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When in love, mistakes bring a soft landing | Church Corner

I have four sons and we have just had a milestone in our lives, as our third son was the first to get married. These are the comments I shared with those at the wedding; thought you might enjoy them.

It is an honor to be part of this day, I think. When I was making sure they knew that they did not have to use Dad to do the service, Kerby replied, “Dad… we would have to pay anyone else.” Well, at least they gave me a great text to work with, “without love it profits us nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:3).

But defining that can be difficult. As human beings we can be self-serving, egocentric and self absorbed. Even when we are trying to do good, we are often being self-serving. There is a lot of pretending in life, particularly in religion, trying to look good, posturing and often not being who we truly are or saying what is really on our minds.

Love means being able to be who you are and saying what you are thinking. It means being loved so that when you make mistakes, there is a soft landing. That this person you are committing yourself to for the rest of your life will be there. They may not understand, they may not agree, they may not even like what they are hearing, but they will love you no matter what. They will stand in there for the duration, they will seek to hear your heart not your words. There will be margin for error. When you don’t say it right, there will be love and a desire to understand. When you are angry or frustrated, there will be grace. Or, as the Apostle Paul says later in that same text, 1 Corinthians 13:7, 8a, love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails;” It requires as Paul instructs in a letter to the Philippians that we “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3, 4).

Does that sound impossible? Is Paul being a little too high-minded, setting the bar too high? Not only does that sound impossible; it is impossible! Apart from the “…fellowship of the Spirit” and the “…humility of mind…” as “…you regard one another as more important than…” yourselves – it simply will not happen. Only as you surrender your lives to Christ and in service to one another will you find what Paul is talking about. Setting aside defense mechanisms, giving up on being too demanding or maybe you are not demanding enough?

Use those five rules of communication we have talked about: 1) No mind reading; 2) No mind reading; and 3) just in case you missed it, No mind reading; 4) Use good “I” statement, which allows us to own our own feelings; and finally, rule 5) heart-to-heart communication. What that means is, before you give your rebuttal or argue your point, you must first be able to share the heart of the other person. What is their point? Why is that their point? Why do they feel that way? Once you understand their heart, you can make decisions. It requires listening, loving and, most of all, the spirit of God as “…you regard one another as more important than…” yourselves; and when, not if, you mess up, when you do not get it right, as the Apostle Peter said, “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”

Yes, this is impossible apart from Jesus. Yet with Jesus, a challenging, life-transforming marriage is yours, one that will be a blessing in your life and the lives around you. Are you ready to live out this adventure called the Christian life?

I then asked Kerby and Keiko, “Are you ready to declare your intent to marry?”

And I now ask you, are you ready to love all those in your life well, doing “…nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:3-8).

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