Sister to Sister: The Destruction of the Family Next Door

Well, I’ve talked to a lot of people who have been a part of the agony, after the fact, but, thankfully I’ve never been privy to the dialog itself…until a recent hotel stay in another state. Glenn and I were staying next door to a couple whose marriage was forever changed. The conversation I didn’t want to be overhearing was excruciating for me, just lying there in the darkness in the middle of the night. But I can only imagine the depth of pain in the room next door. I could only guess the wording of the woman’s side of the conversation, for she spoke in hushed tones that resembled the sounds you might hear around a hospital bed as the life of your loved one ebbs away. And, in fact, it was the life of the marriage itself that was likely passing in the hotel room next door.

Husband (in a very deep and determined bass voice): No! You know better than that. We’ll see how it really was.Wife responds in hushed tones.

Husband: You know that’s a lie. It was your boyfriend. We’ll see. It’s all coming out now.

Wife again responds.

Husband: We’ll see.

Wife responds.

Husband: Well, we’ll just see, won’t we? I don’t believe that for a minute. You said you couldn’t even walk to the second floor, so how do you expect me to believe that story? How, Donna?

Wife responds.

Husband: Well, I guess we’ll know soon. We’ll see.

At this point, my heating system came on and muffled the noises coming from the next room. Thankful for the respite from the awful crash of a falling marriage next door, for the warmth, not just of the heating system, but of the contented and godly Christian man who lay sleeping peacefully beside me, the few quiet moments of the night were welcomed intervals of relief. But then the system would kick off and, again, the agony on the other side of the wall was apparent.

Husband (By now his voice was not as deep and there was weeping between his words.): Oh  Donna! Just tell me why? Why? Why were you willing to throw it all away like this? Why?

Wife responds.

Husband: But can you tell me why? What is it? What was wrong? Did I somehow do something to cause this? Why…a thousand times, Why?

Wife responds.

Husband: (speaking quietly, but gravely): No. I’m not going anywhere. This is my home. These are my kids.

Wife responds.

Husband: No! I tell you I am not leaving. I am not going anywhere. I did not make this mess.

Wife responds.

Husband: But I AM thinking of Lizzie. I’m thinking of Josh and I’m thinking of  Jessie. They are mine, too. I’m not leaving. But if you could just tell me why. Why? Why, Donna?!

I guess the heat came on again, because the next morning when I was awakened by Glenn’s alarm to summons us to hurry and get up and ready to go finish up a marriage seminar in this particular town, I, too, was still wondering why? Why do people throw it all away? It made me want to linger there in that bed with his arms around me for a few more minutes. It made me want to spend a few more minutes in thankfulness to God that day; for Glenn, for the Word that blesses us with sanctification in our marriage, for our children and for our happiness. It really just made me want to never, ever see a night like the people in the room next door had just endured.

But it also made me understand the exception of Matthew 19: 9…you know, the “except it be for fornication” part. God understands the pain of marital unfaithfulness. God knows the full extent of the damage done by Donna. He understands the depth of that cry: “Why?!” (Read the book of Hosea and understand with me the hurt of spiritual adultery against the One who has chosen us.)

I pray the alarm will go off in Donna’s room, too. Perhaps she will hear the wake-up call, before it’s too late. Perhaps her three children will never have to know the sorrow that comes in the wake of divorce. Glenn and I checked out of the hotel shortly thereafter. We left, at the hotel desk, a complimentary copy of our book about God-centered marriage with our contact info, for the couple next door. But I left determined to teach a little more passionately that day, to love a little more deeply and to thank God a little more frequently for the amazing blessings of marriage with Him at the center.

Digging Deep in God’s Word

Digging Deep in God’s Word is a Bible study for women by women.

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Sister to Sister: Peace and Silence… NOT the Same Thing

brigitteIf you haven’t seen the following video, you should watch. Brigitte Gabriel’s  point is well articulated and her logic is irrefutable. Radicals are the movers in society. The peaceful majority within any movement which contains a violent element quickly becomes very irrelevant.

As I think about her statements about Russia, Nazi Germany, Japan and China, I strongly agree with her logic  If the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful and opposed to terrorism, why are they (the peaceful majority) not rising up against their own people, in the name of peace, to save innocent lives?  At the very least, they should be publicly descrying the frequent ongoing attacks by Muslim terrorists around the world. But such a public outcry by peaceful Muslims is rarely occurring. In its silence, the majority has become irrelevant. The radicals…the killers…are the ones who are making a tragic difference in the world today.

