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February 14, 2020 5:00 am
I gotta tell you I am super excited about today's program.
We ask you to send us questions and you did today were to talk about some of those frustrations we have with finances, infidelity, personal baggage stuff that we all struggle with. Let's find out God's wisdom that's today's statement, thanks for joining us for this Friday edition of Living on the Edge Chip Ingram, Living on the Edges of international discipleship ministry featuring the Bible to the day trips and studio along with Jerry McCauley, senior vice president of communications and product development. This whole month is teaching all about relationship has to say about why relationships work don't work to build a healthy family because so many of the calls and emails we get to do with these kinds of issues and then every Friday were pausing to have him answer specific questions from our listeners, so I'm excited about what you're going to share today will. Thanks Dave it is great to be here. This is really been fun to get questions from you all and it's so exciting it's a little bit like when I preach or teach people come up afterwards so keep sending these questions in and then let us know if this is really helpful. Some back in the studio with the Jerry McCauley a really dear friend staff member for many years and he's our senior vice president of communications and product development so Jerry welcome to our time together to ask and answer these questions and just great. See, thank you. Great to be here with you.
We've got a lot of great questions today. Let's go ahead and jump right in.
Sounds good. This first one. It's about finances. It's what does God's word say about doing finances jointly. That is not putting the full burden on one of the spouses you know I don't know that I have a specific verse that says you know a man is supposed to do this woman supposed to do that.
What I do know is the moral weight and responsibility for providing for the family is on us as men. Yes, and I think we have to ask ourselves what's the practical way to do that and I think that can look different with different couples, but let me give you an example of how not to do it.
I'm a big picture person. My wife is very detail oriented and so I just let her pay all the bills I didn't really keep track of anything and early in our marriage. I remember buying something and it was for her and it was romantic and I brought it home and she got so ticked off because apparently we didn't have money in our checking to pay for this wonderful gift that I got her and and it was a real point of tension and then she shared with me in tears. I just feel all the weight of our finances and so as a practical matter, and I would just encourage you to think of a way that will work for you that literally for decades now Tresa and I do our bills together all of our bills come in, or as with most of you to come in on mine and we sit down together and we go through all of them and that the few that we still actually write checks. I write the check and she has the ledger shall pay them online, but we sit there together and we both know how much money we have, we make our giving decisions every two weeks when those checks come in week we can't make that make it a time. That's kind of fun so we can you know make. We have a good cup of coffee and I just kinda hang out and what happened is more than paying our bills. What we started doing is what realize is we evaluated priorities and we shared the burden and you know she actually does the meticulous part because my mistakes were killing us.
But I carry the moral weight and we do it together so I'm just say you have to figure out the best way to do it but I think of one person.
The marriage feels like all the weight is on me or I think very common. A lot of men take care of all of this and I can't tell you the. The widows that I have met with that had no idea how much money they had, what bills they had a what insurance what coverage they were completely in the dark. Let me just encourages a couple money always tells you where your priorities in your values are. You have to do it together ship that super helpful. I know that many of the younger couples that I talked to actually have separate banking separate financial accounts.
As you're talking the younger couples.
How would you approach that with them. You know I would really let me just be that fatherly figure.
Do not do that that that's there's a spirit of independence and that there is there's always going to be some levels of secrecy are you become one. Spiritually, you become one in your soul and emotions and you become one, physically and to think that you can be separate financially will take you down very very bad pass. Having all your money together will cause little bit more conflict than doing it separately but it'll it'll cause you to make decisions that are joint. Any time there is this attitude of will. This is my money and that is your money then you don't understand it before the eyes of the living God. You are one the two become one flesh. So let me encourage you to let that be reflected in your banking and your spending your investing in all that you do financially.
That's really insightful.
Thank you Chip. Okay, so our next question has to do with decision-making. So here it is. When you have a large decision to make in life and there are constantly small hiccups in the plan.
How can you tell if the hiccups are signs to not go through with it or if they are just small challenges that lead to a greater plan and a test of strength.
Let me tell you, Jerry.
