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Love's Hidden Enemy

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
December 9, 2023 12:00 am

Love's Hidden Enemy

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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December 9, 2023 12:00 am

Start cultivating lasting, godly love for those around you.

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In Touch
Charles Stanley

Welcome to this weekend's In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley. Would we think incorrectly?

We respond incorrectly. Today's podcast wraps up the Liberated to Love series, helping us to bring our attitudes in line with the truth of God's Word. One of the tragedies of broken relationships is that oftentimes people will look in the wrong places to find the cause or the solution. Well, that's what I want to talk about in this message entitled Love's Hidden Enemy. And I want you to turn, if you will, to First Corinthians chapter 13. And you'll recall that this is the chapter that Paul sandwiched between a message about spiritual gifts and a message about tongues. And he describes for us in this passage on the 13th chapter, First Corinthians, what love is all about. Then beginning in verse four, he talks about what love does, how it acts. He talks about the power of love to make it possible for a person to wait and to be kind and all the things that he describes here. Then he comes down to verse 11 and he says something very interesting. He says, When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child.

But when I became a man, I did away with childish things. Paul said, When I grew up, those things that were childish that fit my childhood and didn't fit my adulthood, he said, I put those things away. Now, when Paul said, I did away with childish things in that phrase, I believe the apostle Paul has given to us the hidden enemy of loving relationships. So what I would like to do, first of all, is to identify one of those, at least a section of what I believe is one of those hidden enemies of love. Now, the real problem is that when we only look at the surface issues, we will never discover what the real problem is.

And the tension, the stress, the heartache and the pain and the hurt will just keep on going on until finally there's a severing of relationships. And so Paul said in this passage, he said, Now, when I was a child, I thought like a child thinks. I spoke like a child speaks.

I communicated that way. He says, I reasoned like a child reasons. He says, But now when I grew up, what happened was, he said, I put away things that do not fit where I am now. As long as you and I look at the surface issues in our relationships with people, as long as we look at the surface issues and don't get to the root, we're just going to keep picking fruit and keep pointing to fruit.

And the fruit may get smelly and rotten, and we may cut it off, but it'll just grow back. And so when Paul said, I put away childish things, I believe that the hidden enemy of loving relationships is wrapped up in that phrase, childish things. And I don't mean by that necessarily the way we act as a child or things that we would naturally normally do as children, but I believe it sums up what Paul is referring to. Now, when we think about childish ways, I want us to think in terms of what became a part of our thinking and our ways of life when we were children. So we each had this grid system in our mind. All the things we heard, all the things we experienced, all the things that we saw, the very environment in which you and I grew up, became a part of our reasoning and thinking of things so that ever since you and I were children, we have interpreted all of life, we've looked at things, reasoned, and we have evaluated and responded on the basis of those interpretations which have been highly influenced by those childish ways we were given, we received, we learned, we were taught. We didn't ask for them. They were just given to us.

That's where we grew up. And so they have affected our life. And so when a person says, well, you know, my past doesn't affect me, I want to show you why it does. And this is why I say those childish ways are the hidden enemies of our loving relationships.

For example, and let's just look at some of them and then relate them. One of those childish ways that we came into life with, some people did, was this. It said something like this, and that is, my acceptance is based on my performance. And so therefore, your parents either acted in such a way or treated you in such a way that made you realize that if you were going to get their acceptance and you were going to get their love, you had to perform a certain way. And so you came into life having to perform and maybe develop some perfectionism and so you built into your life this standard. And we related this to no matter where you are, whether it's your occupation, your relationships with other people. And so one of those messages that you got on your grid system is, if I'm going to be accepted, I have to perform, I have to measure up. And the tragedy is what we do is no matter what we hear, we sort of set the standard. And of course, our standard is always an impossible one because nobody's perfect. And so we make all kind of mistakes in life and we berate ourselves and beat ourselves over the head with it.

Another one of those messages we got in our grid system is this. If you want God to love you, you have to watch your behavior because God's love for you is determined by your behavior. Now sometimes we were taught that by parents in order to manipulate us to behave them out of fear of God.

And so it may be that you went to a church and very early in life, as some pastor when you about six or seven, eight years of age, he looked 12 feet tall, just like Moses. And so therefore, whatever he said was straight from God. And he said, if you want God to love you, then you must do a certain thing. And he listed you all these things. You must read your Bible and pray and come to church every time the doors open and give your money or else God's judgment is going to fall upon you. He may not have said it in that way, but the message you got was, goodness, if God's going to love me, I've got to do certain things.

And if I don't, then I'm not sure He'll ever love me. Now, we could just go on all morning talking about all the things that get into people's grid system. Now, no one asks for those things. We pick them up by what we see, by what we hear or by what we're taught. And it can be by parents, it can be by friends, it can be by teachers or whatever it might be. Now, what I want us to see is this, that oftentimes those are the hidden, real deep-seated root issues in our life that we don't look at. So what do we do?

