Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A House Divided

Some may wonder why it is a big deal to live with a spouse who does not believe as you do, or isn't devoted to following after God and his commands in the way that you are. As I was reading Deut. 6: 4-9 I was struck by how hard it is to talk about God's commandments and his truths all throughout the day when the one you are with is a skeptic, a gnostic, or antagonistic. How easy it is to talk about the things of God with those who are like-minded. Does the conversation ever get stilted? Is your joy increased or diminished in such company? How empty and shallow the conversation must be when minds and hearts are not in tune.

I would ask those of you who do not know what it is like to walk a lonely road like this to imagine for a moment that your deepest thoughts, the deepest revelations of God into your soul are unwelcome, unwanted, misunderstood, or simply unappreciated. Imagine what a gulf--a divide--exists in this kind of marriage. What a loneliness there must be when you cannot share the thoughts that take up your days. Can you imagine? Even where there is no open hostility, it would be like talking all day to someone who doesn't even speak the same language.

I feel this way to a lesser extent when I get around people who love baseball. To me, baseball is like watching paint dry. I don't get the fascination. I don't understand the excitement. As far as I can tell, the only interesting positions are catcher, pitcher and the guy at bat. The batter seems to fail more than he succeeds, a "perfect" game is where nothing happens. The pitcher throws the ball, and inning after inning it lands in the catcher's mitt. Wake me when it's over.

I suspect this is what it's like to listen to the conversation of people who are excited about God, about what he's doing, and about what they are learning in scripture if you aren't a believer. Even if you are friendly toward those people, their excitement baffles you.

How then do we, in effect, show our team spirit and wear the jersey, put the pennant on the wall, plaster the car with bumper stickers, and carry on the never ending conversation about batting statistics, league scores, the injured list, etc., when the other person falls into a stupor within seconds of the start of conversation? The fact is, we don't. We mention the game. We smile broadly when there is a win. And we spend time with those who "get it".

At home, however, the conversation about this important area of life is minimal. The one we love does not love what we love, does not love who we love, is not interested in what interests us.

Oh, it can't help but show. After all, a girl in love with the Rockies is going to wind up with black and purple ribbons in her hair, or wearing the t-shirt to bed, and a woman or a man in love with Christ is going to have their Bible around, may have a special verse taped to the bathroom mirror, or may wear a shirt from their church or a Third Day concert, but a lot of what goes on in their heart and head will stay inside until they are with others who also believe.

So, if you have one of those marriages where you can talk about God as you walk, as you sit, as you work, and can share your deepest thoughts, rejoice, but don't be so quick to leave the church service where the guy or gal who shows up without their spouse seems to want to linger and talk. Don't shut them out. They need to share with like-minded folks.

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