I think that is a a fabulous question, and especially for people that are very sincere really want to walk with God. You know what we know is there. There's two things you know I hear people talk. But you know God open the store. God shut that door and I think there's there's a certain legitimacy of how circumstances play out, but what we know as you read through Scripture often when you do the will of God. What you know is it gets worse before it gets better. There's all kind of challenges in James chapter 1 he says consider it all joy when you encounter various test knowing the test were the trials that lead to endurance and let endurance have its perfecting or maturing result, you might be perfect and mature, lacking in nothing. And so when you're swimming upstream when you're following God. There's multiple tests and challenges and so the call is to persevere. Now, on the other hand, there is Scripture that's very clear that there sowing and reaping there's consequences. You know you take this step in and maybe are very sincere. I've certainly done this and you think it's God's will and you get barrier after barrier after barrier in the Lord is trying to tell you hey don't go down that path and what I hear in this question is how do you tell the difference and I would love to say well that's X minus Y to the second power equals in other words, here's an easy formula.
I think what we have to do is say okay, first of all is this God's will, as best as I understand it in and on some of these big decisions should we relocate. Should our children be in this school or that school I should I take this job or not take this job should we go into full-time ministry. We have two children, should we have 30. I can tell you if it's having the third child, you're going to have a lot of test and there's no going back after you take that step, but all seriousness, what I want to know is I don't think there's a formula to tell you that and and I think at times the enemy will bring things that his goal will be barriers and challenges and discouragement. And God will use those same barriers to actually mature you and and I think in some ways we don't know. I will tell you I've had a lot of counseling that I've done and I've made some decisions that I always thought that everything was a test.
You just have to you know, persevere persevere persevere persevere over a period of time until I got so obvious to my wife, my children, my closest friends and counsel Chip what you're doing is not producing fruit. There's no joy in your life. This is not wise and what I had to realize was this was on a mountain to go over go under, or go through. This is one where this season is over. Don't do that, but I would say on an awful lot of decisions. Once your clear gotten counsel got a spoken from his word. You're on the same page. If you're married you.
You've determined that this is the will of God. It's not just an iffy thing that I would say in most of our cases.
We need to persevere because most of us in our humanness will bail out a lot quicker than the sort of personality type that might be a little bit over the top like me that no matter how hard it gets. We think you know use. Gotta get through it so you have the Holy Spirit living inside you. You have the word of God at your disposal and you have wise counselors around you, and I think you have to take those things with an honest heart and you need to say Lord I am willing to continue. Lord, I am willing to persevere to go through this you you tell me I will not give up. Lord I also want you to know if you're speaking to me that this is not the right plan if I didn't hear your voice that I am very open to stopping and I think when you pray like that in the Scriptures trusting the Holy Spirit with wise counselors that I think God will show you in your specific situation. What you need to do.
That's great. Give an example of a time where the doors were being slammed in your face and it it was really clear that these were more than just barriers and and more than just learning curves. Yeah, it was I would happen be the present of walk to the Bible the time and what we were doing internationally exploded. It was really really exciting and and yet after I got in teaching the Bible for about the first three or four years of my time there. Then my job was about 90% being the CEO of a of a large organization. I had seven VP's they were all direct reports. They all had a separate P&L statement.
I was in 10 our budget meetings and the only thing when I taught the Bible was something that already taught to launch it in all these different countries and it was great. We went all these countries and everything got rolling and pretty soon I didn't teach the Bible anymore and I wasn't preparing messages and I was the CEO of a nonprofit and literally my joy was shrinking. One of my oldest sons very perceptively. We were all on vacation came to me and he said that I am concerned about you. I mean, I I look like I've aged about 10 years and about two I said you don't seem to have joy. It's as I'm sure you know more about God's will than me but just the way I see your life that this is God's will. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
Are you sure that you're doing what God wants you to do and that Teresa had the same concerns and then I had two staff members who I done in a 15 years of life with and they were real serious and they said all we really want to get with you.
I learned later, they prayed and they fasted and it was pointless intervention type things you know and they sat down with me and I just said you're in the wrong seat.