Have you ever thought about the fact that the “peaceful majority” of God’s people can, with its silence, become irrelevant? I am not suggesting that we should be a violent people as we oppose sin in the world around us. I am suggesting that we must be doing spiritual battle all the time. Paul said as much in Ephesians 6:10-12.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

We must never be satisfied to be silent as the devil seeks to destroy our families and congregations. We become irrelevant to the lost people around us if we fail to stand up and be counted for truth and righteousness. It is not enough to just “think” that the world around us is becoming more vile; to be sad in our hearts that our culture is given over to immorality. We must continue to speak the world-changing message of the gospel even when it is vehemently opposed by a segment of our society. We have to continue to say that homosexuality is vile affection (Romans 1), that those who are have left their spouses for reasons other than fornication and have remarried are living in adultery (Matthew 19), that abortion is murder, that Jesus Christ is the exclusive way to the Father (John 14), that faithfulness to God involves faithfulness to His church, and that there are indeed New Testament laws (absolute requirements) regulating worship and daily living for those in that church.

Bottom line: Being peaceful and being silent are two very different things. I can believe all the right things, but become irrelevant in the battle for holiness in my community and in my congregation if I am not willing to speak truth at every opportunity to my sisters and friends. If I know truth, but I am afraid to post, speak, write, tweet, and/or text truth, then I, by default, contribute to the victories of evil. Granted, there are varying degrees of opportunity for God’s women. But all of us have some venues in which we can and should be, peacefully but vocally, standing for truth, whether in a blog or simply in a conversation with a friend who is straddling a politically correct fence.

The relative silence of 2.3 million Muslim people living in the United States when 19 radical Muslim hijackers destroyed the World Trade Center, attacked the Pentagon and took the lives of 2,996 people is still deafening.

Let us be peaceful, but let us NOT be silent.

Sister to Sister: It Doesn’t Really Matter What I Think about Fourth Avenue

In light of a widely read and watched article and video from Franklin, TN in the past few days about a young woman taking a position as a preaching intern, I just want to make a few concise statements this morning… Not that it matters what I say… at all. I guess that’s the point.

1. Having a talent doesn’t give me license to do whatever I feel will glorify God in worship or service with with that talent. Korah, Dathan and Abiram obviously had leadership skills and talents. They rallied Israel behind them. But God was sorely displeased with their attempts at challenging his system. In fact his earth opened up and swallowed them (Numbers 16).
2. It doesn’t matter how many people are accepting of a proposition or position or how revered those people are. Widespread acceptance doesn’t make something pleasing to God. In our present culture, I should not even have to cite an example for this premise, but the book of Malachi as well as numerous others should suffice.
3. We do not “interpret Christ through Paul” or visa versa. Every word in the text is from the same author, The Holy Spirit of God. Jesus, himself, was insistent on that truth (Matthew 4:4). To disparage ANY of His words, whether written through Paul or Christ is to blaspheme Him.
4. Jesus never taught anything that conflicts with any teaching of Paul. There is no need to interpret either through the other to determine the role of women in the church. Their teachings are not contradictory.
5. The teaching of the Holy Spirit through Paul In I Timothy 2 is tied, in the text, to creation (verse 12-14); not to any particular culture.
6. Having a feeling of “peace” is not the way we figure out whether what we are doing is pleasing to God. Saul was very much “at peace” with holding the coats of those who were stoning Stephen and imprisoning Christians in the name of God (Acts 23:1).
7. Sometimes wolves look gentle and docile…like sheep (Matthew 7:15).
8. Just because there is a movement in a body does not mean the Hand of God is orchestrating that movement. It is possible that movement is “REmoval (emphasis mine, CC) to another gospel” (Galatians 1:6,7). Movement can be perversion.
9. Just because this young woman has made this public step does not mean that her heart is vile, hardened, or impure. Perhaps she can reason through this using Scripture and begin again. She has much influence to offer. Imagine what she can do in divinely ordered channels! I am going to try to contact her and make a prayerful attempt.
10. Perhaps the most comforting thing about this whole scenario is the wisdom of the God we serve in making the congregations of the body autonomous. Just because unscriptural decisions and practices are affecting the body in a nearby community does not mean they must affect the congregation in which I worship Him. I praise Him for that divine insulation.
11. Just because a sign in front of the building may say “Church of Christ” does not necessarily mean that the body of people who meet inside really are part of the body for which He died. At some point, when people digress in faithfulness, the “candlestick” is divinely removed. We know this from Revelation 2. Though we know that for many years the denominational world at large has scorned the teaching of I Timothy 2 as it relates to the role of women in worship, our consternation in the past few days has been because this is a congregation called the church of Christ. God knows whether the candlestick is in place. He always gets that right. A sign, a place in a directory, a nomenclature on a website or Facebook page, or a link to a Christian university or publication does not, of course, determine true identity.
12. Respecting diverse choices about worship is not a Biblical concept. In fact, respecting each other is not what worship is about. Worship has never been about what I. or others, might choose. If I may use Lauren’s illustration, Abraham would never have chosen to worship in the way God prescribed in Genesis 22. The worship he offered was a total rejection of what he would have preferred and of the “talents” he would have seen as valuable or instrumental to God’s purposes. It was the WORD of God that directed his offering; not his own talents or abilities. It is the WORD that should direct us to selflessly submit, respecting HIM.