The following is a brief synopsis of points
which will be mentioned
in this writing herewith.
LOVE IS A COMBINATION OF MINISTRIES
Love the wife FIRST
Have "Sensitivities" for the Beloved
Give SELFLESS Love, Willing to Lay Down Life
Seek out ---don't just ask--- the Beloved's Needs & Feelings
Demonstrate (by action) True
Christ-likeness toward a wife
"Foot washing" leadership, not tyranny
Self-Control (even all 9 Fruits of the Spirit) in Disagreements
"I WILL NOT WOUND THE ONE I LOVE"
REPENTANCE, and doing so as a Ministry for Healing
HUMILITY to admit errors quickly (so as to repent quickly)
"Pounding one's chest" demonstrates Spiritual Immaturity
- Purposefully "building positive FUTURE PAST-MEMORIES"
Consistency of Applying such LOVE Over Time
This is written personally from the Founder of TRUTH BEARER.
Recently, I began counselling a newly married husband and wife (now attending the home-church I lead) who were having a rather difficult time in some of the finer points of marital interactions. Their foremost reason for asking
my counsel was based on what they witnessed and observed in my own marriage.
They were quite positively overwhelmed by what they saw in my marriage (with my first wife, I would add here) and wanted the same for themselves, even noting
how they had observed that my marriageís testimony
spoke volumes louder than the words I speak.
It is true, sure enough, that I am truly so blessed in having such a wife who
even has truth of Christian Polygamy so deeply understood that she has even talked
with women about the possibility of adding wives to our family, because of the enjoyment of sharing, with someone close, the joy she
receives from her husband in our marriage.† (Honestly, those are actually
her words, not mine.)† My wife knows the truth behind my words and bears witness to that (in both her word and in deed) when I say
that being a husband is a MINISTRY to the wives.
Seeing the example of my marriage, and that this newly married couple's own marriage was having some great difficulties,
†they sincerely requested my help in counselling them in having such a Godly marriage for themselves. As I accepted
(and also for which I considered an honor to be so requested!),
I recommended that my own wife be present in the times we would get together.
This was not so that my wife would also be a "counsellor",
but rather that she also be there as an assistant to me in obtaining a womanís perspective (in case I might miss something). (As well, this also
added comfort to the new wife of that newly married couple, that she would know that she would not be "outnumbered" by another man with her husband.)
But the thing that was most evident (and will be thus made manifest in this writing herewith), is that
I counsel with the emphasis on the man's responsibility to love, to love so profoundly and selflessly, "even as Christ also loved the church". (Ephesians 5:25.)
This newly married couple surely had some great difficulties hindering their marriage's growth, getting in the way of their being able to have such a happy and Godly marriage. The newly married husband had a previous wife (still living) who had left him years ago.† The newly married wife herself is a widow of a profoundly cruel man (now dead) who would have even done such things as prostituting her if she had let him.† This coupleís grievous "obstacle" is
that they each individually have the exact opposite hurt-causing emotional baggage that afflicts the other. New HUSBAND: He had a previous wife who told him flat out that
she would NEVER "obey" in the way as guided by the Scriptures. New WIFE: She would
have been prostituted and now probably dead if she had obeyed her first (now dead) husband.
† So, the new husband
"pounds his chest" not understanding why his new wife "just wonít obey"
according to Scripture.† And she gets all uppity never letting up on him
being reminded that she will NOT obey. Truly, they both had valid reasons for their
hurts and insecurities, even while those very same matters were working against them! (Also, use of the word "obey" here must not be construed with tyrannical concepts, but rather as compassionately guided by the Scriptures.)
Thus, in counselling with this newly married couple, the real problem was immediately evident.† It was clear that
true, profound, selfless, Christ-like love was missing.
"What?", they asked, amazed.
I explained, they needed to see that LOVE is not
what you claim you did for the other person in times past; but, rather, love is
"sensitivity" and purposeful searching out the other oneís needs and
feelings. (And it's not just asking, "What do you need?", but rather, deliberately seeking out to discover those needs.)
Love is a MINISTRY ---even many ministries combined!
Love is Christ on the cross.† Love is the Church for Christ.
