What my parents didn’t teach me about marriage – Part 3

Two weeks ago, we started this new blog series that focused upon the things my parents didn’t teach me based upon some of the issues we see today.  Again, please don’t take any of the following blogs as a guilt trip to those who have struggled or have made mistakes.  I do not elevate anyone, including my parents, above Christ. But I do obey scripture to “give honor to whom honor is due.”

To catch up, read Part 1  and Part 2 of the series here.

Part 3…what didn’t my parents teach me?  They didn’t teach me to withhold encouragement.  

I stand by a statement I said to our congregation at Kfirst on March 23rd, 2013:

“If you are NOT an encourager, you will NEVER become the spouse/parent God wants you to be.”

That message was a crossroads for me as a believer and pastor.  I remember the season of ministry I was in. It was astounding the amount of people (including pastors) that were calling me just discouraged.  They were broken and bruised.  These people were either beat up by discouragement or starved by the lack of encouragement.

What does that have to do with what I learned from my parents and or marriage? Well, first of all, they were married.  Secondly, they are pastors.  I have seen them discouraged in life and ministry.  Yet of all of the things they didn’t teach me, they didn’t teach me to allow their circumstances to make them serve encouragement sparingly.

I don’t think of a single time in my life where I didn’t see them encourage each other, their children, or the congregation they served.  I can’t even recall moments in my life as a child/teen/adult where they were not the first to step up as an encourager in my life.  Believe me, they’ve had every excuse to not be encouraging. I’ve seen people treat them terribly.  As a pastor’s kid, I’ve watched discouraging moments happen to them.  People have taken advantage of their kindness.  Others have turned their back on them.  Circumstances have come and gone that would’ve depleted anyone of joy…yet, no excuses were given and words of edification were always in great supply.

Now, I recognize that many people (possibly you the reader) never had that growing up and/or have it now as an adult.  As stated in my first blog of this series, they’re not perfect.  But their example has shown me this:

No matter if you had someone to encourage you in your past or not…
No matter what you are dealing with right now…
No matter if there’s no one in your corner right now…

…you can and should be an encourager.

Proverbs 11:25 “he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”

The cycle of discouragement must stop here and NOW. You may have an excuse to not encourage.  We all do.  I know my parents did and probably still do.  Life is hard.  Sometimes life just plain sucks. But there’s something powerful about the issue of encouragement: when we launch out to refresh others, we get refreshed.    I don’t believe the refreshing comes from others.  I believe it comes from the Lord.  If you are depending upon your spouse (or anyone for that matter) to be the one to “fresh” you, it is clear that your life is centered upon deriving meaning, purpose, and joy from limited finite sources.  In Christ we find life.  And it’s from Him we get refreshed.

Stop waiting for others to refresh and replenish you.  Don’t wait for your spouse to be the one to take the first step.  Christ didn’t wait till we were ready to receive him to give hope to our discouraging circumstances.  He gave.

And because he gave…we too can give.

Keep encouraging.  Keep refreshing and let Christ help you become the spouse you need to be.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

 

A Demotivated Marriage

BARRINGER0039

There’s a company called “Despair Inc.” Yes they are real.  Their statement is: “We’ve been demotivating people since we were founded in Dallas in 1998. We’re currently based in Austin, where we employ a small group of very bitter, depressed Texans.”

They’re responsible for posters like:

governmentdemotivator

mistakesdemotivator

and

sanitydemotivator

With statements like “AT DESPAIR, WE OFFER THE CURE FOR HOPE. AND FOR SURPRISINGLY AFFORDABLE PRICES,” it’s hard to believe people pour money into despair.  But they do and apparently have been since 1998. 

I can’t say this will be the most original marriage blog.  The idea for this came from two other blogs.  Kevin B. Bullard’s great post 10 Ways to Demotivate Your Husband came out just a few days ago.  It was followed up by another fellow marriage blogger with 10 Ways to Demotivate Your Bride.

With me preaching on “Encouragement” on Sunday, this subject has been pressing on my mind.  For me, their two articles were the confirmation I needed to my weekly Friday marriage blog.  This blog reminds me a bit of my September 20th, 2012 blog “Want to sabotage your marriage? I can help!!

So here I go: Dave’s 10 Demotivators for spouses looking to suck the life out of your mate. 

1 – Compare him/her to your someone else. It could be your parents.  Or better yet, compare him/her to your best friend’s spouse. Wait, I’ve got a better one: compare your mate to someone on TV or in the movies…because that’s all about real life.

2 – Criticism inside and outside the home. Make sure you do well and often.   It keeps your spouse from wanting to come home  and gives you more alone time. Make sure you’re friends know how little you think of your spouse by voicing your criticism of your mate. After all, it’ll make you look better. Right?

3 – Use sex as a weapon. If you want it more than your spouse, use guilt.  If your spouse has the greater desire: withhold it till you can get what you want. Remember, you have to take care of you. If it’s not important to you, he/she should respect that.

