Positive Pain

Steve Arterburn

Sometimes forgiveness involves pain. When we confront people regarding betrayal, abandonment, abuse, deception, or other offenses, we’ll likely experience sorrow. We need to accept this as part of the consequences of sin and learn to freely express it to God. He can transform the pain associated with wrongdoing and bring about good for everyone involved.

Remember men: not all sorrow is bad for you. The apostle Paul wrote a letter to the church at Corinth that made them sad because he confronted them about wrongdoing. He initially regretted hurting them. But after reflection he wrote these words, which you can find in 2 Corinthians 7:9-10: ‘Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to have remorse and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed’in any way. For God can use sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from sin and seek salvation. We will never regret that kind of sorrow.’

The grief Paul described was good. It was caused by his love for others in action, and accessed in light of honest self-evaluation. Like Paul, we too must learn that sometimes sorrow is a positive part of our spiritual growth. So when you’re confronted with it, don’t run from it and don’t reject it. Enter into it asking God to use it to direct the course of your life along redemptive paths.

Choosing Friends Wisely

Steve Arterburn

Men, the company we keep makes a big difference between whether we move forward in spiritual maturity or backslide into sin. Paul tells us in I Corinthians 15:33, ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’ Never consider yourself too strong to heed the apostle’s warning.

 

The book of Proverbs, on the other hand, offers this wisdom for skillful living: ‘As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.’ Wood doesn’t sharpen iron; neither does stone. When it comes to intimate friendships, men, like needs like. So with this in mind, you ought to be spending time with people who will sharpen your thinking, support you with prayer, and encourage you with their character.

Friends who live their lives without self-pity and bitterness can nurture your growth. Although it can be good to get input from people who struggle with the same temptations you do, try to spend time with people who have a history of struggling honestly, faithfully, and redemptively with these issues. Whiners, pessimists, complainers, and people with hopeless indifference simply don’t make good friends.

Guys, we all need other people. But none of us need people who will drag us in a direction that goes against God’s high calling upon our lives. We need other men who will encourage us, confront us, and continually nudge us in the right direction. Choose friends like these, and you’ll be choosing your friends wisely. 

Respect

Steve Arterburn

Everyone knows Rodney Dangerfield got no respect. His twin brother forgot his birthday, and his bank offered him a gift if he’d close his account!

 

Can you relate? Men’especially married men’often feel their need for respect has somehow gotten lost amidst the world’s preoccupation with love. It’s not that men are against love. It’s rather that they perceive it differently than women. For a man, love is spelled r-e-s-p-e-c-t. They usually express and receive love via respect. And that’s something women often miss.

We men, however, are guilty of forgetting the flip side of this coin. We prefer to mope around doing Rodney Dangerfield impersonations, taking solace that our friends are equally disrespected. But the truth is there may be a good reason why we’re missing out on respect from our wives: maybe we’re not loving them well!

‘Husbands, love your wives’ is a repeated instruction that the apostle Paul gives us in the book of Ephesians. It isn’t rocket science. To get respect requires giving love. And whether you’re single, a newlywed, or married forty years, loving that special someone involves a universal yet entirely unique ingredient: loving her the way she wants to be loved.

Don’t do the typical ‘man’ thing and toss out generic signs of affection. Discover’or in the case of you relationship veterans, remind yourselves’what things matter most to her, and what she appreciates receiving from you the most.