Restoring Relationships

Steve Arterburn

Are you living with a strained relationship?  Restoration of human relationships doesn’t happen instantaneously.  If you’ve broken someone’s heart or trust, you have a responsibility to face your failures.  And you also have the tough responsibility of avoiding the urge to blame others for the problems you’ve caused.  It may take some time before you’re able to face up to your failures.  Expect the process of restoration and regaining trust to take time.

The prophet Hosea was a remarkable man.  He was told by God to marry a prostitute.  His marriage was to be a living example to the nation of Israel of her infidelity toward God.  It must have hurt Hosea deeply when his wife returned to her life of prostitution.  Hosea said, ‘Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go and get your wife again.  Bring her back to you and love her, even though she loves adultery.  For the Lord still loves Israel even though the people have turned to other gods, offering them choice gifts”.  Hosea needed some time before he could be close to his wife again, for such deep restoration takes time.

It’s your responsibility to wait patiently while God helps you restore your broken relationships and the hearts you may have broken.  God can give those you’ve hurt love when love has been lost; he can help you trust and become trustworthy again, but these things take time.

Samuel

Steve Arterburn

Samuel was one of the great men of faith and one of the great leaders in Israel’s history.  He served as priest, prophet, and Israel’s last judge.  Look at what the Bible says about him. ‘As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him, and everything Samuel said was wise and helpful.  All the people of Israel from one end of the land to the other knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the Lord’ (1 Samuel 3:19-20).  

But Samuel was human, and he had blind spots.  Samuel appointed his sons as judges in his place.  The problem was that his sons were not the men of character that he was.  Instead, Scripture tells us they ‘were greedy for money.  They accepted bribes and perverted justice.’  The people tried to tell Samuel, but for whatever reason he had a blind spot when it came to his family.  

We often develop blind spots with regard to someone we love and want to protect.  If Samuel had heard the people’s complaints with openness, he may have seen the truth before it was too late.  Then he could have corrected the problem and held his sons accountable for their actions before it was too late.  If others around you are telling you things you don’t want to hear, maybe you should stop and evaluate carefully what’s being said.  

Do you need to be honest about someone in your life’a friend, child, a family member?  Take your blinders off.

God On Divorce

Steve Arterburn

There are two ways to give a command. You can take a positive approach, such as, ‘Follow God!’ Or you can spell out things to avoid, like, ‘Flee the devil.’

 

In Malachi chapter two, God uses both approaches to emphasize the sacredness of marriage. First, in verse 15, it’s stated positively: ‘Guard yourself; remain loyal to the wife of your youth.’ Then, in the very next verse, the same message is put quite another way: ”For I hate divorce!’ says the Lord, the God of Israel.’

 

Why is God so zealous about marriage? One reason among many is that God knows real contentment comes from the deep union of two souls, the kind found only within the security of an exclusive, lifelong commitment between a man and a woman. That’s the way He designed us.

 

Unfortunately, most of us’including me’have seen, or even been in, marriages with little evidence of such oneness. Today, divorce is increasingly common among both Christians and non-Christians alike. But just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s okay. I speak from experience when I say divorce breaks God’s heart.

 

Yes, God can forgive divorce. If He could repeatedly absolve the nation of Israel for its many sins over the centuries, He too can forgive a husband and wife who’ve wrecked their marriage.

 

But guys, make no mistake: God would much rather see your commitments kept, commitments made before God and witnesses at your marriage ceremony. He’d like to see your loyalty honored, and the spiritual oneness between you and your wife kept sacred. Strive for it!