We all carry deep emotional wounds and scars. Whether it was something someone said or did, the pain sticks with you. Now when those hurts come from your mate, how should you respond?
How is it possible for your marriage to survive, to even heal, to move forward when you've hurt one another? That's today. Stay with us. The mission of these daily programs is to intentionally disciple Christians through the Bible teaching of Chip Ingram. Well, we're nearing the end of our latest series, Keeping Love Alive Volume 4. And as you heard Chip tease, he's tackling a tough issue for these last couple of programs.
How we talk and respond to our spouse in arguments or tense circumstances is vital to the health of our relationships. And that's what Chip's unpacking for us today. But before he gets going, if this is your first time listening to Living on the Edge, or you want to learn more about what we do, go to LivingOnTheEdge.org.
You'll find tons of resources there on a wide range of topics and countless programs for you to enjoy. Well with that, let's join Chip for today's talk. This final message is the most challenging, but the one that has the potential to bring the greatest breakthrough. And the fourth and final relationship is a Christ-like relationship to personal attacks and injustice. Great marriages are characterized by couples who refuse to repay evil for evil within or outside their relationship.
In case you missed that. Great marriages are characterized by couples who refuse to repay evil for evil within or outside their relationship. I mean, all the things that we've talked about, right? He did this, so I'll do that.
Well, she and she did this, I'll do that. And it can come out in sarcasm, it can be passive-aggressive, it can be withholding affection, it can be being laid on purpose. Some of us know how to press our mate's buttons, and we've been wounded, so we come around the side and we have jabs and then we say, oh, just kidding, right? We have all kind of ways to repay evil for evil, and when we do it outside our relationship, it creates havoc in our soul, so that destroys our marriage. Translation, every couple wounds one another, and injustice, betrayal, and personal attacks will happen to all of us from within and outside the church.
If these haven't happened to you, don't hold your breath, they're coming. It's a fallen world. You will be betrayed, you will experience injustice, and you will receive wounds from people that you love, and the ones that hurt you the most are the people that are closest to you. No one can hurt you like your kids can hurt you, and no one can hurt you the way your mate can hurt you.
Your greatest joys and your greatest pains will be with the people that you love the most. The principle is we must extend the mercy and the forgiveness to others that Jesus has extended to us. Colossians 3, after talking about our new life in Christ, he says, and so as those who are chosen, holy and dearly loved by God, here's an action we're commanded. Put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving each other just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. And beyond all these things, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity, and let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts to which indeed we're called into one body and be thankful. And let the word of God richly dwell within you with all wisdom, admonishing and teaching one another, giving thanks through him to the Father. And in whatever you do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to the Father.
Put on. That little passage is one I memorized because I had a hard time being compassionate. And I've been praying, God, help me, help me be compassionate. Help me see people the way you see them. Help me, help me to be humble.
Help me to put others first. Help me, and it doesn't come naturally. And so for months, every morning, I just, I walk through what I just quoted to you. And I just said, on this day, since I'm chosen, on this day, since I'm dearly loved, on this day, since you've already set me apart and you see me as holy and righteous, out of that, then I pray that prayer. And you know what? God's answering.
I'm making progress. But my point is we must extend the mercy and the forgiveness to others that Jesus has extended to us. Well, how do you develop a Christ-like relationship to personal attacks and injustice?
I'm going to give you three ways. Number one, we need to know Jesus' teaching. Matthew chapter 5, verses 43 to 48.
Jesus is speaking to his followers. And they've been told, this is how life works. And so he says, you have heard it said.
This is how life works, basically. But I say to you, you've heard it said, love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Could you underline love your enemies and then underline pray for those who persecute you? And then there's a purpose clause.
Why? That you may be children of your father in heaven. It would mean you have family likeness. To be a son of or to be like your heavenly father, it's this is how you treat your enemies.
And then he says, well, what is your father like? He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good and he sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?
Are not even tax collectors doing that? And if you greet your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even the pagans do that? Be perfect and circle the word perfect.
The Greek word is teleos. The idea is be perfect, in other words, be mature or be exactly how you're designed and created to be. Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly father is perfect. And so the question is, how would obeying Jesus' teaching about our enemies change your response to your mate when their words or actions wound you?