We look at what Paul talked about. We looked at this whole idea that here's somebody who's impatient, jealous, unkind, arrogant, prideful, egotistical, boastful, got to be number one, got to have first place, real touchy, I got to please them. In other words, when they're not feeling right, don't get anywhere close because, I mean, you're going to have an explosion all over you. And so these are the issues and we think that's the problem in this marriage, that's the problem in this relationship, that's the problem with the people I work with.

They come to work all bent out of shape and so that's what messes up the relationship. None of those are the issue. The issue are root causes. Now, I'm not saying those things are not factors. I'm simply saying that in order to deal with the real problem, we have to get back to the childish things in our life that we're not even aware of oftentimes. And Paul said, he said, when I grew up, he said, when I became a man, I put them away.

I rendered them inoperative so that no matter what the root is, it can be dealt with successfully in a person's life. So let's look to see for a moment if these things have any kind of relationship and how they do to our relationships with others. Now, for example, here's a person who says, well, on my grid system, here's what I heard.

My acceptance is based on my performance. And so what do they do? They just try extra, extra hard to please the other person. And no matter how hard they please the other person, they're not sure they accept it because while they do accept them, their standard is so high and they raise their own standard. What are they suspecting? They're suspecting, you know, I'm not sure that they really believe what they say about me. I'm not sure he really believes what he says or she believes what he says because I'm doing my best.

But, you know, I'm not perfect and I know I'm not perfect. And what happens? Sometimes a person gets bent all out of shape because they've raised their own standard so high they can't live up to it. So what do they do? They become angry with themselves, irritated with themselves and what do they do? All of a sudden, they begin to dump it on the other person. And of course, the other person becomes the culprit.

And the real basic problem is they can't live up to their own standard because what they heard and what's on their grid system is in order for me to be accepted, I've got to measure up and I think I've reached the top and that's as far as I can go and I still can't do it. So what happens? That bit of anger becomes very explosive and so what happens? Then you've got tension and stress and conflict in the relationship. The person who comes into a relationship believing that the only way to please God is to behave a certain way and if you don't, God doesn't love you. Then what happens? Here the relationship is coming along and you see, if you're a believer, you know in your heart, if you don't believe that God loves you or you question that and you're not certain about that, there's a bit of insecurity that is overriding in your life.

It doesn't make any difference what's going on with it. It's your children, your wife, your husband, your parents. If you have this unsettled, uneasy feeling that God may not be loving you, that creates a sense of insecurity that's going to permeate and saturate every relationship in life. How can you ever feel secure about anything if you're not certain that God loves you? The problem is those hidden messages we got early in life cause us all kinds of destructive pain and hurt. It's not that a person asks for that, but that is exactly what happens. Now, these things are devastating to relationships no matter what. So what we have to ask is how do we deal with them? Well, there is a way that people usually deal with things like this and the way they deal with them is this. It is your fault.

When you straighten up, everything will be fine. And so blame, blame, blame, blame. You know that blaming other people for something never makes anything work. It just doesn't work. That isn't God's way. The second thing they do is they keep their eye on the other person and if they can keep a running record of their faults and their failures, they can justify their criticism so they just keep putting the pressure on. That doesn't settle anything.

And so what happens is they intensify the problem and then of course that person will oftentimes refuse, refuse to look at themselves for two reasons. First of all, it is extremely difficult for some people to say, you know what? I was wrong.

You know what? I've made a mistake. I am sorry. Would you please forgive me? When they think that their mouth feels like it's got marbles or sand in it, it just won't come out because their pride has reached such a place in their life that it so dominates and controls them they can't say, I'm sorry. Please forgive me. Please forgive me if I've been wrong.

They can't say it. So what happens? Then when they get the slightest little glimpse that some of this could be their fault, they shut it up because it appears that it's going to be so painful to open up and acknowledge, hey, you know what? A lot of this is my fault. And the more I look at this, the more I realize this is stuff in my life that's been there for years and years and years that I never dealt with, didn't even realize it was there. Can you handle it? Forget it. And what happens?

They walk away. That's what the way most people deal with it. What is God's way of dealing with these childish things in our life that we grew up with that hinder and destroy and hurt and cause so much harm in our lives? Well, the first thing is to acknowledge, you know, to acknowledge the fact that at least part of this broken relationship or friendship or marriage or whatever it might be, part of this at least could be my fault. To acknowledge that, you know, there could be something within us that we can't put our finger on or maybe we can't, part of this has got to be my fault.

Part of this I need to look at. And so the second step is, and that is a determination to find the root cause. Why do I respond the way I do? Why do I act the way I do? What is it that motivates me? I see all this surface stuff.

