The Qualities that Build Enduring Love

This is perhaps my final GPS insight blog entry for Church of the Resurrection. At least while I'm at Woods Chapel UMC in Lee's Summit, MO.

This August, my husband and I will celebrate five years of marriage. When we “tied the knot,” we were both in our thirties and had spent a significant amount of time alone developing habits that worked for our individual lives. Sharing and collaborating define the past five years of our lives together. We love each other immensely, but sometimes that love is tested when our individuality asserts itself. Our conversations, as well as our disagreements, are passionate because we both know that our tastes, opinions, and routines are correct.
For example, I know that creamy peanut butter is far superior to crunchy. However, my husband believes the opposite. In fact, he claims that extra-crunchy is the only way. I make grocery lists, and he just goes to the grocery store. Of course, I know that I am correct in all things because right now we have two large jars of creamy peanut butter next to a jar of extra-crunchy. My first instinct when I realized this had happened was that he didn’t check the grocery list on the refrigerator. He would have noticed that peanut butter was off the board. In the past (in fact just leading up to a few weeks before this sermon series), the extra peanut butter would have set me off. My mind would not have thought about how considerate he had been for thinking of my taste! Instead, I would have accused my husband of not paying attention, or of being self-absorbed because he thinks his way is the only way. Again, I would have overlooked his actual attention to what I like. Now we have a wonderful reminder that creamy peanut butter always wins! (Upon inspection, though, I realized I had not erased it from the grocery list. I was glad I didn’t confront him!) Maybe in this instance, crunchy wins.
However, a committed lifetime relationship is not about winning. The Apostle Paul tells the Church in Ephesus, “Don’t let any foul words come out of your mouth. Only say what is helpful when it is needed for building up the community so that it benefits those who hear what you say.” There are times in our relationship that foul words have escaped my mouth out of anger when he didn’t live up to my “non-communicated” expectations. Many times my words have been neither loving nor helpful. They have been instigated by my incessant need to be right. They have caused the foundation of our relationship to crack and crumble from time to time. Rebuilding on a fractured foundation can be tough work, but it is possible.
God’s grace affords ample opportunities for the foundations of our relationships to be repaired and redeemed. We have been sealed by the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption. This isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime-when-you-go-to-heaven kind of thing–-redemption starts now. Each second, minute, hour, and day we are given chance-upon-chance to be renewed in the redemptive grace of God. We are given the opportunity to build our relationships through kindness, compassion, and forgiveness-–in the same way that we have been given through Jesus Christ. Christ is the mortar that builds and repairs the foundations on which relationships are built. It’s almost like the peanut butter, creamy or crunchy, that holds two slices of bread together, but infinitely more durable.
I hope your lunch today consists of a PB&J, or honey, or bananas… or maybe even bacon!

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