I recently read an article by a pastor, Ron Edmondson, who wrote, “4 Ways To Help Win Your Husband To Christ.” Here is a link to the article: http://bit.ly/1qAk4ZA
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There were some great practices he encourages, prayer, example, gentle encouragement, and respect. As I was reading the article I was also thinking are these enough? Not that I believe I am more qualified at instructing or that Ron was falling short? I just wanted to push the envelope, I think it is a serious issue that any believer faces when they have a spouse who doesn’t know Christ.
Tuesday morning I was in our men’s study wrestling through the idea of meekness based on some of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s thoughts about Matthew 5:5. It struck me that every marriage would be a better reflection of Jesus if each spouse possessed the qualities found in the Beatitudes.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
I couldn’t help but think about the impact that the beatitudes would have in a marriage if only one spouse knew Jesus. Then I began to think of marriages which are in crisis because of the hardened heart of either one spouse or both. The hope of transformation comes when Jesus takes control and there is a reformation or newness to the manner of attitude controlling the behaviors and actions for each spouse.
Take for instance the issue of meekness, defined as quiet, gentle, easily imposed on, and patient under suffering. If a believing spouse were to employ meekness in their relationship with their spouse there would be a different dynamic to the relationship. Meekness doesn’t demand restitution, it affords gentleness in the midst of hurt for the sake of Christ. Meekness guards against offense and demands for restitution, it initiates forgiveness and reestablishes hope while inspiring peace and kindness. I believe it is a key attitude that paves the way for the fruit of the Spirit to be expressed.
I also believe that meekness speaks to the Lordship of Jesus in one’s life. No longer do we make demands for our sake, instead we acknowledge the Sovereignty of Jesus over all things in our life so that trust and hope reside in Him.
Psalm 10:17-18 says,
O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted (also translated meek);
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.
This psalm identifies the promise of protection afforded to the meek based on the Lordship of God. For a hurting spouse, this becomes an impacting truth because it is different from that of the spouse who demands “justice” to be met. I put justice in quotes because it is often a selfish form of justice that is misinformed by our sinful perspective. Meekness sets our selfish agendas aside unbridling God’s will from our interference.
Go through the remaining Beatitudes and consider how the employment of these qualities could impact a marriage relationship. I certainly believe that the reflection of these things express the transforming power of the gospel and would be used to incredibly to soften the heart of a spouse towards the things of God so that there the teeth of the gospel find grip in their soul to transform them.
So certainly pray, be an example, gently encourage, and respect your spouse. Do all of these with the attitudes that Jesus called his disciples to possess. In Ephesians 1:3 we read, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” The blessings include a variety of things, but most importantly are in Christ. The Holy Spirit is producing in every believer a Christlikeness, and certainly the Beatitudes are an essential part of that blessing in Jesus. So submit to and cooperate with His working in you and for you and for your spouse in your marriage.