All posts by Glen Gaugh

Promoting 1st Century Faith in our 21st Century World.

The Value of Walls

(Photo credit http://www.agapebiblestudy.com/documents/)

When everyone around you finds their lives in shambles, even people you never thought would give in, and especially those in the world who are looking for a hope in someone, they are going to flee to the great, walled city. And what will you offer them? What will the church offer them? Will they find safety and security?

“Then I came to the governors beyond the river, and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me. When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel.
Nehemiah‬ ‭2:9-10‬‬‬‬‬‬

Nehemiah surveyed the wall and determined the damage.

Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach. Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work. But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king?”
‭‭Nehemiah‬ ‭2:17-19‬ ‭‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Walls work. If you want to create a defensible position, pick a position that puts a barrier, preferably an impenetrable barrier, between you and your enemy.

If you have a property that needs to be defended, and no barrier exists, you build a barrier. You build a wall.

Jerusalem is a prime example. Named Jebus while a capital of the Jebusites, David conquered it and made it the capital of his kingdom in Israel. The original Walls of Jerusalem were completed by Solomon and stood for about 200 years without being breached. The first breach in the wall was made by the Israelite king Joash when he prevailed over Amaziah, king of Judah.

Uzziah (Azariah) repaired the walls, added catapults and towers, and prepared towers in the desert to extend the defensive capabilities in the kingdom, after his father Amaziah was killed. Joash added some towers and castles in the wilderness. It was a time of renewal for the defenses of Jerusalem

Following after, wicked king Ahaz paid no attention to the status of Zion’s defenses. He was happy to let in anything that seemed right to him. He was content to go outside of the walls and away from the Temple to worship false gods in groves set on high places. The walls were weak and started to decay. The gates were open when they should have been closed.

This was the state of things when Hezekiah rose to power as king of Judah. 2 Chronicles 29 tells us he brought back the priests and Levites to be consecrated. He instructed them to purify the Temple. This took so long they had to delay the Passover celebration. But when they had the feast, Hezekiah called everyone to Jerusalem- come inside the walls- and celebrate God’s salvation together. 2 Chron. 30:26 tells us there had not been such a celebration since the time of Solomon.

The revival that Hezekiah called for led the people to go out of the city, break down the idols, saw down the pagan groves, and restore the land to Jehovah.

There remained something to be done however, and it went unnoticed until a threat rose up. The wall was broken down. It became a source of grave concern when the Assyrians rose up to attack Judah. The walled cities of the kingdom were attacked first. The defenses that were placed “out there” were captured first. People fled from their own cities to Jerusalem. The 10 tribes of Israel outside of Judah were carried away into captivity at this time.
Hezekiah knew that an enemy had arisen to threaten them.

When everyone around you finds their lives in shambles, even people you never thought would give in, and especially those in the world who are looking for a hope in someone, they are going to flee to the great, walled city. And what will you offer them? What will the church offer them? Will they find safety and security?

Hezekiah thought he could get away with paying his way out of danger. 2 Kings 18:14-15 tells us that the king sent to Sennnacherib asking for a price- what will it take for you to leave us alone? The price was so high that Hezekiah emptied the treasury of silver, and cut the gold off of the doors of the Temple, to satisfy the ransom.

No doubt, Hezekiah’s intentions were good. But there is no alternative to dealing with evil other than to destroy it. There are no substitutes for walls

Hezekiah broadened the defenses by adding an outer wall to the city. He repaired the breaches that had developed over years of neglect. He prepared shields and darts and set captains over the army. He stored up water to prepare for a siege, while cutting off the water supply to Sennacherib’s armies (2 Ch. 32:3-6). He told the people:

“Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.”
‭‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭32:7-8‬ ‭KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

‬Sennacherib sent his captains to taunt and to overthrow the people’s confidence. Why do you listen to Hezekiah? What makes you believe your God will deliver you, when so many nations have fallen before our king? The people listened from their safe perch atop their wall.

