3 Blessings When Choosing God Over Family

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

  • A loved one claims to be a believer but wants to marry an unbeliever. So you’re unable to support the relationship.
  • Family members invite your child to stay with them, but you know they’ll be a negative influence on them. So you have to decline.
  • 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. For example, Moses called for the execution of the individuals responsible for the Golden Calf. This meant some Israelites had to kill their own relatives. Exodus 32:27 says:

“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.’”

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. 1 Kings 15:13 records:

[Asa] removed Maachah his grandmother from being queen mother, because she had made an obscene image of Asherah.

In both of these situations it would’ve been very easy for those involved to choose loved ones over God.

Jesus is the premier teacher and example when it comes to choosing God over family

Jesus said, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37; see also Luke 14:26). He taught the closest relationships in His life weren’t with His physical family, but His spiritual family. Matthew 12:46-50 records:

While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand 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.”

I tend to think God is repetitive when He wants to make sure we don’t miss something. This account occurs in each synoptic gospel; it’s also in Mark 3:31-35 and Luke 8:19-21. Jesus minimized His earthly relationships to emphasize His spiritual relationships were with those who obey His Father. Continue reading “3 Blessings When Choosing God Over Family”

Can a wife love her husband without respecting him?

“Can a wife love her husband without respecting him?”

This is a good question to understand, because many people don’t think there’s a difference between a wife loving her husband and respecting him. This leaves many women thinking they respect their husbands, while the husbands are not feeling respected. Watch the short video of Katie and I discussing the answer and/or read the transcript below…

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?”

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”

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?”