BROKENNESS AND ARGUMENTS

Sometimes I listen to NPR. Not often.

Recently I heard the re-run of an old episode of Radio Lab which talks about what happens in our autonomic nervous system when husbands and wives argue. You can listen to the episode here starting at 10:30 and ending at 14:30. It contains a re-creation of an argument attributed to Robert Sapolksy and his wife, and illustrates how a man will ramp up and then shut down fairly quickly, but his wife continues to be agitated much longer and starts to bring up past offenses. Sapolsky calls it the “half-life of the autonomic nervous system”.

The main reason I find this episode interesting is that I shared it with my wife, and she agreed with what Sapolsky describes. She carried it further, however, and applied it to brokenness and humility in our relationship.

She said that when we argue, and she starts to spiral into the past hurts I have caused in our relationship, if I acknowledge and take responsibility for those hurts it defuses her anger much more quickly – mainly because she sees that I have heard her heart, and I am not defending myself. As it says in Proverbs:

A gentle answer turns away anger,  but a harsh word stirs up wrath. Proverbs 15:1

I have talked to several men recently who have asked questions along the lines of: “What does brokenness look like when my wife accuses me of something and I haven’t really done it?”

My answer is two-fold:

First, I encourage taking a deep look at the accusation; many times it is at least partially true. In that case, take responsibility, ask forgiveness, and make sure there is not something more underlying the accusation. Don’t rear up and throw back an accusation in return – that will not help!

Second, I encourage looking at the big picture. Let’s say that my wife is upset, and tells me that I never do the preventive maintenance needed around the house. (for the record – I don’t keep things up like I should) Let’s pretend that I think I do a good job of maintaining the house – how should I respond? As some men have asked, “Do I grovel and ask her forgiveness for something I haven’t done? Is that what you mean by brokenness?” No, that’s not brokenness – that’s false humility which is just seeking to get my wife off my back. Instead, I need to look beyond the surface accusation and see the deep hurt that my wife feels from years of my failing to maintain a good relationship in our marriage. I can honestly look her in the eye, take her hand, and say something like, “Marla Rei, I know that I’ve hurt you deeply by failing to listen to your heart over the years, and not doing everything possible to build up our marriage. It’s my fault that you have this fear of things falling apart, whether it is the house or the car or whatever. What can I do to ease your fear, and to heal our relationship?”

Maybe it sounds corny, but I assure you it has probably the main thing which has helped my wife to trust me again, and brought healing to our marriage. I guess my main message is, when your wife is hurting you need to find the best way to take responsibility for her hurt, shoulder the burden, give a gentle answer, and keep working your way toward having a marriage which glorifies God.

The grace and peace of God and our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

George

THIS IS NOT BROKENNESS

Psalm 36:1-4 (HCSB)
1 An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked person: There is no dread of God before his eyes,
2  for in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to discover and hate his sin.
3 The words of his mouth are malicious and deceptive; he has stopped acting wisely and doing good.
4 Even on his bed he makes malicious plans. He sets himself on a path that is not good and does not reject evil.

This passage is key in my own journey toward Christian brokenness. Not only have I had to discover my sin by admitting it is sin (masturbation, gluttony, misuse of money, deceitfulness), but I also have to learn to hate my sin. Until I have done both of those things, I cannot break free from bondage to my sin, and I cannot set my family free from the effects my sin brings into the home.

I cannot lie – I still have areas where I have not learned to fully hate my sin. I don’t hate gluttony enough. I don’t hate my lifestyle of living in debt enough to pursue being debt-free with gazelle-like intensity (Proverbs 6:5). I am still malicious and deceptive in my speech, even though I try very hard not to be. It takes a long time to change habits that developed over 40 years.

The main point is, I can’t give up! At least, not if I still claim to be a Christian, seeking after God, becoming more like Jesus each day.

It is not easy, but you can do it! I can do it! By the power of God’s Holy Spirit, and the Blood of the Lamb! Openness and Brokenness! For God’s glory!

And they overcame him by the Blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death. – Revelation 12:11

Under His Blood,

George

BROKENNESS & MARRIAGE INTENSIVE

Upcoming Marriage Intensive

March 6 – 9, 2014
Indianapolis, IN

Whatever It Takes’ 3 night “Intensive” is not like your typical Christian marriage conference. It is an intensive weekend dealing with root causes and exposing the issues that are destroying our marriages and lives.