That's loaded, isn't it? This wasn't hypothetical. I mean, Nero would take the Christians and he would bind them and then he would tar them and then he would light them and for his cocktail parties they would provide the light on the patio. Peter would later write, why are you surprised at the fiery trial that you're undergoing as though something strange is happening? He would write to them and say, you know, if you suffer for doing what is evil, you know, you're probably going to get the consequences. But when you suffer for doing what is good, this finds favor with God. When I respond in a counterintuitive way, the way Jesus did and the way Stephen did, they weren't doormats. It was out of their strength, not their weakness.
Father, forgive them. They know not what they do. It's a power.
And I find at the very personal, practical level, it can be a real challenge when your mate wounds you. It can be a comment. It can be a behavior. Now, by the way, forgiveness doesn't mean you don't deal with the issue. Forgiveness doesn't mean that you kiss and make up and everything's okay in 24 hours. Forgiveness is you take away the right to pay back.
The root word is to release. You release them from, you owe this because this is what you did to me and this is how I'm going to pay you back. And you say, God, this is, I'm going to give them what you've given to me. The second way that we learn to have a Christ-like relationship to personal attacks is that we have to practice overcoming evil.
And in Romans chapter 12, he begins at verse 14 through 21, speaking to the fifth group that he addresses. After 11 chapters of grace, verse 1, this is the normal response of a believer in his relationship with God. You offer your body as a living sacrifice. You're surrendered to him. The normal response to the world system with all its temptations energized by the enemy is that you are living separate from the world's values.
The normal response to your relationship with yourself is you have a sober self-assessment, an accurate view. You discover where you fit in the body of Christ and you exercise your gifts to serve others. And then in verses 9 through 13, the normal response of a Christian toward other believers is to radically, sacrificially serve one another. Then in verse 14, he shifts and says, well, how do you respond to the evil, especially evil people coming at you? And by the way, he's saying this is normal Christianity. Bless those who persecute you, bless and curse not. By the way, the word curse means to desire for someone to be lost eternally.
So this isn't like someone said something, you know, mildly offensive. And bless is the desire for them to not only be saved but to experience God's favor. Do you realize how radical this is? Can you imagine being in the first century and your whole life you've been taught, love your neighbor, hate your enemy. And then this rabbi comes and starts, you know, like, really? And then he lives it out? And because he talks about there's a way of life that you see in the world and I'm bringing the kingdom is here and I'm the king. And there's a kingdom ethic and there's now a set of values in the way that doesn't make any sense except when you do it, I show up. And the peace and the security and the power that the world's looking for, you experience when you do it my way. And so when you die, you find your life. When you give, you receive.
You're the change agents of the world. And then he says, rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not be haughty in mind but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.
In context, he's still talking about how you treat people who are persecuting you or who are evil. Now, as a believer, should we rejoice with those who rejoice? I mean, a friend has a baby, what do you do? A friend gets a promotion. A friend gets a check in the mail.
A friend has one of their kids who's successful and does something well. Do you need a command to rejoice with those who rejoice? A friend has cancer. Do you have to say, oh gosh, God, I need a command.
What do you do when someone you really love has cancer? You cry and you pray. See, what he's showing them, how do you bless those who persecute you? Now, I'm going to be real clear here. There are certain situations where you need to have boundaries. I've taught this before and had people say, well, you know, gosh, my father sexually abused me. Or, you know, I've been in physical harm.
We have to bless people but that doesn't mean we have to have contact. But in general, here's what he's saying. He's saying when someone curses you and is against you, what turns the tide is not you giving them tit for tat.
In fact, it always accelerates when retribution is the goal, when getting even is the goal. And so there's always a stance for truth. But he's talking about personal relationship here.
There's a time to fight and there's a time for peace. But he's talking about in personal relationship, you bless those who persecute you. And the way you do it is, can you think of someone that maybe hurt you or wounded you? And how do you feel like when they get a raise or they get promoted?
I mean down deep, right? This is so unfair because you know how they treat people and you know all this and you know all that and yet they got that, right? I could tell you multiple stories and I will tell one. I have a fellow who I know well and he went through a really ugly, ugly divorce. They weren't Christians, a lot of bad stuff. And his wife, for the next 25 years, her goal was to make his life miserable.
And I mean alienate from the kids and hostility and anger and just poured it out. And shortly after the divorce, he became a Christian. A few years later, he married a very godly woman and they began to really walk with God in a powerful way.