We love you we know you we were we were with you when you pastor the church you know what's happening around the world is awesome. But man you're you're killing yourself and this is this is not the right fit. And I remember going into a closet, not to overly spiritualize. It was a walk in closet was pretty big.
And on that vacation and literally crying and just telling God I just felt like I you know I can't let you down and I in it was really a sweet sweet moment where on the one hand I felt like I had failed and and yet I felt an inexperience with God. A sense of approval that you know this is not what I want you to do. I've got 50.
Literally I remember the Holy Spirit whispering I got 50 CEOs in Atlanta alone there, like, way better than you would ever be that could do this job that you're doing you need to get back to teaching God's word so yeah that's that was one of those times Jerry and and yet I also have had an awful lot. Other times where God spoke. I started down the path and everything they could go wrong went wrong only to look back over two years or five years realize well the enemy didn't want me to do that or I need a lot of refining and in a David gets anointed as king and then for 10 years he's dodging spears hide in caves. You know you look at so many biblical characters.
God says this is what's going to happen and then if you look at, you know their life.
You know Joseph gets clarity from God when he 17 and his life looks like a train wreck until he is 30 but all of that prepared him so I think it's trusting the Holy Spirit's work and being really willing to persevere. If you have to, or to not persevere, which for some of us feels like failure.
I love that the common thread there is that you had some trusted counselors in both situations. Both the saying yes to and and saying no to and also that you grew in both situations, so thank you for sharing that chip this next question is a real current cultural issue that were all facing may be in our schools with our parenting with our kids with our coworkers, so it says can you talk about the intersection of Christian responsibility of speaking truth, and the current culture of gender fluidity and alternative sexuality while you know sometimes I talk about $25,000 questions. I think this is a $50,000 question that is a huge, huge issue and so let let me just say this, we at Living on the Edge have been weighing looking, pondering, in fact, last year, spent time as a team, thinking and saying. What are some of the issues that we have to address as we listen to parents, grandparents, pastors, youth pastors, young people, what we need to address. And so what I want to know is were in the process of developing an online course on actual sexuality that will talk about all the issues in terms of transgender homosexuality, heterosexuality, and, where all these things. How you get a clear, loving, kind, biblical view of these things and then how do you respond in a lot of different circumstances and sought rather than jump in and give you maybe even like a five cent answer. Let me tell you that online course is in development and let me give you one book that I think will be helpful.
It's by Andrew Walker W ALK ER Andrew Walker and it's called God in the transgender debate.
I think that is a great place to start. It's balanced. It's kind and has good research and I think it'll be a good first step you're in the midst of struggling or really needing some information on that right away chip that resource sounds really helpful. I'm wondering if you could just give me a sense of how I engage with a friend in a conversational way so that I can have a further conversation after I take that course so I don't shut things down right with my response. Yeah, I think one is we need to speak the truth in love. We talk a lot about bringing light and not heat the controversial issues back I wrote a book and we have a small group resource called culture shock where we deal with, you know human sexuality homosexuality a lot of controversy all things and what I've learned over the years, as you always start with listening not judging, doesn't mean you compromise the truth in any way.
You always understand it. However, people are living it actually makes sense to them and you don't know where they've come from. You don't know what they've been through and so quick harsh judgment, no you don't compromise. This is right. This is wrong. This is the truth. But when you're in a relationship and if people were going to get help. They don't need pounded what they need is someone who looks them in the eye who compassionately really wants to understand and and unless there's a bridge of relationship. What ever you believe or whatever you think will never make it to that person's mind, let alone their heart is. I think that's always the first place to start, and I think here's another issue, especially for those that this is theoretical. This isn't your son or daughter or your nephew or a coworker and is just sort out their proximity is absolutely crucial when it when I hear people and I just cringe and it breaks my heart who either are on the all love everything's okay or on this harsh supercritical you what I what I realized most times they don't know someone personally.
They haven't walked in, a journey with someone and really care for someone that has sexual confusion that can be heterosexual confusion. It can be. Homosexuality, the transgender issues. It can just be doubts going through puberty.
