Recently, I received a query from a reader who wrote, In our
church the married people appear so scary, imbalanced and
dysfunctional most of the time. She asks me to comment.
Having been around church going folk all my life, I would have to
agree that some of the married people are indeed scary,
imbalanced and dysfunctional. I might disagree with her about
the percentages, but I also will admit that I am so anxious to
believe good things about the folks I assemble with on a regular
basis that I might be guilty of looking past their shortcomings.
If you read the previous paragraph carefully, you will notice that I
did not use the word Christian. I spoke of church going folk and
the folks I assemble with. The people I described may be
Christians, but it is also possible that they are not. Only God
knows for sure. A friend of mine used to say, Sitting in a church
house doesnt make you a Christian any more than sitting in a hen
house makes you a chicken.
Its possible that those scary married people arent Christians at
all. The Bible does have some things to say about the fruit of the
Spirit. The fruit if the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control
(Galatians 5:22-23). You would expect to find some degree of
those qualities in a husband and wife if they are genuine
Christians. Occasionally, I hear someone say, I know a certain
married couple. Both of them are deeply devoted to God, but they
cant stand each other. Im afraid I dont buy that rationale.
According to 1 John 4:20-21, If anyone says I love God, yet hates
his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother
whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.
John was talking about church relationships but surely the principle
applies to husbands and wives.
I dont know any of those people about whom the questioner writes,
but I recognize the possibility that some may genuinely qualify as
Christians who havent grown in grace and knowledge the way they
should have. Christians differ from each other in terms of maturity
and spiritual development. Patience needs to be expressed toward
those who are still on the upward climb.
If anyone says I love God, yet hates his brother, he is a liar.
Some people fail to recognize the fact that religious activity doesnt
cancel out the need for relationship improvement. Reading the
Bible, saying prayers, attending church and being involved in
church ministry are all admirable activities, but you can do all
those things and have a horrible marriage if you dont make
relationships a priority. If you are truly submitted to Christ, you will
be submitted to each other and that includes both husband and
wife. No one is bypassed in Ephesians 5:21 Submit to one
another out of reverence to Christ. Christ-like people dont go to
war over who has to submit.
Whether we are defining roles, resolving conflict or struggling with
our sense of identity, God calls on us to recognize one
fundamental truth. We show our love for him in the way we treat
From Norman Bales' "All About Families" web site. See http://www.allaboutfamilies.org for more great articles.