And out of her bitterness and her soul, she'd alienated other people. He ended up becoming pretty wealthy and gave her thousands and thousands and tens of thousands of dollars. And even gave her a house was part of settlements.
And she squandered it all and came to a place where as she was aging, she had nothing. He and his wife bought a home for his ex-wife after 25 years of those treatments. And his daughters watched how he treated her. And then he set up a fund through one of the daughters so that she couldn't squander it all so she would be able to live the rest of her days. And he said, it was my wife as we prayed who really encouraged us to do that. See, he released her. He said about, you know, the first couple years it was just like, you know, I mean it was stuff like, don't you touch the key to the house that you just gave me.
I mean it was just so ugly. And he said, you know, after about three years, he said, we actually sat down, we had a Thanksgiving meal, slightly awkward. But this embittered woman sat with our daughters, myself, my wife, and we had a civil conversation. And I watched a heart that was rock hard begin to open up. You bless those who persecute you. And then notice the dangers, you rejoice with those who rejoice. Can you imagine that supervisor that, can you imagine what it would be like? See, he knows the truth and you know the truth to get a note that's a choice of the will from you where you say, I heard about your promotion and I want to say since my time when I served with you, he doesn't need to know how you've prayed, but I've prayed for you. That would be a true statement.
And I want to just tell you congratulations on your promotion. What? Or his wife gets cancer and he gets a note for you or you show up at the hospital. And he knows, he knows what he did to you. And you know what he did to you. And you show up and say, hey, I know we had our differences, but I heard about your wife.
Would it be okay if I prayed for her? I've got stories from here down my elbow of people who have taken this passage that literally and acted in those ways and seen the most dramatic breakthroughs because it's how the kingdom works. But then he gives some safeguards, be of the same mind toward another. The idea is when you're doing this, don't take this position.
This guy, this gal is actually a jerk and aren't I a wonderful Christian doing this? In fact, in case you didn't get it, he says don't be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. See, you don't do this out of, you know, right? It's called being self-righteous. Do not be wise in your own estimation.
Don't think like, well, I got it all down and this, right? And then the second major command, that's verses 14 to 16. Verse 17, you might underline the first word, never. Well, like how often is that? What's the Greek word for never?
Never. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. And I might add even to the one we're married to. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. And this is one of the keys, especially in our marital relationships. The word, this translation is respect, the word is consider.
Take into account, it's sort of a stepping back and you might write this down, this has helped me. Everybody behaves in a way that makes sense to them. When someone does evil, in their mind, this makes sense to them.
This is how I get ahead, this makes sense to me. The real step in having your heart where you can be much more like Jesus, it's empathy. And you don't want to have any because you've been wounded and what you want to do is protect and then bash them. And so when he says, respect what's right in the sight of all men, it's this ability to disengage from the emotion and the wound and especially if it's your mate.
And consider, in other words, take into account, it's a word like an accountant looking at all the numbers and wondering how the numbers all fit together. It's kind of examining things and realizing, he just said this or he wounded me again or there was this action. And not excusing any of it, but it's like stepping back and going, I can see at least how maybe in view of her background or his background and the circumstance and the wounds they have, how this could have happened and how I received it.
You're not saying it's right, it doesn't mean the wounds went away. I will tell you this, we had really, really big problems in our marriage. And yes, we needed Christian counseling. But it wasn't until I heard my wife explain what it was like to grow up in her home. It wasn't until I heard, I'd seen her father, but I heard what she lived with. It wasn't until I heard the journey that she'd been on. And it was like I was so focused on what she wasn't giving me, so focused on her lack of response.
I was so focused on being frustrated and hurt and protecting myself and attacking her. When I just took the moment, I remember in the counselor's office thinking, oh my gosh, it's amazing that she's even a nice person, let alone this loving person. And you know what, it didn't change some things in our marriage I didn't like and she needed to change and I needed to change, but it was the first time I had empathy.
It's the first time I considered we were apart for a long time. There is a lot of temptation, there is a lot of struggles, there is a, and he or she absolutely blew it and violated this, but there's some sense of consider how that person got there. It's so important to get a grip on kind of where our mate has been and what they've been through. Not to excuse behavior, but to understand it. You've been listening to part one of Chip's message, A Christ-Like Relationship to Personal Attacks and Injustice, which is from our newest series, Keeping Love Alive, volume four.
