Thursday, March 12, 2015

Broken Together (A Song, A Video, A Marriage, A Lifestyle)

I want to share a couple of touching videos connected to a beautiful song that is incredibly appropriate to our day and time as it relates to marital commitments.  It could apply to life on some level but the song really applies to marriage.  If I may, I would like to share a few thoughts of challenge and encouragement.  This can and should apply to anyone, married or contemplating married.  Even if your marriage is fine, this will bless you and encourage you to pursue continued success.  If your marriage is not fine, I beg of you, please keep reading!

Anyone who has read my blog's and follows me on FB knows that I have a passion to see biblical marriages succeed in our day.  I know far too many marriages that are over or extremely broken.  Many are marriages between professing Christians.

The problem is, our culture has developed such a romanticized, self-centered, my way right-a-way mentality, that many bible-believing Christian men and women are reading the bible through that lens and failing to see the truth.  We think that love is a must-have feeling rather than a choice we make.  Scripture knows nothing of loving when it feels right or if it feels good.  We also tend to think that a good relationship is tied to a good sex life.  Consequently, intimacy in the form of sex is placed at the center of relationships and if/when it ceases or becomes much less frequent, suddenly we no longer feel the same desire to remain committed to this person that we say we love and promised life-long commitment too.

[ I will give one brief qualifier by stating that  I know there are some very difficult situations and that the bible provides two very clear acceptable reasons for divorce.   Adultery or abandonment by an unbelieving spouse.  To be clear, these are not the situations I am addressing here.]

What If Christ Treated Our Relationship Like That?

The truth is that this sin-sick world is broken and as a part of that world, so are we.  We see the flaws in everyone else but find it difficult to see our own.  We think that if we look hard enough, we will find someone who is "as perfect and selfless as we are."   I've got news for you, that kind of perfection only exists in one person; and that is the person of Jesus Christ.  

James 4:4 teaches that when we are far too friendly with the world, as we often are, we are acting as adulterers toward God.  In fact, he goes on to say that being a friend of the world makes you and enemy of God!  Even with our greatest effort, we are altogether unfaithful to God compared to His faithfulness to us; compared to all that He has done for us.  If Christ were to turn from His commitment to His bride in the same way that we reject each other, we would all be damned for eternity.  

But NO!  Though spiritually perfect and sinless in his divine nature, he became broken, yet never sinful in his human nature.  He did this for us.  Scripture tells us that Christ died for His bride, the church.  We are told that he loved us so much that he died for us even "while we were yet sinners"(Romans 5:8).  Even as we rejected Him, He was loving us.  All that He requires of us is that we, as His broken, sinful bride should love, honor, and respect Him. 

This example of selfless love and sacrifice by Christ is applied to us even as we are expected to demonstrate Christ to the world through this marriage relationship.(Ephesians 5:21-33) 

Be Reconciled

Many of the reasons for failing marriages come down to what the courts have termed "irreconcilable differences".  Rest assured that this an altogether unbiblical, man-made idea.  2 Corinthians 5:11-21 tells us that even as we are in Christ, we are no longer to live according to the flesh.  We are to remember that, being in Christ, we are now a new creation.  Even as we are reconciled to God through Christ, He has given us the ministry of reconciliation.  We have been entrusted with this message, that Christ came to reconcile the world to himself through forgiveness by becoming sin on our behalf.  We are Christ's ambassadors, representatives.  How can we represent His love for His bride if we are unwilling to demonstrate forgiveness and reconciliation in our own marriages?

Remember in Matthew 5:22-24, "So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother (or sister) has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother(or sister), and then come and offer your gift."   (Emphasis in parenthesis are mine.) 

This is something I think much of the church has forgotten.  That is, no matter what your relationship; brother, sister, father, mother, son, daughter, husband, or wife; as a disciple of Christ you are always that persons brother or sister in Christ.  As such you are commanded to love, forgive, and be reconciled to them.  Those people could be classified as neighbor or enemy as well and still we are commanded to love, forgive, and be reconciled.  Why?  Because that is what Christ has done for us.

Yes We Are Broken

It's true.  Every single one of us is broken.  If we are to be successful at reconciliation, we must lean in to the reconciliation that Christ provides for us regarding our relationship with God the Father.  He is praying for our success.  He sent the Holy Spirit to empower us through discipleship, prayer, and meditating on His word.  If we leave any one of those means of grace out, we are not pursuing success to the fullest extent that we can.  He has also promised that He will never leave us, nor forsake us(Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5).  So why should we expect that He will not help us to do the same for our spouse if we are willing to put forth undying effort on Christ's behalf.

In the words of the song I am about to share with you, we must learn to be Broken Together.  That does not mean years of misery while simply tolerating each other; though it could if you are not both committed to the cause.  But someone has to start.  Someone must begin allowing Christ to dominate their part of the relationship.  I cannot guarantee you what the end result will be.  

What I can tell you is what Christ has done and is doing for you now and how that must impact you if you fully understand and appreciate the sacrifice He made for you.  Once you realize that the God of the universe is not only rooting for you, but that He promises to love you through every step of the journey and bring you peace, comfort, and joy like no one else can; you will want to honor him by giving your all for your marriage.  If you don't want to give your undying commitment to your marriage, then you do not fully realize and appreciate all that Christ has done for you.  That no only affects your relationship with your spouse.  It will affect your relationship with Jesus.

The Song and The Writer

Mark Hall is the lead singer for Casting Crowns and I believe he wrote, if not co-wrote this song.
These are his thoughts on the song and the current crises surrounding marriage:
Marriage is tough. We bring a lot of fairy tales to the picture when it comes to marriage. We bring them to the altar with us [thinking]: ‘This is going to be perfect. We don’t have to be apart. We can just wake up together every morning and no one is going to have morning breath. We’re not going to have any problems.’ And then the problems hit and you don’t know where to file those into your picture. . . The idea I’m trying to say is: ‘Can you lay down who you thought I was and love the ‘me’ that is? Can we take this from where we are now and realize that I can’t be that person?’ Only God is going to be able to make this work and broken people can be broken together.
His thoughts are much more brief than mine but hey, he is a song-writer, I am a blogger.  He writes in lyrics, I write like this.  I hope both methods will have some effect on how any reader of this is thinking through their own marriage and the marriages of those around them.  No matter who we marry, we will never be perfectly complete until Christ returns and sin is no more.  We will always be broken, together or apart. We have to be broken together, not only in our marriages but as part of the body of Christ.  We must look out for each other and we must allow ourselves to be looked after by each other.  May it be so in Jesus name.  

I am providing two videos of this song.  One can be found here.  The other below, though it may only be view-able from the blog page.  To access it from the email just click on the title of the blog.  It should be a hyperlink.  Both videos are tremendously touching and I pray you will allow both to minister to you.  

Blessings, Josh

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