Couples participating in a WIT Intensive may be dealing with a range of issues. Some may not be exactly aware of what their problem is, but they know something is blocking them from oneness. While other couples may be dealing with anger, bitterness, unresolved hurts, pornography, or the revelation of sexual infidelity in marriage. Whatever the situation, we know God has the answer to healing and freedom. Over the last eight years, we at WIT Ministries have seen God take marriages that were “dead and buried,” and literally breathe life back into them!
If you or another couple you know is struggling in marriage, then we encourage you to consider a WIT Intensive weekend.

Whatever your reason to attend, we know God will meet you/them in a personal and powerful way, and give answers for life and your hurting relationships.

What To Expect:

During the weekend, Paul & Jenny will address many issues. To help you process the information personally, you will have the opportunity to participate in round table discussions with other couples through the assistance of a WIT Coach couple. Each coaching couple will have no more than 3 couples for the weekend which allows for sufficient two-on-two time with you and your WIT Coaches.
If needed and time allows, you may also schedule a personal session with the Speeds during the weekend.
Click Here for More Information

Copyright © 2014 WIT Ministries, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

WIT Ministries

10222 Meadow Crossing Drive

Tampa, FL 33647

 

BROKENNESS VS. SELFISHNESS

I am selfish, self-centered, self-sufficient, and lazy. None of these character qualities lends itself to brokenness. It is always amazing to me that my wife continues to stand by me, continues to love me, continues to forgive me!

It is all too easy for me to take my eyes off myself and start thinking, “Why am I always the one who has to be wrong? It seems like I am doing all of the apologizing. I thought this relationship was supposed to be equal participation, both giving 100 percent!” Then come the whisperings of our one true enemy, Satan…”You know she doesn’t really love you. She just wants you to fulfill her every desire – you’ll never be good enough.”

Is it really true? Are we both supposed to give 100 percent? Yes! However, is my behavior predicated on my wife doing her part, and am I relieved of my responsibility if my carnal flesh says she doesn’t? Not if I truly love God and love my wife like Christ loves the Church! (Note that I know my wife loves me and honors me, and that she fully gives 100 percent to our marriage. I am the one giving less, and the log in my own eye is what I see projected onto her)

Ephesians 5:28-33 (HCSB)
28 In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
29 For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church,
30 since we are members of His body.
31 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.
32 This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church.
33 To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.

When I really think about it, I have to look at Jesus Christ during the hours before His crucifixion. He was beaten, the flesh ripped off his bones, ridiculed, vilified, and hung on a cross. At any point during He could have looked around and said, “Forget it! If you’re not going to love me and treat me with respect, I’m not going through with it! You can figure out how to appease God’s wrath on your own, you ungrateful wretches!”

Jesus didn’t give up on His bride. Instead:

Romans 5:6-11 (HCSB)
6 For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die.
8 But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!
9 Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath.
10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, ⌊then how⌋ much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life!
11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have now received this reconciliation through Him.

Praise God! How can I, who profess to be a Christian (a “little Christ”), strive to do any less? I am weak, and sinful, and overly ruled by my flesh, but I also have the unlimited power of God’s Holy Spirit living in me! Halleluiah!

So, brothers, never give up the fight. Don’t sit there, staring into your navel, wishing things were better or different. Get up and fight! Love with all God’s strength! Unite with your wife against your common enemy! God will be glorified if you do!

Peace,

George

NANCY LEIGH DeMOSS ON BROKENNESS

Here is a great section on Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ website

“Brokenness is perhaps a word that you’re not very familiar with – but know that brokenness is very near to the heart of God. “True brokenness” says Nancy, “is an ongoing constant way of life. Brokenness is the shattering of my self-will, and the absolute surrender of my will to the will of God” (Brokenness, pg. 53). Pride, so often, is the opposite reflection of brokenness.”

Truth. Lots of it.

George

BROKENNESS IS…TRUSTING GOD

These verses gave me a lot of comfort today:

In You, O Lord, I put my trust; Let me never be ashamed; Deliver me in Your righteousness. Bow down Your ear to me, Deliver me speedily; Be my rock of refuge, A fortress of defense to save me. For You are my rock and my fortress; Therefore, for Your name’s sake, Lead me and guide me. Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me, For You are my strength. Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth. (Psalms 31:1-5 NKJV)

I was reminded that a huge part of brokenness, choosing to obey God’s will rather than my own will, is trusting Him!

May you be encouraged, as I am,

George