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! 

Relating to Competent Women

Steve Arterburn

There’s something built in to us men that wants to say, ‘I know the way!’ And I’m not just talking about driving directions. I’m talking about the way through life. So, when a man encounters a woman who seems to know the way all by herself’if she’s successful and ultra-competent’it literally can scare him. It can tempt him to pull back and say, ‘Whoa’who, or what, is this?’ When in the presence of a woman who is already successful in life, a man can be tempted to feel like he has no place, like he’s simply not needed. Have you ever felt like that?

If you meet, live, or work with a woman who doesn’t seem to need your strength, protection, or provision, you can be tempted to feel useless. Where do these feelings come from? Man was created to live in a perfect world, to know the way through life and to provide strength for the woman that was his co-partner in life. In addition, there would be things the woman was created to contribute to the relationship. Together, they would complement one another. They would both be successful without a trace of intimidation.

But we don’t live in a perfect world. Yet we men still ‘feel’ those hardwired preferences and inclinations. The challenge then, men, is to learn to manage yourself appropriately in an imperfect world. Guard feelings of intimidation. Join forces with the successful women in your life. You’ll be better together!

Portrait Of A Son

Steve Arterburn

There once lived a wealthy widower who shared a passion for collecting art with his beloved son. Priceless works adorned the family estate.

Then war interrupted. The son enlisted, and after only a few weeks, the father’s worst fears were realized: his son was killed in action.

Months later the bereaved old man was awakened by a visitor. “I was a friend of your son,’ said the stranger at the door, ‘He was rescuing me when he died. I have something to show you.”

The package contained a portrait of the man’s son! It wasn’t a masterpiece, but precious nonetheless. The old man was overcome with emotion and gratitude.

When the old man died, his paintings were slated for auction. The event began with a painting that wasn’t on the docket, the painting of the man’s son.

Bidding opened at $100. Silence. ‘Who cares about that painting?’ someone cried, ‘Let’s get to the good stuff.” Voices clamored in agreement.

Finally, an elderly gentleman asked, “Will you take $10? That’s all I have but I know the lad and would love to have the portrait.” After more silence, the auctioneer said, “Going once, going twice. Gone.”

Then to everyone’s surprise, the auctioneer closed the auction! Stunned disbelief filled the room. “What do you mean?’ voices demanded, ‘There’s still millions of dollars of art here!”

The auctioneer replied, “Simple. According to the will of the father, whoever takes his son gets it all.’

Men, behold the glory of the gospel: whosoever takes the Son in faith receives all the Father’s benefits!