4 – Divide and conquer.  A united front is overplayed and so cliché.  Let your children know who’s really in charge of the home.  Only support your spouse if they’re standing right there. Don’t be afraid to throw some insults into the mix.  It’ll build character.

5 – Allow other people, especially parents and siblings, to talk bad about your spouse. Remember, they’ve known you since you were born and, therefore, have every right to say what they want to you.  Your spouse is the outsider.  They are family.

6 – Do you best to make decisions without talking to your spouse. God gave you a brain to use.  Why communicate with your spouse? You’re less likely to get what you want.  You’re less likely to benefit more from the decision if someone else is involved.

7 – Talk down to him/her…and use some volume. Show that you have the upper hand in the relationship.  Yell.  Shout.  Whatever it takes. Talk to him/her like one of your kids. Why not? It’s what you’ve seen in some of your friends marriages before they got divorced…wait…

8 – Only reciprocate the effort you’re getting. In other words, your spouse may be worn out, tired, and only be able to give, what seems to be, just a little bit. Well, refuse to pour more into the relationship unit he/she can step it up. After all, it’s a 50/50 proposition. If my spouse gives some, THEN I give some.

9 – Don’t help with anything. You don’t remember your dad/mom getting the help your spouse is “requiring.” And they made it just fine…well sort of. Anyways, it’s time to tell them to suck it up and get over it. Besides, if he/she wants help, they should help you first.

10 – Keep a running list of what’s wrong. You may call it unforgiveness or bitterness. I call it character development. How is he/she going to learn if they don’t hear about what he/she has done wrong…and hear about it often.

Do you have more to add to the list?  I’ll cut the sarcasm and leave you with the scripture I’m preaching out of on Sunday.

Proverbs 11:25 …those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” 

Be a motivator…be an encourager…be a servant and refresh your spouse.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

It takes an Onesiphorus to reach the world

Barringer black and white against the green wall

Thoughts from my devos to day…I thought I’d share some ramblings…

I judge all names on how they would look on sports jerseys.  I know it’s weird, but I follow that thought up with how the name sounds from an announcer calling out the name on a huge play during a game.

I’m not sure if Onesiphorus (oh – neh – see – fuh – ruhs) would fit on a sports jersey, let alone, be pronounceable for the average sports announcer. But this man-made a profound impact on the Apostle Paul. This morning, Onesiphorus made a profound impact on me.

16 May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, 17 but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me— 18 may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.  2 Timothy 1:16-18

Onesiphorus…

1 – “often refreshed me” The word “refreshed” means to recover breath.

2 – “was not ashamed of my chains” Why is this important?  Because it hints that, not only were others ashamed, Onesiphorus seems to be the only one what wasn’t.

3 – “he searched for me earnestly and found me” The fact that Paul was in jail didn’t deter Onesiphorus.

4 – “all the service he rendered” Onesiphorus wasn’t content or complacent. He served.

My simple reading through 2 Timothy gave me some simple observations that will help equip you to reach the world around you.  (When I say “world,” I speak of your sphere of influence that you are surrounded by every day.)

Are we people who are considered “refreshing”? Do we tire people out with our gossip and slander? Do people hear nothing but complaining from us? Do people feel drained after a conversation with us?  On a marriage note: Does your spouse look at you as refreshing? Are they excited to come home because it’s “refreshing”?

OR…are they built up? Have they experienced the love of Christ from their interaction with  you? Is there  the character of Christ showing through you? Can people say you were a “breath of fresh air”?

Do we stand in judgement over people’s “chains”? People get enough shame from others, the enemy, and themselves. They don’t need it from the body of Christ. They need you to see past the “chains,” the things they’re bound by, and they need you to see them the same way Christ sees them.  There needs to be a display of His kindness that leads to repentance. There needs to be a display of the Spirit’s power working through you.  Remember, your chains didn’t stop Christ, they motivated him.

Do you “search” or seek out those that need to be found?  Onesiphorus didn’t allow Paul to just be label as missing or an outcast.  He didn’t just pray.  Onesiphorus put actions (the word earnestly means actively or diligently) to his prayers. Jesus prayed AND reached out.  He sat, had a meal, and spoke of the kingdom of God. Have a resolve to put flesh to the Gospel in your workplace, neighborhood, and family. Show the heart of Christ that earnestly sought you.

Have you taken an opportunity to “serve”? There’s not much known about Onesiphorus. But apparently he was a legend in Ephesus for one reason: he served. It sounds so simple. Do you know why? Because it is that simple. Serving is not complicated. Sometimes it’s helping a fellow employee without them knowing. Perhaps it’s assisting a family on your block that the Lord has laid upon your heart. It isn’t about notoriety. It’s not even about getting them to church. You are the church.  Live to serve someone today.

I don’t know if you got anything from this…but Onesiphorus challenged me today.

And I hope he challenges you too.

Thanks for letting me ramble…