Before we get into the specifics of communication, let’s prepare our hearts. It’s essential that our intentions as we proceed be in line with those of our Heavenly Father. This begins from a place of humility. It is only from there we can approach our spouse with any hope of improving our communication.
****A warning – The stuff we’re learning in this series is meant for couples who have reached a point in their own personal healing from which they are ready to begin working on the specific issue of communication within their marriage. If the sin of sexual addiction is still active, or even if recovery is in its very early stages, this isn’t where your focus needs to be. Wives, if your husband is actively sinning against you and your marriage it is okay to draw some lines, and make some boundaries – even if you’re not perfect yourself! That is not what we’re talking about here AT ALL!!!! In fact, here is a book I wrote on setting Biblical boundaries within your marriage that might be really helpful if that’s where you find yourself.****
It’s human nature to read the kind of stuff we’re going to be addressing “for” someone else.
Instead of taking the opportunity to honestly evaluate ourselves, we look for ammunition to load into the arsenal of judgement we’re building against our partners. This is SO dangerous, and we need to commit right up front to avoid this trap the enemy has set for us. Even now, someone reading this has just thought, “Man, my husband/wife needs to hear this!” or “I hope he/she is listening.”
Friends, our goal is healing. The only person we have any power to heal is ourselves. So, with that in mind, let’s dive into our passage for this week:
Luke 6:37-45 – “Don’t judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full – pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”
Then Jesus gave the following illustration: “Can one blind person lead another? Won’t they both fall into a ditch? Students are not greater than their teachers. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher.
And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, “Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,” when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thornbushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.
The Rewards of Pure Motives
When it comes to God-honoring relationships the Bible is pretty clear. God is interested in what we’re willing to give, and He wants our motivation to overflow from our love for Him. In addition to the problem of simply being unwilling to give of ourselves at all, there are two ways we tend to mess this up. Either, we find the motivation to invest in our spouses based on our desire to get something back from them in return, or our motivations come from a fear of repercussions from our spouse if we somehow fail. Either way, these impure motives set us up for misery and destruction.
Proverbs 29:25 – Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.
God made a promise in our focus passage today from Luke 6. He told us that whatever we pour into our relationships (from a place of pure motives) will be returned to us, not just in full, but pressed down and shaken together to make room for more! He’s promised to reward us for selflessly giving of ourselves to others.When it comes to God-honoring relationships the Bible is pretty clear. God is interested in what we’re willing to give, and He wants our motivation to overflow from our love for Him. Click To Tweet
Yet, life experience has certainly taught us that if we interpret that to mean we’ll get back from our spouse more than what we pour into them, it is certainly a lie.
Since we know God is not a liar, the blessing He’s promised here must mean something else. Through our study of Scripture (the whole of Scripture) we find further evidence to support this idea. God’s blessings take so many forms, but they never fail to show up! Whether it be through deeper, more intimate relationship with Him, or through finding He has supernaturally equipped us to be victorious over our trials, or simply that He has promised us great reward on the other side of eternity; we will always find that indeed, His blessings far outweigh our efforts!
1 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV) – Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
When the Blind Lead the Blind
Motives are important. We’ve established they need to be pure. Our focus passage goes on to tell us that without the benefit of pure motives, relationships will look like the blind leading the blind. In other words, both people are headed for trouble, because neither one is going to be in any way equipped to see the pitfalls in the path ahead.
When I think through examples of the blind leading the blind in Scripture, my mind immediately goes to Matthew 23. In that passage we find some of the most severe warnings in Scripture as Jesus calls out the Jewish religious leaders and the Pharisees. Over and over He calls them blind guides, hypocrites, snakes, and warns them of the sorrow that awaits them because of their misuse of power. This is certainly a warning for all of us, but men, I hope you take extra caution from Jesus’s admonitions. You have been called to lead your families. Are you doing it with pure motives, or are you using your power like the Pharisees did?
Please take a minute to read the full passage here: Matthew 23, and after that, head over to Mark 7:6-23 for even more from Jesus on the same topic. As we read these very serious verses, may we remember with solemnity that these are the words of the Lord Jesus Christ! May we take them with humility and allow them to divide us according to His will!
Friends, using the Word of God to manipulate people to do what we want is SO serious! It was given to us to lead US into right standing with the Lord God Almighty. If we’re not starting from there, we’re treading very dangerous ground and leading all those behind us to destruction. The good news is, there’s no time like right this very second to turn away from any misstep that has caused us to get this wrong in the past and toward obedience to God! So let’s ask Him right now to help us.
Humility: Focusing on Our Own Logs
Do you ever wonder why it’s so easy to see the faults (even the really minor ones) in the people around us, (especially our spouses and children) but SO hard to see the faults in ourselves?
I have. I do.
This is an area of great struggle for me. Other people’s sins seem so glaring and major to me, and my own seem so inconsequential. What terrible folly! I have to make a practice of regularly asking God to point out to me the logs in my own eye, and I have to be ready and willing to receive that discipline when it comes so that I will truly have ears to hear and eyes to see what He has for me. (Proverbs 13:18, Proverbs 13:14, Proverbs 13:13, Proverbs 13:10, Proverbs 12:14, Proverbs 10:17, Proverbs 17:10, Proverbs 15:32)
Even more important, I have to face the reality that my own sins are far from inconsequential because they were enough to send my Lord to the cross in my place! His back bore the whip that belonged to mine. His hands and feet carry the scars of the nails that should have pierced my own. Those sins that can seem so minor to me carried a death penalty and reserved a place for me in Hell; a place that will forever remain unfilled because Jesus paid my way with His own perfect life, went down to that damnable place, and crushed its hold on me, setting me free!My sins were enough to send my Lord to the cross. Sins that may seem minor to me carried a death penalty and reserved a place in hell; a place that will forever remain unfilled because Jesus paid my way with His own perfect life. Click To Tweet
The only acceptable response from me is total humility – a heart that longs to remain pure before my Savior, and an understanding that this is only possible through His grace.
Romans 2:1-4 – You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. And we know that God, in His justice, will punish anyone who does such things. Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgement when you do the same things? Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that His kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
The Overflow of Our Treasuries
Proverbs 21:21 – Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love will find life, righteousness, and honor
It is only from this place; a place in which we’ve examined and purified our motives, humbled ourselves, and come to God ready to learn what He has for US, that we can move forward in the healing process with any hope of success.
Once we’ve done those things, our metaphorical treasuries will be full of really good things and will overflow with fruit. Good fruit! Only from there will we be able to humbly confront one another in love, speak wisdom and truth into our relationships, and faithfully sharpen one another as we partner together in our pursuit of God.
Proverbs 18:4 – Wise words are like deep waters; wisdom flows from the wise like a bubbling brook.
Psalms 37:30 – The godly offer good counsel; they teach right from wrong. They have made God’s law their own, so they will never slip from His path.
Proverbs 27:17 – As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
Proverbs 27:9 – The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.
Proverbs 13:19 – It is pleasant to see dreams come true, but fools refuse to turn from evil to attain them.
*How about you? Do you struggle to keep your focus before God on your own heart? What are some things you’ve done to correct this problem?