ADDENDUM

A couple of posts ago I talked about how I realized that I am all the things 1 Corinthians 13 says that love is not – I envy and boast, I am arrogant and rude, I insist on my own way, I am irritable and resentful. 

Yesterday it came much more clear: in light of what Jesus said are the two greatest commandments, I am not just failing to love – I am in sin!

I know most of you are saying, “Well, duh!” but I don’t think I have ever looked at it that way before. It is sin just as much as adultery and gluttony and lying and all the others that seem so obvious. In fact, if I am honest, it should be considered the greatest sin since it directly breaks the greatest commandment – to love God, and the second to love my neighbor. 

I confess (agree with God that I am in sin) and repent (turn away from my sin), and purpose to live a new life by the power of the Holy Spirit!

George

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BROKEN? I DON’T THINK SO

“…love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or proud. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful.” 1 Corinthians 13:4,5 ESV

Last Sunday, August 23, 2015, I came face to face with how little I really love God and my wife and family.

As I told some of my close friends, when confronted with how poorly I have been treating my daughter…

“Instead of humbling myself and letting the Holy Spirit rule my tongue, I spoke completely in the flesh and spewed a lot of venom at [my daughter] and [my wife]. All my pent-up selfishness and resentment and blaming others and all kinds of junk came forth. Wagging my finger at [my wife] and telling her it’s her fault I’m shut down emotionally. Telling [my daughter] she’s irresponsible and lazy and making her feel worthless. A comment [my daughter] had for me later was “I feel like you destroyed the part of me that for so long has been your little girl.” [My wife] said for the first time in all our marriage regret entered her mind and heart.

I don’t know if our relationship will recover. The only hope is for me to truly love God, and then [my wife] and my family. I am lazy, and I don’t pursue God. I don’t do the hard things. But I have to change that.”

So, am I a broken man? I guess, in the area of sexual immorality, I have brokenness in that I allow the Holy Spirit to rule over my flesh in that area when temptation comes along.

How about the verses above?

I certainly envy and boast a lot. I can’t let one of my kids be the center of attention – I have to come up with something from my distant past to prove that I am at least as good or as cool. I can’t just praise them.

Arrogant? Definitely! Rude? Certainly! I talk down to my wife, children, co-workers, just about everyone. Not consciously most of the time, though I can be cruel in doing so when I get going.

I insist on my own way often, usually through passive-aggressive means, whether at home or work. I pout, or put on the martyred look.

Irritable? Always! Especially when I get pushed to do something I don’t want to do, or when my direction is suddenly changed by other needs (unless I get to jump in and be a hero, which stokes my ego).

Resentful? I gave my wife and older children an earful of how resentful I am that I have put in so much hard work over the years to give them everything they want, only to receive ungratefulness in return. What a joke! The main thing they really wanted was ME, being engaged in their lives and eing there for them instead of running off to serve everyone else, since it is easier and more gratifying to serve outside the home, in a way more people will see.

My wife says she wants me to BE, not to DO. To BE a man of God, a man in love with God. I can see so clearly how I have failed.

Time to CHANGE!

WIT ALIVE!

WIT Alive! is coming, June 5 in Tampa and July 10 in Indianapolis:

WIT ALIVE Singles Conference Overview

A Life-Changing Conference for Singles!

During the past several years, Paul and Jenny have had the joy of speaking to thousands of young people across America. They have watched as many of these same young people find “Mr.” or “Miss Perfect”, but are soon sitting before them in tears, disbelief, and hurt. They are searching for answers to issues they are facing in their marriage that they never expected to encounter. As the Speeds began to counsel these young couples, they thought of how much heartache and damage could have been avoided if only these couples had learned certain truths BEFORE they married and not after. Thus, the idea of “WIT for Singles” was born!

“Whatever It Takes!” Singles Conference promises to be a life-changing, world-altering weekend! We will dig deep into our hearts and souls to expose all the hidden lies and strongholds that have kept us from becoming the person God has created us to be. The goal of this conference is to help you identify the areas of your life that need God’s wisdom and understanding applied to them. Not only will it prepare you for marriage, but it will prepare you for Life! You, by the grace of God, will never be the same!