What's the root? What is it Bakyanovitz causing me to respond to treat someone the way I treat them? As long as I'm not willing and as long as I have not set a determination to deal with it and to find the root, I am going to continually have a major problem. Well, first of all, we have to acknowledge that yes, I'm a part of the problem.

Could be most of it. Secondly, a purpose in my heart to get to the root of it. And thirdly, I'm going to seek godly counsel.

Now listen carefully. I didn't just say seek counsel. If you don't seek counsel from a person who understands the principles of the Word of God and who will keep bringing you back to the Word of God, who is a godly person whose lifestyle is controlled by the principles of the Word of God, a counselor can get you in deeper, more trouble than you're already in. If you go see someone for help, they never mention Jesus, God of the Bible.

They don't talk about spiritual principles. They make you feel like a victim, then friend, you need to get out of there just as fast as you can. Because what they're saying is, I'm not going to bring you to look at yourself.

I want to make you feel that you poor little old you and as long as you think poor little old me, that's what I want to think. That just feeds something inside of you that absolutely will devastate you ultimately. Seeking godly, wise counsel. Now the next step is the most difficult of all.

If you really want healing to take place in that relationship, the next step is very important and that is surrender. God, it doesn't make any difference. Whatever you tell me to do, that's what I'm going to do. Whatever you want, that's what I want. Whatever you require of me, that's what I'm going to do. Now if you're not willing to do that, what you do is you jam up the flow of God's Spirit in your life and what happens is just what you're saying. You're saying, oh I want to get this straightened out. But here's what I'm going to do. While I'm getting this straightened out, I'm going to hold on to my past and those childish ways because you know I've been living with them for all these years and I just can't give them up.

Oh I may give up part of them. But you see, that's part of my thinking and you just can't blame it all on me. I mean, no, I can't say that I'm just going to do whatever God says, then you just shut it down right there. If a person wants to make their relationship right, there has to be absolute, total, full surrender to the will of God. And this is why it's so important that you go to godly counsel.

Because the person who doesn't know the Scriptures, they're going to tell you to do something and listen, they're going to leave God right out of it. You can't have godly relationships, wholesome, whole relationships that are satisfying and contending and all the rest apart from Almighty God being involved in that relationship. And so as long as I insist on holding on to something childish back there that's on my grid system, I am going to jam God's work in my life. The last thing is I've got to trust the Lord. I can't see my way clear, don't know what to do next, but God, I'm going to trust you. And when you acknowledge that it's there and you determine to find the root cause of it and you find godly counsel and make that surrender and trust the Lord, you say, well, will you guarantee me that if I do that, my relationship's going to be healed? No, I can't guarantee that. And nobody can.

I can guarantee you this. The relationship may not be healed, but you'll be healed. Because if you follow those steps, you're going to be healed. When you surrender your life to God under godly counsel, according to the Word of God, and trust the Lord to work in your life and begin to follow Him, you are going to be healed. Now the relationship being healed depends upon two persons, whether it's your friend or your parent or your wife or your husband.

It doesn't make any difference. It takes two to make that relationship right and to make it whole and happy once again if it ever was that way. And so, no, nobody can guarantee that. Not even God guarantees that. But my friend, when wholesomeness and healing comes into your life, no matter what's going on, God will turn it all out for your good, no matter what, because here's what He says.

He says in Romans 8 28, God is engineering our circumstances for our good and His glory. It may be terrible circumstances. It may be difficult and painful and trying circumstances. God will turn it for your good. If you're willing to acknowledge you have responsibility, determine to get to the root cause, seek godly counsel and follow that godly counsel, surrender yourself entirely and completely to God and trust Him. He will turn it for good. And when Paul said, when I grew up, I put away childish things.

I would simply say to you, my friend, as long as you hold on to those childish ways, and a lot of good things that you learned growing up, but there are those devastating roots of poison that will devastate and destroy relationships unless they're dealt with. Where does it all begin? Here's where it all begins. It all begins with when you place your trust in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, surrendering your life to Him.

That's step number one. Once you surrender your life to Him by faith, then allow God to begin to work and go through, as we said, acknowledging. Maybe there's something inside of me that's not right. Determine to find the root, godly counsel, full surrender and trust in Him. There is no absolute telling what God may possibly do in your life as a result, but one thing for certain, He will heal you. He will make you the kind of person that He created you to be. He will grow you up emotionally, spiritually, as well as the physical, and you can become a whole person. And my friend, none of us will experience the peace and the joy that God wants us to have and have that sense of wholeness until we're willing to look on the inside and let God deal with the roots that we developed, that were handed to us, given to us as children. He said, I put away childish things. I was willing to deal with them. Now He says, I'm a whole person. All of us want to be whole for our sake, the sake of those around us, and for the glory of God. And it's yours for the asking.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-09 05:27:24 / 2023-12-09 05:35:42 / 8

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