Posts tagged ‘Wife’

ABC Extra – Hey, Jealousy!

One of the things I’ve always wished for is more hand-eye coordination.  From the time I was a child, I have never been particularly adept at doing anything that required my hands and eyes to work coordinately.  This comes out especially in the arena of sports.  A baseball – I cannot hit it.  A basketball – I cannot dribble it.  A football – I cannot catch it.  This is why, to stay fit, I run and lift weights.  There is no hand eye coordination required.

I have always marveled at those who could crush a baseball or swish a basketball or catch a football.  After all, these athletes can do things I could never hope to do.  Honestly, I am more than a little jealous of some of these folks.

Jealousy is a strange emotion.  We usually think of jealousy as a strident yearning of the heart after something someone else has.  We can be jealous of someone else’s talent.  Or we can be jealous of someone else’s wealth.  We can even be jealous of someone else’s piety – his self-control, her gentle spirit, his ability to be content rather than jealous!

In the Bible, the word “jealousy” has both a positive and a negative use.  In its negative sense, it describes “envy.”  Solomon warns, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones” (Proverbs 14:30).  In its positive sense, jealousy describes “zeal.”  As Isaiah famously prophesies concerning the birth of the Messiah: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this” (Isaiah 9:6-7).  So what is the difference between sinful envy and holy zeal?  Envy is jealousy of someone while zeal is jealousy for someone.

Envy sees something someone else has and says, “I want it,” and either seethes with resentment because what is desired cannot be had, or uses dishonest or even diabolical means to attain what is desired.  King Ahab is the poster child for this kind of jealousy.  When the king tries to cut a deal with one of his subjects, Naboth, to purchase from him a vineyard, Naboth refuses.  When he is turned down, the story says Ahab “lay on his bed sulking” (1 Kings 21:5).  So Ahab hatches a plan.  He has Naboth stoned and commandeers his vineyard.  Ahab’s envy knows no bounds.

Zeal, on the other hand, is a deep desire and affection for something with which God has entrusted you.  As such, you are jealous for it, desiring to protect it and keep it from harm.  In Numbers 5, the law speaks of the jealousy a man has for his wife.  And indeed, a man should be jealous for his wife.  For God has given a man a great gift in a wife – and he should honor and protect her.  As Solomon says, “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22).

Jealousy is not all bad.  When God prohibits all forms of idolatry in the First Commandment, He explains His reasoning thusly:  “I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep My commandments” (Exodus 20:5-6).  God is jealous for us.  Beautifully, this simply means He loves us.

What kind of jealousy marks your life – jealousy for someone or jealousy of someone?  Do you seek to honor and protect those you love or do you seek to take that which you do not have?  One kind of jealousy flows from love.  The other flows from greed.  May you, as God’s child, be jealous with a “godly jealousy” (2 Corinthians 11:2).

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March 5, 2012 at 5:15 am 5 comments

ABC Extra – A Father’s Love

One of my favorite country songs is by Rodney Atkins.  It describes a father whose son seeks to emulate him, sometimes for good, but also sometimes for ill.  As the song opens, Rodney sings about a non-descript curse word that his son learns…from him!  Rodney confesses how ashamed he is that he, no matter how inadvertently, taught his son such language.  As the song continues, however, we also hear about how his son watched Rodney pray and so prayed like his father.  I love the song’s refrain, sung in the guise of Rodney’s son:

I’ve been watching you, dad ain’t that cool?
I’m your buckaroo, I want to be like you.
And eat all my food and grow as tall as you are.
We like fixin’ things and holding momma’s hand
Yeah, we’re just alike, hey, ain’t we dad?
I want to do everything you do; so I’ve been watching you.

With touching lyrics, this song expresses a simple truth about how a boy learns to be a man – he learns from his father.

Sadly, though a boy can learn good and magnanimous things from his father, he can also learn sinful and aberrant things.  From his father, a son can learn how to cuss or how to pray.  From his father, a son can learn how to abuse women or how to be faithful to one woman.  From his father, a son can learn how to nurture his kids or how to neglect them.  A father’s influence can hardly be overestimated.

With fathers carrying such a heavy responsibility to faithfully parent their children, to whom can fathers turn to learn how to be men, especially if they did not have good role models in their own fathers?  The apostle Paul helps us answer this question when he writes:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansingher by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. (Ephesians 5:25-28)

Two things are especially notable about this passage.  First, though this passage does not describe the relationship between a father and his son explicitly, if a father wants to raise his children well, he should always have these verses about his relationship with his wife in the forefront of his mind.  As Theodore Hesburgh reminds us, “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”  A father’s most powerful example to his children of what love is and looks like is how he loves his wife.  If he claims to love his children, but does not show love for his wife, that father’s positive influence will be greatly diminished.  Thus, a father must love his wife well.  Second, we learn from this passage that a father learns how to love his wife – and by extension, his children – by how Christ loves him.  Paul says, “Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her… In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives.”  Husbands are supposed to love their wives and children “in the same way” as Christ loves them.    How does Christ love His men?  He loves them with compassion and mercy and patience and bravery.  Husbands ought to love their wives likewise.  This way, when a son watches his father, he will see not only how his dad loves his mother, he will see how Christ loves him.

And so, fathers, love your wives and your children!  For your kids are not only watching you, they’re learning from you.  May they learn Jesus from you!

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June 20, 2011 at 5:15 am Leave a comment

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