It’s time to tell the devil, “Put up, or shut up. Talk is cheap. You’re standing at the base of this wall I’ve put up. It looks to me like I’m the one with the advantage here. I’m the one on the high ground.”

The world will accuse you. You aren’t supposed to defend yourself. You aren’t supposed to go against the grain. You’re supposed to go with the path of least resistance. That’s the way of the world; it always has been, and always will be.

Eventually the entire wall was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar when he carried the inhabitants away to Babylon.

This was the state of the city walls when Nehemiah came to Jerusalem with the blessing of King Xerxes. Heaps of ruins lay where the wall had stood, and much of the material was compromised by fire.

Nehemiah’s sorrow when he heard the state of Jerusalem was apparent to the king, and his passion to do something about it prompted him to request leave to go to his city to rebuild it.

Isaiah had warned:

“And it shall come to pass, that thy choicest valleys shall be full of chariots, and the horsemen shall set themselves in array at the gate. And he discovered the covering of Judah, and thou didst look in that day to the armour of the house of the forest. Ye have seen also the breaches of the city of David, that they are many: and ye gathered together the waters of the lower pool. And ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses have ye broken down to fortify the wall. Ye made also a ditch between the two walls for the water of the old pool: but ye have not looked unto the maker thereof, neither had respect unto him that fashioned it long ago.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭22:7-11‬ ‭KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

It seems Hezekiah heeded the warning, but the generations that followed did not. Judah had its reckoning.

I wish we would be in such sorrow as Nehemiah was in, and have such passion, to rebuild the breaches that have been made in our lives, our homes, our church, and our society. The lack of conscious attention to the walls of protection is what landed the kingdom in this place to begin with.

What do you have that’s so important, so valuable, that you need to build walls around it to protect it?

The Gospel- [Phl 1:7 KJV] Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.
[1Pe 3:15 KJV] But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

The Faith- [Jde 1:3 KJV] Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort [you] that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Integrity- [Pro 11:3 KJV] 3 The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.
[Pro 19:1 KJV] 1 Better [is] the poor that walketh in his integrity, than [he that is] perverse in his lips, and is a fool.
[Pro 20:7 KJV] 7 The just [man] walketh in his integrity: his children [are] blessed after him.

The soul- [Pro 22:5 KJV] 5 Thorns [and] snares [are] in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.

A person with well-built walls is a person of conviction. Deciding what is right based on applying God’s word and a desire to please God no matter the cost- that is wall building. You never have to repent over keeping strong boundaries.

Setting boundaries (“building walls”) will come with its share of difficulties. Dr. Henry Cloud states in a recent post,

“The angry person has a character problem. If you reinforce this character problem, it will return tomorrow and the next day in other situations. It is not the situation that’s making the person angry, but the feeling that they are entitled to things from others. They want to control others and, as a result, they have no control over themselves. So, when they lose their wished-for control over someone, they “lose it.” They get angry.”

The scripture from Nehemiah 2:10 said they were grieved exceedingly that there was a man who cared about the welfare of Israel. You’re going to tick off a lot of people when you decide that it’s time to make a change. Others around you will be grieved, even angry, defensive, and on the attack.

What happened to you? “You’re tearing down the gods you worshipped,” Sennacherib’s messengers said. You’re a drunk, a fornicator, a liar, a thief, a cheat, negligent, a deadbeat dad. “Believe the lies we tell about you.”

Like Sanballot and his ilk, they’ll say, “What are you doing? Is this some sort of rebellion? You can’t do that, you’re under our authority. You’re mine! You can’t build those walls! Look how weak you are, how flimsy your defenses! A fox will breathe on you and you’ll crumble!”

The world will accuse you. You aren’t supposed to defend yourself. You aren’t supposed to go against the grain. You’re supposed to go with the path of least resistance. That’s the way of the world; it always has been, and always will be. “Rebellion and anarchy,” if you upset their fun or make them feel convicted over how their living.

These are the people who claim your successes, but skip out when you lose your kids, your family, your home, your place in the church, your standing in the community.

