said, “Daddy, are you going to love me as much now that Charis is born?”

I said, “Of course Rhea. You’re still my Princess too. I could never love you any less…in fact, I love you so much I can’t even imagine loving you more than I already do. And if God gives us more children, I’ll still love you just as much.”

I think one of the reasons people question God’s love for them is they say, “With billions of people, how could God really love me that much?” In a way, I think they sort of feel like Rhea. If you have more than one child though, you know your love for your first child isn’t diminished in the slightest when you have another child. You can ask people who have multiple children and they’ll tell you they loved their first child just as much after having other children. In a really interesting way I can’t explain, I actually feel like I love Rhea more after having Ricky, Johnny and Charis.

Now while we have the capacity to love, the Bible says God is love (1 John 4:8). Love is one of His communicable attributes (a fancy word for His attributes that are communicated to or shared with us); however, even though we can love, that’s far different from actually being love. God created us for His glory and honor, but He also created us, because as a God of love He wanted objects to set His love upon. What really fascinates me is since I love, but God is love, His love is stronger and truer than mine; therefore, the love I have for Charis, as strong as it feels to me, is still much less than the love God has for her because it would be impossible for a person who loves, to love as much as a God who is love.

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Is it loving to tell people about Hell?

Since my parents purchased a Prius, I paid special attention to Toyota’s recalls in 2009-2010. A number of people experienced unintentional acceleration, causing numerous reports of people losing control of their vehicles, and even a two-car collision on Aug 28, 2009 that killed four people in San Diego, CA. While I remember the anger customers felt toward the corporation, the majority of it did not stem from the defective production. I think most people reasonably understand mistakes happen even at the highest levels of industry and production.

What did outrage people – whether Toyota customers or not – was the subsequent revelation that the car manufacturer was aware of the defect, but didn’t warn anyone. In other words, what understandably infuriated people was the reality that Toyota knew the danger people were facing, but kept that information to themselves. What if on February 24, 2010, when testifying before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Toyota’s CEO Akio Toyoda would have defended himself by saying, “We thought it was unloving to tell people about the danger they were facing; we didn’t want to upset them”? While this would have been recognized as ridiculous and absurd, surprisingly a number of people apply this logic to the danger people are in regarding hell.

This past week, I spoke to a number of the WHS graduates at their senior dinner, and I was really surprised by a little backlash associated with telling them the Bible says “many” people in this world will go to hell and “few” will go to heaven (Mat 7:13-14). The criticism is that I wasn’t being loving. I really don’t understand. I became a Christian when I learned I was going to go to hell if I didn’t change my life, repent, and seek the forgiveness offered through Christ. I felt immense thankfulness toward the family who I considered to be very loving in sharing the truth with me. The way some people’s minds have been blinded by the god of this age (2 Cor 4:4) truly saddens me.