The husband then (proverbially) "pounded his chest", saying, "But Scripture says sheís supposed
to obey me.† I donít see David gettiní all sweet and saying to one of his
wives, Ďplease please pleaseí do this or that."
I gently reminded him that David had love and sensitivity (Saulís daughter
Michal in 2_Samuel 6:20-23 notwithstanding, but that was because God could
not mingle the seed of David with the house of Saul).† Just let one read the
Psalms and one quickly sees the passion of David.
I then told him how it is that we
love Christ:because He FIRST loved us.
(See 1_John 4:19.)
Christ did not demand that we love Him before He loved us.† And so, we see that Christ
LOVED us, and loved us FIRST.
And what was that love?
† "Hereby perceive we
the love of God, because he laid down his life for us."
† (1_John 3:16.)
Wherefore Christ had explained,
"Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his life for his friends."
If one loves
to the degree of laying down their life, then everything else, all the other "minor
inconveniences", pale in comparison.
And not only that, but Christ did not hang on the cross, saying, "Hey look at me! Arenít I
great?† Look at what Iíve done for you!† Oh, Iíve loved you, see?"† No,
Christ was humble, in love.† He did it neither in ---nor for--- vainglory.† He
did it with sensitivity for what WE needed, which was forgiveness of sins.
He did it for US, even when we were dead in our sins, even hating Him.
So, I asked the new husband to remember Ephesians 5:25, about how husbands
are to love their wives AS CHRIST ALSO LOVED THE CHURCH.
And just how much love was
that?† Christ laid down His life!
I asked the new husband if Christ would be "pounding his chest", saying
"Hey, I took one lashing.† Thatís enough.† See?† Now you know I love you.
You donít need any more from me.† Yup.† Thatís right.† I took one lashing.
So, you see, I DO love you."
Christ took far more than just one lashing.† He went to the cross!
Why arenít we crying over that?!† Why do we so easily forget that?!
So, the new husband sincerely then wanted to know why my own wife sitting there was able to actually follow me so joyfully according to Scriptural guidance?
I explained again, I love her AS CHRIST ALSO LOVED THE
CHURCH.† I am sensitive to her.† I listen to her, and let her have
feelings.† I demonstrate in action that I care about her and her concerns.
I do not "pound my chest" which would only demonstrate spiritual immaturity.
"whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and
to give his life a ransom for many."
† (Matthew 20:26-27.)† The image of
lordship is not of tyrant but of foot washer from John 13, of a ministry
of a serving-leadership in love, willing to lay down oneís life!
I asked the new husband, "Do you picture Christ actually saying things in a
tyrannical way?† Like saying, ĎHey.† Do this.†† Donít give me any argument
about it.† Just do it.† I told you do it, so just do it.í"†† Of course not.
I explained to the new husband that Christ loved us BEFORE He offered to be
loved.† He did not wait to be loved before He loved.† He did not do a
little token gesture with which to say that He "loved" us, such as taking
only one lashing.† No, He loved us: dying on the cross!
Why arenít we crying over that?!† Why do we so easily forget that?!
It is with THAT love that Christ is so surely WORTHY (in fact, moreso even!) of our love in return,
and is truly worthy of being called "Lord"!
But Christ still doesnít "pound his chest".† He loved us, He laid down His
life for us, He was and is sensitive to our deepest needs, not simply
putting out some token gesture to say "See?† I love you."†† No indeed.
Christ-like love is ministering love TO the one loved.
I explained to the new husband, it is with that example that I so love my wife.† I have loved her first, even when she was angry with me.† I have
sought out her needs.† I have listened to her. I have cared for her. I have
shown my love by action (as well as
verbally expressing it) to her with humility and gentleness.
I do not do token gestures and
"obligatory-acts" of† what I might want to claim was supposedly "proof" of my love, with which to then say
to her, "See what I did for you?† You should love me for that."†† No, I
sought out her feelings, her hurts, and her needs.
When in disagreement, I
have not permitted myself the fleshly luxury of "losing control" but,
instead, manifesting the Nine Fruit of the Spirit (of which the Ninth is
Temperence/"Self-Control" ---per Galatians 5:23b).† I have held my own self accountable to this
promise to myself, to her, as well as to God.† Namely, that I WILL NOT
WOUND THE ONE I LOVE.