Answer them like Nehemiah- “The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.”
‭‭Nehemiah‬ ‭2:20‬ ‭KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Walls will protect you. A strong boundary and selective criteria for what you allow in are necessary. See the value of walls- rise up and build.

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A Start-Again DadStory

Photo: Getting ready to break’em in at the Buck Creek St. Jude Trail Ride in Alamo, TN.

It was quite a morning. Crisp fall weather made the horses lively to begin with. While my dad’s mount has been on rides in the past, my little steed had not been off the farm since arriving on the premises since he was 2 years ago- maybe 10 or 12 years ago. Horses seem to arrive on the old homestead but never leave. It was time to turn this pasture rat into a lean, mean, trail-eating machine.

We were saddling up for the Buck Creek St. Jude Trail Ride, West Tennessee’s largest trail ride and a huge moneymaker for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. We had never attended in the past. Along with the fun day of horseback riding and helping a great cause, my dad and I needed the chance to get a couple of horses ready for a 3-day trail ride later this month.

Every sight, sound, and moving tree branch got ol’ Sonny’s attention. There were horses as far as the eye could see, and he was on sensory overload. Dead-broke, but green and unpredictable in the new environment, this promised to be interesting.

 

A little about me and my cowboy cred- I’ve ridden all my life. Trail rides, chasing calves, riding buckers bareback in the pasture, 4-H horse shows, raising and training foals, and rehabilitating former race horses into moldable hunter-jumpers or fox hunting mounts are all a part of my resume. Riding was a huge part of my life until I went off to college.

Then, like so many things in life, horse-related activity came to a stand still. I left some things undone, like the colt I raised but never quite got trained. I left some things neglected- my old saddle I bought when I was 12 with money I earned working construction with my dad.

I came back home, and as I started building a life with a family of my own, riding and working the farm didn’t materialize as priorities. Time remained stopped on these old childhood dreams for a while yet. I married, worked, started and finished 2 college degrees, had children, and started a career.

The story has been told time and again- you never know what you’ve got until you try to live without it. The refrain over and over is that children grow up and leave the farm for better things, only to return to their roots in agriculture and rural living. Prodigals returning. I guess that’s me.

Change, even desired change, is very difficult. Change is especially difficult when you look back and realize the distance and the effort it will take to get to where you want to be. I’ve experienced it all. Physical health, higher education, relationships, and especially ministry and Christian living. In each of these areas, I have looked back and wondered, “How did I get so far from where I should be? And can I ever get back on track?”

The answer to the first question doesn’t matter so much, at least not at first. What is important is understanding that getting where you want to be in any area of life begins with deciding on a first step and taking it. Then, it’s a series of steps over time that gets you to the outcome you want. Guilt will try to overtake you because of the things you neglected or the time you wasted. There’s nothing to be done about that now. Guilt is counterproductive; it will stop you from acting. And action is paramount to achieving.

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:13‬ ‭NLT

‬‬God gives grace. First Corinthians 13:13 speaks of faith, hope, and love. Hope is best defined as having determination and direction- a will and a way. In this scriptural context, faith provides the will, and love is the way. Hope falls in the overlap of faith and love, so if you have no faith, you have no hope. If you have no love, you have no hope. You may be driven and you may have a plan to achieve what you want in life, but without the faith in God and the love of Jesus Christ, you’ll never overcome the times of crushing doubt about the future, or guilt about the past.

It is amazing the difference 20 miles under saddle will make in a horse. Sonny has a long way to go, but he got a good start today. It wasn’t perfect, but it was an achievement. I have a long way to go, too. My steps so far have been slow and sometimes faltering. But I want to see my boys have the benefit of knowing Jesus, family, and a few good horses in their lifetime. I want to build something that’s ours under God. Something meaningful. And there is no way to do that, other than to start.

You want to start something today? Let me know; I’d love to hear about it.

 

A DadStory About Contentment

Photo: 5 years ago as of the day of this posting. There’s something great about this time of year!

