"Civil courage...depends on a God who demands responsible action in a bold venture of faith, and who promises forgiveness and consolation to the man who becomes a sinner in that venture." --Dietrich Bonhoeffer


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Made for Each Other--The Power of Team

I overheard a good friend tell his son, a week or two ago, "You live in an over-sexed culture." I must add over-sexed and individualistic.

Where have man-woman partnerships gone? There was a time, not long ago, in our country's history when men and women worked together as teams. Both inside and outside of marriage, men and women treated each other not as products to be consumed but as potential partners deserving of the respect inherent to their very nature.
Prince Albert and Queen Victoria with their family  

As a young girl, I sadly bought into the cultural lie that boys are products; I felt constantly pressured to try them on like t-shirts at the shopping mall. I began evaluating boys in the basis of how sexually pleasing they were. The ultimate question I would ask myself with every new guy I met was, "would I kiss him?"

I don't believe I can state strongly enough how devastating this behavior is. It destroys God's ordained arrangements for healthy human relationships. Both men and women in our culture today are guilty of playing the part of consumers while treating each other as products. This has radically altered our appetites. Now, instead of searching for life-long partners, we have placed sexual satisfaction at the center of intimate relationships.

The ultimate problem with this bad behavior is that sex cannot fix our broken hearts. The only way to find true satisfaction with our sexual counterparts is to dive into friendship with them, developing a partnership that is founded on accountability, forgiveness, and mutual growth.  

The power in male-female teamwork can potentially change the world. A few noteworthy couples who unlocked friendship in their marriages left behind them a legacy that will never be forgotten:

Adam and Eve started the human race.

Abraham and Sarah beget the nation of Israel. 

Joseph and Mary raised the Son of God.

John and Abigail Adams founded the United States.

Price Albert and Queen Victoria piloted their nation's greatest era.

Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis yoked their intellectual geniuses and formed a powerful team of thinkers.

I just want to make it clear here that I'm not poo-pooing Eros, the romantic love between lovers. I firmly believe that falling in love brings people together powerfully and, if carefully tended, lovers can maintain this sentiment throughout the rest of their relationship. However, the initial spark that kindles lovers was never intended to last. Eros may be the spark that ignites, but Philia, friendship love, is the flame that burns through the night.  

Two Hearts on Beach
"The greatest of these is love..."
When I meet someone new, instead of examining him on the basis of how sexually pleasing he is, I ask myself the question, "Does he have a Divine Appointment?" The most important person in a Christian's life is Jesus who alone gives people the ability to love one another the way they should. Regardless of whether or not a certain guy ends up being the one who will sweep me off my feet, he will be someone's lover and until that day he must work tirelessly to become the man God created him to be. Even if I get to enjoy just a moment of his personality, I know it's worth it to be friends if by doing so we are encouraged in the faith. 

In America today we are surrounded by broken cities, dysfunctional families, corrupt institutions, and lost children. All the while we have, built into our very nature, the power to shape the course of history through the simple union of one man and one woman. This union is more powerful than we acknowledged which makes it devastating that pride and selfishness should break it like a fragile toothpick. 

Marriage must be protected now matter how hard it is to do so. I believe the most effective means of protection is the constant nurturing of friendship between couples. Friendship is designed to withstand large amounts of stress and conflict. Healthy friendship in marriage considers the sin-factor and prepares for inevitable relational complications by valuing each sinful person as Christ values them. By this I mean that in friendship we become sin destroyers who understand the importance of eradicating evil in order to preserve the integrity of the relationship. A good friendship and a well-tended garden share many similarities one of which being a surprising absence of weeds. 

I know I've probably gone to deep with this one; it certainly took me at least two weeks to finish. So many rabbit holes have opened up that I will have to chase another time in other posts. Ah well, it gives me something to chew on for a while:)

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