That means that I will not "retaliate" with hurtful
name-callings and other such WOUNDING hurts.
(I instructed the newly married couple to memorize and keep that promise as well! Again, I WILL NOT WOUND THE ONE I LOVE.)
This all, therefore,
mandates me (and thereby did I instruct the newly married husband) to walk in the Spirit, manifesting the Nine Fruit of the
Moreover, (as I exhorted the newly married husband by using my own example) I have shown my wife my† willingness to immediately recognize my
errors. And more important than that, that I will then immediately REPENT as soon as possible.† And yet even still more important than that,
not only so, but that such
repentance itself is also a ministry in and of its self.† That is, I do not
repent simply to "get off the hook".† She would quickly "see through" such
falsehood, as would any serious Christian.† No, I use the repentance to
actually minister healing to her for any hurt I may have caused her in doing the
very thing for which I so needed to be repenting. (True repentance is the combination of both CONFESSION of having done the sin and having sincere GODLY SORROW for having done the sin.)† Thus, true and sincere repentance itself
is a ministry for healing, seeking out to heal any hurt I caused.
And such a ministry of such repentance does more than that too! Indeed, it actually strengthens my
wife's ability to yet further TRUST me --- because I readily admit my ability to err and not
be so proud that I cannot sincerely repent of any such error.
Truly, the act of Humility in admitting my errors in the ministry of repentance is the single most powerful way of establishing, building, and strengthening
TRUST than any other possible thing I could ever do or say!
I explained that all of these things, these ministries, have been with love as actual MINISTRIES FOR†and TO my wife.
For that is what selfless Christ-like love is.
I then began to summarize my points to the newly married couple. I explained
that, over the passage of time with my wife consistently seeing my deliberate ("on-purpose") behavior of other-centered Christ-like
ministering love, my wife has been able to see the reality of such a love,
the evidence of so purposefully walking in the Spirit, that she cannot but
help herself to surrender all arrogance or defiance. Thereby she cannot help herself but to then willfully and joyfully surrender to her beloved
Never never never do
I force these things because I just donít have to. Moreover, if I actually did "pound my
chest", that would actually only prove to her (and to all others watching) that,
simply, I had not otherwise grown out of spiritual immaturity (if I did that).
And why is "pounding one's chest" the evidence of spiritual immaturity? It is because doing such a thing is void of the Fruit of the Spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22-23. Indeed, "pounding one's chest" NEVER manifests nor ministers
Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, and beyond all doubt, Temperence (which means "Self-Control"). As Christ said, therefore,
"Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." (Matthew 7:20.)
So, while it is not something I would even "need" to
do (as I take personal responsibility for my loving her
more profoundly), even if I still did "pound my chest", I would be proving myself
to otherwise be unworthy of such (demanded) obedience by that very proof
of such spiritual immaturity. (Of course, I explained, this is not to be confused with situations of standing with gentle firmness for what is right or in times of important decision-making, but that was understood to begin with, and not confused here even at the start.)
Instead, therefore, through love, patience,
compassion, and deliberate sensitivity to HER, as well as other deliberate ministries such as repentance for errors and as humility in recognizing and admitting such errors, that I therefore actually CAUSE
her to be able to joyfully and willfully follow her husband.
How?† By such love from me for her, the type of love
"EVEN AS CHRIST ALSO LOVED THE CHURCH". (Ephesians 5:25.)
But the new husband didnít understand something.† He wanted to know, then how is it that I myself do indeed
take such control and that my wife so willingly accepts it?† I explained
that our relationship had GROWN to this point by the patient application of
these principles over time, and thus being observed and experienced over
This is what I myself refer to as, "building FUTURE PAST-MEMORIES". That is, when I take an action in a present point in time, I am deliberately cognizant and aware that at some time in the FUTURE, my wife will then at that future time have a PAST-MEMORY of whatever I am presently choosing to do at this time in the present. (The particular understanding of this fact is a true, joyous, and powerful revelation from the Lord God, for sure.) And all such "FUTURE PAST-MEMORIES" my wife has will then be those which will more likely then influence how she feels, thinks, and responds in later FUTURE (sometimes similar) situations.