There's all kind of issues but where we start is caring about the person and listening to the person and wanting to know what's really going on because unless you build trust and relationship you really have no platform to help them anyway.
That's really helpful all right ship. Our next question is one that maybe isn't so common for people to vocalize so this listener deftly took a step of courage to write this one, but it's how do you deal with sexual baggage. For example he wants sex regularly. She doesn't or he watch pornography as a teen in his early 20s and she doesn't get it. What you say to that couple well I would say that I've had this conversation many many many times as a pastor over the last three and half decades, and sexual baggage is not something that's happening outside the church.
It's happening with lots of couples and happens of couples maybe not surprisingly, of all different backgrounds and all different ages. I think some people think of you know that was my past that will never come up that won't be an issue and it comes up in different seasons. This one he wants sex regularly.
She doesn't look forward to it.
You know this has been.
I cannot even count the number of people that I've talked to with the challenges that this literally becomes a battle and a war in a relationship and then resentment occurs. Bitterness occurs and you can just kinda play that out often.
It goes toward a focus for her for kids and their life in him. Often in work or pornography in, and what I would say is that I don't find many couples where this is a significant issue where they figure it out on their own.
And here's the first thing I'm going to say lots of people have sexual baggage, you're not alone. Number two. This does not have to define your marriage, the world's not over, and it's not like this is impossible even though you may feel like the barrier in the hurt and the wounds and what my experiences is most couples bury up they fight for a while and then they bury it, and then often depression occurs or sarcasm or passive aggressive behavior, and it just becomes a it's like a scab that keeps getting pulled off and pulled off and and I will tell you over time. Not good things happen and so you need to find a great Christian counselor. Other some good places to start a Dr. Ed wheat has a classic book called intended for pleasure. For as quote educated and modern as free as we think we are. I am astounded at how little many Christian couples really understand about sex function and I'm not talking just about the biology, but the emotional aspects and how a woman's mind thinks a man's mind thinks, and then there's a lady I know Dr. Julie Slattery. I've done some events with her. I've done actually hosted a Focus on the Family interview with her and she actually wrote an appendix for a book that I wrote where we talked about marriage that works. And as I talked about the male-female relationship. I asked her to endorse the book and she goes well. I really want to and I agree with what you said but I'm counseling all these Christian women when you talk about some of these areas of intimacy.
I think they're not can hear what you really say and I said what would you write an appendix in and talk about what that should look like and she did her ministry is called authentic intimacy. Let me give you that again authentic intimacy.com is a website she's written on it.
She her doctorate is in sexuality as she covers this as openly kindly when similarly and biblically, as anyone that I know and so you know what I would say is don't put it off. If not, can I get better. You need 1/3 party. You need to get educated and then you need to recognize that if you're a woman, a man thinks very differently about sex and it means something far different to him than you. And if you're a man, you need to understand a woman thinks about sex far differently than you and you need to get educated and learn to nurture and cherish her, so this is an experience of love. Not feeling like it's just an actor, an event so that sort of all the Dr. Ruth and me can give you at this point, I better stop but I hope that's helpful get you moving in a good direction. Great. Very helpful. Thanks for those resources to chip you bet all right ship. Our next question. Our marriage has been riddled with infidelities.
How can we find trust again while that that's really really hard.
First of all let me say to this person and the thousands and thousands of others listening at this moment, who have faced infidelity and who are saying we know that was a big mistake and I have chosen to forgive my mate who has betrayed our relationship, but we are committed to working through this. I just want to tell you. Amen. And I know it's hard. I know it's difficult, it is very very difficult when you have been to betray as I have met with these men or women who have stepped out on their marriage and the guilt and the shame and the feeling like sort of emotionally numb out, no matter how many baths they take their never quite clean and the disappointment and then the natural response because we are human when you've been with betrayed and when every action or your little bit late or there's a phone number or a text that you don't recognize and and the alarm bell goes off in your mate is saying hey you know what about this one about that and you feel attacked again what you realizes yes you brought that on yourself and anytime there's anything that's kind of different.
