Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sunday Sermon Notes - 02.15.09

Listen…to each other
…[the husband] must love his wife…
and the wife must respect her husband.
Ephesians 5v22-33 [TNIV]

Since it is St. Valentine's Day Weekend, it's worth addressing the obvious need for husbands and wives to listen to each other. St. Paul draws a subtle distinction between the needs that married men and women have: a married man needs his wife to respect him, and a married woman needs her husband to love her. While we can agree on that need, sometimes we have a hard time grasping a specific action that can clearly reveal that love and respect. I think listening to each other is one such specific action.

It could be stated like this:
Husbands: Love Your Wife – Listen to Her!
Wives: Respect Your Husband – Listen to Him!

When a husband feels understood, he feels respected. When a wife feels understood, she feels loved. So why is it that husbands and wives, and people in general, resist putting in the work of listening to each other? There are plenty of reasons, but three that I think are prominent are these:
• angry with each other
• afraid
• self-absorbed

After awhile, anybody in a relationship will sin against the other person. Since listening is such an everyday event, and it is something that so many people eventually fail at, there are plenty of opportunities for a couple to sin against each other through their non-listening. Non-listening due to anger, fear, or self-absorption increases sin, it wounds, it hurts. So what can you do if you are feeling the effects of the non-listening that has been going on in your relationship?

Start listening out of love, start listening out of respect. The act of listening can bring healing. St. Peter states it like this:
Above all, [listen to] love each other deeply, because [listening] love covers over a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4v8 [TNIV]

Listening as an act of love/respect…
• heals
• restores
• strengthens

Families don’t crumble in a day…
You've maybe heard the Casting Crown song; and it's true that people don't crumble in a day - it happens as a result of each little choice made every day. The good news? You can stop the crumbling and rebuild! But you must do it Jesus' way. His is the way of love and respect, of listening with your whole heart and head.

Here's another way to think about it - Listen as an act of love/respect by:
• listening to understand
• listening without judging/condemning
• listening with courage
• listening with patience
• listening with kindness

What's our Example for loving/respecting each other?
Husbands: Love your wife just as Christ loves the church – he poured himself out for the church.
Listen to your wife just as Jesus listens to you

Wives: Respect your husband just as you respect Christ –
Listen to your husband just as you are to listen to Jesus

We don't give love/respect/listening because the other person deserves it - we give it because of our connection to Jesus. Jesus instructs us - commands us - shows us how to love the other in our life. This helps you break free from the bad cycle of revenge and bitterness. It introduces the element of grace, which is the gateway to peace.


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