If she has a negative PAST-MEMORY of how I chose to handle some situation in the past, that PAST-MEMORY could very well influence her to think I would do so again. But if I had instead given her a positive "FUTURE PAST-MEMORY" of how I handle such a situation, then that positive PAST-MEMORY could influence her to think I would do so positively again.
This is how TRUST is developed. My wife can either come to TRUST that I will handle a situation badly or negatively, or she can come to TRUST that I will handle a situation positively. It would not be her "fault" either way. Rather, it is my CHOICE in the present how I will "build her FUTURE PAST-MEMORIES". It is my CHOICE and PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY how I will affect her future thinking and trust toward me. (The good news about this is, even if any of us have failed horribly in the past, we can always now choose to change all that by taking the personal
responsibility TODAY to now choose to instead start "building positive FUTURE PAST-MEMORIES" today! Praise the LORD. We CAN change the future! Hallelujah!)
So, as I explained to the new husband, this is the process of purposefully, and over time, "building positive FUTURE PAST-MEMORIES" in the actions a person takes in the present. That's how the relationship then grows and grows positively, over time, as more and more PAST-MEMORIES are built, providing more and more examples of reasons to be joyful and at peace in the relationship.
That's how TRUST is built.
And so, to answer the new husband's question,
I explained that I knew that I had to first "build positive FUTURE PAST-MEMORIES"
whereby my wife would later know that she could safely and joyously TRUST
in the rightness of my actions. And by my doing that consistently over time
with all gentleness and patience, she then became filled with so many
positive PAST-MEMORIES that she felt totally safe and able to gladly and confidently TRUST
in the depth and sincerity of my love and actions.
Do I ever fail at times? Of course! I am a human after all.
But even then, I can build "positive FUTURE PAST-MEMORIES" out of
a situation where I fail! HUMILITY and REPENTANCE! I can (and do)
turn even my failures into "positive FUTURE PAST-MEMORIES" by the fact
of being humble and repenting. My wife is then left still being
able to TRUST that, even when I fail, even when I err, I will still
be humble about it and she can know I will gladly repent.
Praise the Lord for HUMILITY and REPENTANCE ---what ministries of healing
these two things are! Hallelujah!
Both my wife and I know how imperfect we are and what our failings are. But
we are open about them, and willing to care about the other.† My wife truly
understands how it is that she loves me because I FIRST love her with a
serving, ministering Christ-like love.† Thereby, therefore, my wife is
"caused" to be able to have total
in me.† And that is all because she has firsthand experience and knowledge
(with many, many positive PAST-MEMORIES) in receiving that kind of outward-flowing love, building her up (edifying her),
patiently ministered consistently over time.
The newly married couple (while a bit overwhelmed at receiving all of this understanding all at once! :-) began to understand the principles being
identified. Of course, there are other ministries
which could also have been identified in all this (for example,
the husband's selfless ministry in "blessing" his wife in the marital bed rather than seeing it as
a source for self-gratification). But, those other issues were reserved for another time (and topic).
But the ministries brought to that newly married couple, as offered
to them as counsel out of my own marriage's personal experience were very well received.
Such principles as those of making repentance an actual ministry, of committing not to
wound the one you love, of determining that the man will stop "pounding his chest" and the wife
will not defiantly and purposefully not obey as guided by Scripture,
of taking personal responsibility to "build positive FUTURE PAST-MEMORIES"
as well as most especially,
of gaining deliberate sensitivity to what the other person needs and is really feeling (even seeking to find such things out). Of course, however,
that would not be the only meeting for counselling with that newly married couple, but now, they were on their way to a happy and Godly marriage.
And they were excited about that! Hallelujah!
It is now my fervent prayer that this has also been a blessing for all others who have also had
the opportunity to read this writing hereof, being able to glean whatever necessary principles mentioned for the benefit of their own marriages!
© October 1997, TRUTH BEARER
P.O. Box 765, O.O.B., ME 04064