Those wounds those hurts those concerns. That is this going to happen again, it becomes just like a weight that hangs over a marriage and I think that's what this person's talking is is how do you regain the trust. So let me first of all, say of forgiveness and gaining trust are two different things. I've sat with the the Council men of counsel couples. But I've counseled primarily men who like yeah I know I made a mistake. It was just physical. It didn't mean anything. I really love my wife. I'm really sorry and you know why can't she get over it and I just think, oh my gosh you know you really don't get this at all and and she said she for gave me but she's on pins and needles and I'm in like 20 minutes late from work and she's asking me all these questions, listen carefully, listen very, very carefully. If you are the one who is betrayed your spouse and they have forgiven you forgiveness and gaining trust is not the same thing. Trust takes time. Trust happens by consistent behavior over time. Consistent actions over time that you communicate by what you do by what you say by how you treat her or by how you treat him that the past is the past and I just want to tell you that when it's been riddled, especially if it's been more than once. It's very very difficult to overcome, but it can happen on the on the hope side of things. I have literally had the opportunity to have a couple who was divorced with riddled with infidelity and then a an amazing work of God and in the person who was the offender and literally came back and waited two years and demonstrated trust and I had the great privilege of remarrying them. So what I want to know is that this can happen but I do want you to know it's hard it's difficult and trust has to be rebuilt so clarity expectations communication at a level like never before because every little thing raises those warning red lights that something that's gonna happen again. You need accountability for each of you.
If you're not in counseling, you need a good counselor where things can get on the table on a regular basis. If you don't have a mentoring couple you need a couple that you both trust you can sit with and have coffee and I don't need to have theological training.
They just need to have a great marriage and they love you where you can come and share what's going on, and over time as your in his word. As you learn to pray together which is critical and as you begin to behave in ways trusts can be rebuilt. God just so many of the challenges facing relationships come from patterns, processes we learned growing up. We want to establish more positive patterns with our kids to increase the likelihood of more healthy relationships how we get that going. I mean, even when were intentional.
Sometimes all we get from the more one-word answers.
While that is a great question Dave because I have lived through a lot of grunts and a lot of fine and then I head down chomping into food or literally sat on the couch and want to really engage with my kids and so how you doing and get a fine wall with me in studio again today is Jerry McCauley are head of product development, and we've actually designed a tool that we could maybe call the grunt remover or movie thing be on one-word answers or literally just moving beyond superficiality we you get a dialogue so tell us a little bit about how to use these cards to maybe address that issue. Yeah, we put together this box of 52 cards and they're all open-ended questions that really get families moving from that point of silence into some heart sharing and hopefully into some discipling and really value sharing at heart level. There's I think silly things like same thing happens me my 13 year Alaska. How was your day fine and I just you know conversation is my currency. I want to talk more. I want to hear more, so I can invest and I can help shape maybe the way she's thinking. And so we came up some questions that move it further down the road like this when she loves going to Starbucks this question is if you could go to Starbucks with anyone from the Bible who would it be and why, and I think that's fun because it sort of makes you get into the into the word release. Remember what you learned before. Maybe it's Bible story time from when they were little, but I just I connects the brain with some of those amazing stories.
I would love to meet Joseph yes and why because he believed that God all of it for good nuns. I want to know him and then another question may be more more heartfelt. How have your friends changed you, and how if you change them. I'm always challenge my kids to add value wherever they go, always adding value, making things better or stronger.
So what is that look like when your kids answer that question. Well, we know that were talking about relationships and wisdom, and relationships. This is a tool that will help you move down that path in the way that we all want to. I let me encourage you to get a set want to check out the new discuss this cards just go to our website LivingontheEdge.org were there for you order some to someone who's got kids at home. Discuss.
This is a great way to get the conversation started. Thanks for being with us for the special Q&A program. We'd love to hear your comments about whether or not it was helpful to do that. Just email email@example.com on Monday. Chip continues a series God's wisdom for building great relationships. The next Friday will be in studio again to answer more questions. Until then, this is Dave brewing say thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge