Thursday, 19 April 2018

Bury the Hatchet!

Scripture: 1 John 3 v 11 - 16: "For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 
 12  Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.
 13  Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.
 14  We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
 15  Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.
 16  Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."

God is love!  It is His total nature and everything that happens to His children is because of His great love.

We are all different in culture, background, ancestry, beliefs, race, colour, language and loyalties.  We are diverse in nature, looks, occupations, hobbies, ideologies and thinking.  And then we meet Jesus, who comes into our hearts and changes us into His likeness.

Suddenly we are forgiven all sin, and made into a new creation,  we have forgiven those who have hurt us and become a born again child of a Holy God, and are now the inhibitors of all His promises.  We have been given the ultimate clean page with all the dirty pages ripped out and burned never to be remembered.  Plus all the benefits of healing, deliverance, reconciliation and a huge new family who all love us.

We also have that absolute marvel - a free will!  We have the power of choice.  Unfortunately we also have some lingering bad memories of grievances before this total change.  Marital problems or criminal court cases that don't just disappear because we have moved our sights to Heaven.

In counselling people over the past forty years I have heard both sides of every argument like the neighbour in the apartment next door and without much variation it boils down to money, children, alcohol and sex in no particular order.

From men the constant complaint is that women remember everything you ever did wrong and whenever a woman is losing an argument she reaches back into the past and in chronological order and a withering tone of voice, reminds you of every dismal failure since the day you met.

While the husband is now angry at this unfair tactic, the wife can be heard behind a closed bedroom door laughing and chatting to her friends without a care in the world.  It has a shattering effect on his authority and he either escalates this argument into a nuclear war or buries it under the carpet and heads for the nearest bar to self-medicate.

From women the usual complaint is that husbands don't do enough to help raise the children.  They both have full time jobs but she has to cook, check homework, ensure the family has clean clothes for the following day, do lunches and be expected to have sex while he has put his feet up and watched tv, had some beers and become aggressive.  It has a shattering effect on her value as a woman versus becoming a slave.

So the battle of the sexes is played out daily, weekly, annually and eventually they believe they picked the wrong partner.  Love has been replaced by jealousy, mistrust, suspicion and lust.  The marriage has disintegrated and whoever has the upper hand will crack the whip.  Everybody suffers and some wounds never heal.

But we are Christians now and there is help at hand. Jesus is in our hearts to restore that lost love.  We must bury the hatchet that is being used against us by our old enemy and firmly remove him from the picture.  The strongest force on this planet is when a husband and wife join together with Jesus in prayer and take a stand against the devil.

Before Jesus comes into our hearts we are ruled unknowingly by the forces of darkness that cause us to sin and block God from our lives.  When we get born again Jesus gives us the upper hand over those forces to stop them in their tracks and refuse them access to our lives.

It takes time and patience but as we conquer the enemy in our daily lives every hope and dream reawakens and Jesus directs our lives according to the will of our Father.  The more we submit to that will, the better our lives become.

Burying the hatchet means we put our spouse before ourselves and stop nagging, criticising, slave-driving, being lazy, indifferent, preoccupied and sarcastic.  We start affirming our spouse concentrating on their good attributes and praying to God to be able to change to deal humanely with the unacceptable ones.

It means forgiving 70 x 7 times every day!  O Lord You forgave me much worse things than this, so I forgive my spouse this small thing now.  It's coming from our renewed minds that now obey the will of God.  It will plant beautiful seeds that will grow into a peaceful loving life together.  Really worth the effort.

The big secret is the way we learn to communicate!  It is never by accusation and condemnation, but in kindness, understanding and love.  Be gentle and don't speak harsh damaging words.  Don't always have to be the winner.  Yield to the wisdom in your spouse.  Let the final decision be his as God has made him high priest of the home with accountability to Him.

If he is messing up do not confront him but take this need to our Father and put it upon His altar.  Praise the Lord daily for the changes He is making even though they are not yet visible.  Our Father will reward your faith. 

It is the duty of the high priest to present the needs of his family to God daily and allow God to meet those needs.  Being self-sufficient is counter-productive.  Read Deuteronomy 8.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we let You down but You love us any way. Thank You!  Teach us humility, patience, and the way of peace through Jesus. Let us esteem others more highly than ourselves.  Let us bury the hatchet and make a difference that produces greater love.  In Jesus' name. Amen.