Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The last five questions on marriage, singleness & parenting

Over the last few weeks we have been working our way through the questions asked at the Marriage Q&A on November 13th.  Here’s the last five:

1.    If your husband or wife has an affair should you forgive them?
This is an extremely difficult reality and I would urge you, if this is your situation to come and speak to me.  Marriage is built on forgiveness and change (what the Bible calls repentance).  There is a constant, ongoing offering and these two things in a maturing marriage.  I know many marriage that, with Jesus’ help and hardwork, recover from adultery.  It doesn’t automatically mean the end of the marriage.  Yet, at the same time the Bible understands sometimes marriage become so corrupt or unsafe or damaging they no longer can reflect the beauty of God (marriage’s main design), and separating is appropriate.  Whatever the ultimate destiny of a marriage when adultery has happened, the ability to forgive is very healing and restorative and something to seek overtime.  But it won’t happen immediately or easily.  Please come and speak to me.

2.    I’ve really found the talk on being a wife and a women so inspiring.  I want to be that strong, fearlessness women.  Can we have more teaching about being women of God, and men of God too?
It is great to hear this.  We tend to work through books of the Bible in the order they are, trusting this puts God’s agenda front and centre and cover the full range of arenas God wants us to understand him and follow him in.  Having said that, yes I think you are right that understanding being women or men of God would be important areas to explore.  I’ll look into it.

3.    As a mother with a boy I found it really helpful to understand what a Christ-like man is like and to avoid consumer or cowardly men.  But what sort of things can I do to help my son grow up to be that kind of man? 
There are many answers to this.  Two spring straight to my mind (as a father of boys myself).

One is to find and give him people to imitate.  He will naturally have heroes – put good heroes before him.  Men (dead ones through biographies but especially living ones) who love Jesus and are courageous for Jesus.  Find boys or men five years older and twenty years older and put your son into their circle of influence.  Paul writes ‘keep your eyes on those who live up to Jesus’ (Philippians 3:16-17).  Make these your son’s heroes over and above consumer or cowardly celebrities or TV characters.

Secondly let me try.  Tell him he has strengths (whatever they are) and then let him be responsible for something.  Make it matter.  Make it important.  Make it risky.  But be there to stop it all going wrong.  But don’t bubble-wrap or pander or make it safe.  Risk is good.  Real risk even better.  Timothy was perhaps 14 when Paul took him into dangers way to plant churches (Acts 16:1-2).

4.     As a (happily) single women I wasn’t going to come this week (knowing it was going to be about married men!) but found it the most inspiring service and spoke right into my life.  And I just wanted to ask about what you said about singleness being both a gift and a grief, and what kind of gift is singleness?
I think Paul has particularly in mind the gift of not being responsible for someone else and the worry and strain that can have.  From talking to single people, the gifts of singleness (which are lost when married and with children) include more money, more time, more energy, more friends, more opportunities to serve than you would have if you were marriage and/or had children.

5.    What does it mean for a husband to serve his wife?  How are husband’s meant to love their wives?
So in Ephesians 5 three times husbands are called to love their wives.  Each is a slightly different view of the same sacrificial, action-oriented, selfless provision, protection and care for your wife.  Here’s the verses:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…’ (25)
‘In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.’  (28)

…each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself…’ (33)

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