Well, Chip will join us in studio shortly to share some helpful application for us to think about. We've all seen those stories of couples who've been married five, six, or even seven decades. So what's their secret?
How did they make it? And better yet, how can we build those types of lasting bonds? Through the newest installment of our Keeping Love Alive series, Chip's identifying four relationships great marriages have in common. Learn why these connections are so critical and how you and your spouse can better prioritize them in your marriage, starting today.
If you missed any part of this series, catch up via the Chip Ingram app or at livingontheedge.org. Well, Chip's back with me in studio now, and Chip, throughout this series, you've emphasized the importance of a godly marriage. But you know, sadly, marriage is widely undervalued and dismissed by our culture. Divorce, cohabitation, and infidelity seem to be rampant. Why are genuine, committed marriages becoming the exception in our society today?
Well, Dave, here's what's really interesting. There's huge changes in the culture, right? You just watch TV programs and marriage and family and all the rest.
It's completely redefined. But when you do the research or when you sit across the table from someone and you look into their eyes, here's what I'm going to tell you. Everyone is looking for a deep relationship that matters. They want intimacy. They want a husband or a wife that they can trust.
They long for a spiritual soulmate, a deep connection, a lover and a best friend. And what I want you to know is that's what God designed. The farther and farther I see the culture and even in the Church moving away from what God said, this is how it works. He's the architect.
What you find is there's more pain, more dissatisfaction. God has a plan. He's the creator of marriage. And His Word tells us exactly what to do.
Thanks, Chip. If you want to experience a godly marriage that lasts, let me encourage you to order Chip's book, Marriage That Works. Through this helpful resource, you'll learn about God's model for relationships and the specific roles of husbands and wives.
Discover what it really means to be one with your spouse on a spiritual, mental, emotional and physical level. To order your copy of Marriage That Works, go to LivingOnTheEdge.org or call 888-333-6003. That's 888-333-6003. Or visit LivingOnTheEdge.org.
App listeners, just tap Special Offers. As we wrap up today, Chip, let's get to that application we promised. Thanks so much, Dave. I want to say honestly, this message is not an easy one to hear or apply. In our marriages, when we've been hurt or when we've been wronged, we want justice. I mean, even to this person that you said, I do and I love you forever and ever, I mean, when you get really hurt, you want to pay them back. And what I want you to know is that some of the deepest struggles you have in your marriage will never get solved until you have an experience, perhaps like I had, when instead of blaming my wife and being angry with her and seeing the same old things happen over and over and over and getting ticked off, I sat in the counselor's office and I heard about her background and her family and what she'd been through. And all of a sudden, I begin to not excuse things but realize, wow, she has been so hurt and so rejected and has been through so much.
No wonder when I just raise my voice even a little, I mean, not even yell, raise my voice a little, she completely shuts down. And all I'm saying to you is that empathy might be the very first step in bringing healing in your marriage, to pause, to sit down, to really find out where is your husband coming from, what has he been through, what's his background, why is it that he responds or she responds the way they do. The principle is we must extend the forgiveness to our mate that we have received by the forgiveness of Christ. And the only way you can do that, you have to begin by having some empathy and some compassion and get rid of the bitterness and the anger and the blaming. The fact of the matter is you don't want God to give you justice, right? You want His mercy.
And if that's the case, we have to give it to our mate. But my experience is you can't get there until you understand where they've been. Here's the prayer I want you to pray. Holy Father, you know right now I feel hurt and I feel angry and I feel resentful and I don't want to be around the person I'm married to. Will you help me see them through your eyes? Will you help me grasp where they've been and why they act the way they do?
And will you help me forgive them and start afresh the way you've forgiven me? In Jesus' name, amen. Thanks, Chip.
Well, if you're walking through a difficult or painful season in your marriage right now, we want you to know we care about you and your relationship. So if you'd like someone to pray with, call us at 888-333-6003. Or if you prefer, email us at chip at livingontheedge.org. That's chip at livingontheedge.org. Or call us at 888-333-6003. Join us next time as Chip wraps up his new series, Keeping Love Alive, Volume 4. Until then, I'm Dave Druey, thanking you for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge. Music
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