Conference topics include:

  • Love God, Live Life!
  • Openness and brokenness
  • Exposing lies that shape your thinking
  • So, who is your “real” enemy?
  • How to throw your bags overboard!
  • Hanging on when you should be letting go!
  • Moral purity in an immoral world
  • How do you find Mr. or Mrs. Right when everything is wrong?
  • …and much more!

Attendees must be 17 years of age or older.

Florida Registration

Indianapolis Registration

Paul & Jenny studio one to oneSince 2005, Paul and Jenny Speed have had the joy of speaking to thousands of young people across America. They have helped many of these young people find freedom in their lives and a deeper love for God. The Speeds hearts’ desire is to equip young people by giving them the tools they need to walk in freedom and truth, and to empower them to be world changers! Out of this desire “WIT for Singles” was born!

Testimonies:

“I came here blaming so many people for my anger and bitterness and now realize my need for personal responsibility. I have realized that the very people I have blamed are the ones I need to ask forgiveness from.”

“I was blown away by the honesty! I expected to meet all these “perfect” people who were holier than thou and was surprised to see people being so real and transparent.”

“I came here knowing that there were things in my life that I needed to take care of.  I’m ready to go home and confess.  I hate my sin!”

“Praise Jesus for all the ways I have found freedom and growth through this weekend.”

“I have learned this week that I must be 100% open and broken to have victory. WIT has changed my life forever! You guys rock!”

“Thank you for investing in my sons this past weekend. You guys are awesome!!!
All three were so grateful to have a place to go where Christ is glorified and practical help in solving sin issues was the norm. Thank you so much for being real and relatable.”

“I want to thank you for sacrificing your time and energy to do the singles conference! My life truly has changed from living in bondage of fear and unbelief which was the root of a lot of other sin in my life. I am AMAZED over and over at God’s amazing grace and how ‘my chains are gone and I’m set free. My God my God He ransomed me, and like a flood His mercies reigns, unending love, AMAZING grace! He is Forever mine!!!!’”

“I just wanted to say THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!! I attended the Singles Conference this past weekend and was blessed VERY much by it. :) It was definitely life-changing!”

“This weekend was way more than I expected. God showed me so much about how to identify and break the chains of bondage and lies. It was a HUGE encouragement to meet other singles my age who share the same beliefs and values regarding Christ and relationships! Sometimes it feels like I’m the only one, but now I know there are many more of like faith and we are continuing to keep in touch and support each other. Thank you, Paul and Jenny, for teaching us so much and bringing us together!

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

BROKENNESS IS ALL ABOUT ME

We were studying Romans Chapter 2 the other day, which led back to Matthew 7:1-5…

Matthew 7:1-5 (HCSB)
1 “Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged.
2 For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye?
4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye?
5 Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

It struck me once again how God (Jesus in this case) concentrates so strongly on getting my relationship right first. I have to own up to the fact that if my own relationship with Him is not right, I have no business trying to condescendingly tell my wife, my children, my pastor, my counselor, my Christian friends, my non-Christian friends (in short, anyone) what they are doing wrong and what they need to change.

How can I possibly think that I have the right to demand someone else treat me with more respect, or forgive me better, or stop harping on the wrongs I have committed in the past, or “forgive and forget” when I still have so much sin in my own life?

What’s that, you say? I quit that sin, so I deserve a clean slate and better treatment? No, my friend, no!

Romans 2:3 (HCSB)
3 Do you really think—anyone of you who judges those who do such things yet do the same—that you will escape God’s judgment?

1 John 1:8-10 (HCSB)
8 If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say, “We don’t have any sin,” we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

Brokenness begins with me, with my confession to God and to those whom I have offended. Confession not just in the sense of spilling my guts, coming clean, and dumping all my garbage on someone else so I feel relieved of the burden, but the true meaning of confession: agreeing with God about the true nature of what I have done, agreeing that it is sin, and acknowledging how I have broken fellowship with Him and others.

Without true confession, true openness, there can be no true brokenness, and thus no fellowship with God or my wife or anyone else.

1 John 1:6-7 (HCSB)
6 If we say, “We have fellowship with Him,” yet we walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth.
7 But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Think about it. Pray about it. Do something about it.

Peace,

George