Friday, November 16, 2012

Repeating Matters

"He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; 
but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends."
Proverbs 17:9

The devil loves to divide.

Marriages.  Homes.  Churches.  Nations.  Communities.  Friendships.  

The foundational cause for disunity in each of these examples is, of course, our sinful flesh.  But here, in Proverbs 17:9, God shows us a specific and all-too-common reason why relationships seem to be short-lived and tedious.

A few years ago, as I was reading my Bible one morning, I came across this verse, and as I read it, the light bulb of the Holy Spirit's conviction went on in my heart!  God showed me something that morning of which I was guilty, particularly in my marriage.

You see, whenever a husband and wife get into a fight (whoops...I mean, if the kids are listening...a "discussion"), each contender feels that he is "in the right" going into the battle.  And the object of the fight is to prove and persuade the other party, so that they'll come to the point of admitting, "You were right; I was wrong."  That is the point of VICTORY!!  [Of course any honest married man knows, truth be told, that, most often, both parties were "in the wrong" in some way or another.]

Did you know that one of the greatest weapons to use in one of these marital battles is the weapon of "repeating matters"?!

Repeating matters is when I (the husband) remind my opponent (the wife) of all the times in the past that she failed and was indisputably wrong.  And if I can build my case with enough examples of past failures, then there's a good chance I'll win this battle with no sweat!  For you see, as I repeat matters in our argument, she will recall all of her past failures, and upon remembering all the times that she was wrong, she will inevitably and sweetly wave the white flag of surrender, thus ending the argument and restoring the loving intimacy that a Christian couple should have.  And they live happily ever after!  What a great, God-given weapon that husbands and wives can use to fight the devil and bring love and reconciliation in their homes--this weapon called repeating matters!



If you are married, you are thinking one of two things:

1) This guy is crazy to think that repeating matters solves anything!
2) This guy has a bad case of New England sarcasm because everyone knows that the weapon of repeating matters doesn't work that way at all!

You see, God convicted my heart that when it comes to relationships--especially relationships that God intended to be characterized by love, peace, and intimacy--the higher goal is to fight for unity, not for the title of being "right".

God wants there to be harmony in the home, not strife.  God is not concerned with how often a husband is right, but with how often he is Christlike.

And so I came to the conclusion that day that, although repeating matters is indeed a weapon, it's not a weapon of God that defeats the devil so that relationships flourish; rather, it's a weapon of the devil that defeats God's purpose and causes relationships to dissolve!

There is a weapon, however, from Proverbs 17:9, that we can indeed use to help our relationships thrive--it's called covering transgressions.  This is the opposite of repeating matters.  It's when I choose to overlook and sometimes even pretend not to notice the shortcomings of my partner.  And let me tell you, this weapon works!  It's very similar to the tools called "forgiveness" and "grace"--both of which, coincidentally, share the same Manufacturer as that of covering transgressions.

I'm by no means a perfect Christian, nor am I a perfect husband.  And I still have a tendency to use past failures as ammunition from time to time.  But when I do, the Holy Spirit often reminds me (through the sound of an audible voice proceeding from the smirking face of my wife) that I am "repeating matters." And at that, I realize that I am using the wrong weapon against the wrong person.

Let's not let the devil divide our families, churches, and friendships.  Let's overcome the devil by heeding God's Word and following the example of Christ, "who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not, but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously" (I Peter 2:23).

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