Hardly anyone could disagree that hindsight is 20/20. We may still learn our lessons, even without going back and change our errors, as much as we might wish we could.
I made some pretty decent mistakes, in my day. I suppose this is the price for being human. Sure, there has been regret with each and others had lasting consequences. But, one thing that I did was really a catalyst for a couple of the other less-than-wise things I did.
Like many people, I have had my share of dreams and goals. The top of the list was ministry. A church we had once been a part of for a long time, seemed like it was going to be the place to “realize my dream”.
Year, after year. Part of this ministry. Ran that ministry. My wife sang and played keyboard/piano and we were deacon and deaconess. It always seemed like I was getting a step closer here, another step closer there. Unfortunately, it was the proverbial carrot before the horse – I could see it, right in front of me. I just couldn’t touch it.
The pastor of that church, unfortunately, held to some doctrines and attitudes that were not scriptural. He figured he knew God’s will for people. It was his way, or no way. But, I figured this was where God had me.
Looking back, I see the biggest mistake I had made from the start. I was focused on my goal. My dream.
Had I been the husband I should have been, I should have resigned from being a deacon. I should have gotten my family away from that church earlier. But, instead, I was focused on what I felt “called” to.
It didn’t help that I was full of the doctrine that says it is all about the man and that God calls him while his wife dutifully follows and supports him.
That doctrine is inaccurate. It has no real scriptural foundation. It was stuff like this and other things which motivated us to leave that church.
Even after being part of another church and a few years had passed, I still had a shade of my own agenda going on. In time, however, some things came up that gave me a clue.
One day, my wife was very upset with me about some things and pointed out how much I would think of myself. After some discussion, I began to see how my agenda had been an issue for quite some time. After that, I took a closer look at what it is to love my wife. I know I have a long, long way to go, but I am beginning to get it a little more as I go along.
Men, listen up. Ephesians 5:25
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”
Note the emphasis on gave Himself up. That is the part that reveals what love is about. Giving up oneself. We could say, putting oneself aside. Maybe, setting aside ones own agenda.
This is how Christ loved the Church. He set Himself aside to live as one of us. He came to serve and not be served.
He descended. He demoted Himself. He set His own agenda aside…for us.
We want to ascend. We want promotion. We exalt our agendas. We climb the ladder, get the title, win the argument, lead the masses and generally need to be right and in charge.
Love sets me aside.
This DOES NOT mean that we should not have dreams and goals. We need to move forward, get promoted and achieve. What this means is that we don’t place what we want ahead or above of what our wives and families need. We “consider others more highly than ourselves”…in this case, our wives.
Desires should not be so demanded that we drag our wives into something they are not comfortable with, not ready for, or honestly feel we are not ready for.
An old friend had a desire to become a pastor. The pastors in his church shared his desire and worked with him to become a pastor. His wife, however, knew he was not ready to become a pastor…he had a pornography problem. Yet, he became a pastor. After a few years, his pornography problem became a bigger issue and he was taken out of the pastorate.
Why didn’t it matter how his wife felt or what she knew?
It should have mattered.
Too many wives and families have been, essentially, “sacrificed” for the Kingdom. Many men have charged forward in their own desires and interests and their families have suffered for it.
When God calls us or lays something on our hearts, we don’t have to bulldoze anyone we feel is in our way. Our wives are not ordained to be on a leash for us to drag along in our quest. The “two becoming one” does not mean the man is called and she automatically goes along. After all, God was ministering to Sarah as much as He was Abraham.
Husbands, love your wives.
If what we do leaves her behind, forces us to pacify or placate her, ignores or overrides her desires, takes us away from taking care of her needs; if we make our desires a legal demand which puts her in last consideration…then, we need to totally rethink what it is we are doing.
Love. Your. Wives.
I made a mess of some things by not loving my wife as I should. Now, I know, I need to give myself up for her. I wish it was a switch I could turn on, but for me it is a slow process. But, I am getting it, little by little. I often wish I knew then what I know now. This is not possible, so I must believe that God’s grace is sufficient. Of course, if anyone reading this has any tips or suggestions, they would be greatly appreciated by me and perhaps other readers.
Men – husbands – let’s love our wives and put ourselves aside. It is a greater regret and misdeed to neglect your wife than to miss out on some “ministry opportunity”.