It was a beautiful day. All 208.8 miles of it.

The first thing I noticed- the sun was bright and the breeze was cool. It was some of the most autumn of all the autumn weather we’ve had so far in West Tennessee. A lot of asphalt was being laid on the highways. It’s finally cool enough I guess, and the extra tax money we’re contributing must have kicked in.

I saw the fullest, whitest cotton fields I’ve seen all season driving through Crockett County. They were even picking some when I came through Dyer County. Dust clouds arose from the bean and corn fields- It is that strange and wonderful time when everything is ready all at once.

Trees are still green, though. Which is fine. There’s no reason to rush the fall foliage. No sooner than it gets here, it’ll be gone. Like the way the weeks and months of 2017 have ticked down so quickly, I wonder where the year has gone, and I’m a little bit sad.

I wonder if I’m the only one who noticed all this today. Because today I have travelled for work, and the people I have met are so focused on the immediate problems in their lives that a lot of the blessings can end up going by unnoticed.

I witnessed tears today. One family experienced the wonder of new birth; another, the gut punch of miscarriage. The scars of cuts made in desperation were there. The inside scars of physical abuse, they were there today, too. Frightful parents, at the end of their rope; I saw them as well.

I spoke my recommendations. I ascertained safety. I assessed. I even spoke my piece- I told her being treated like trash doesn’t make you trash. Believe the people who care about you. If God didn’t take you, it isn’t because he hates you. He loves you and he has something left for you to do.

Somewhere, there are two kids I know are safe and sound, treated with the utmost care. I’m missing them. The highlight of my day is when I had to ask their mama to meet me halfway through Gibson County because I left something at home I needed. Circumstances put them close enough to bring me what I needed. I saw those two boys for the only few waking minutes they and I would have today. In a few minutes, when I’m done writing this, I’ll go look at them and kiss them while they sleep.

I travelled from near the Mississippi River in Northwest Tennessee to nearly the Tennessee River in the Southwest, on rural state highways; through 7 counties including my own. God sped me along safely, and I was blessed. I prayed. I looked around. I knew the day would end and the labors would end, and I felt hope.

I hope I’m not the only one who found some contentment, in the midst of the busyness, and even the tragedy, of today. In a discontented state, it’s easy to become a victim. It’s easy to blame others, even those closest to us, for our dis-ease and discomfort. We have a society of such people these days. It’s the worst when adults blame their children for the problems they experience as a family. It seems that children are either being accused or ignored these days. And in that environment, it is a learned behavior to blame others, blame circumstances, avoid responsibility. And so the world turns…

I have a better hope than that. I look forward to better things. And I can see God in everything. In the sky and the fields. In the opportunity to help another person. In the faces of my loving family. In the Word of God. If it wasn’t for the Lord, where would I be?

Just thoughts on a page. But this is my DadStory today. Do you have one? Let me know.

Education- The Most Expensive, Least Valued Thing Govenment Can Mess Up

That which is given without being earned is not appreciated. And that which the government gives away is first stolen from others who earned.

A free education is perhaps the least valued of all things granted by the government. After decades of government-run K-12 education, the workforce development folks are looking to government-run community college and eventually universal college education to prepare students for real work.

How can government-run education be any better? Let government run the entire education system?

Here are some experiences I have had lately with the homework the government has prescribed to my 5th grader.

In Social Studies, as per the curriculum for 5th graders in Tennessee, he has been learning about the Civil War and significant figures of the war. No timeline of events or battles. Just that it happened, some people were involved with it, and it led to the abolition of slavery. I would expect history would include the history of something like the American Civil War. But there is only this humanistic, interpretive standpoint being presented, in a way that boils everything down to the simplest possible terms. He is being taught what everyone who has heard about the Civil War says today. And that is the educational system’s goal- plant these seeds that will stick with students for a lifetime, a superficial, simplistic version of very complex times, issues, and individuals.

In Reading (ELA, or English Language Arts), they have been reading the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, a United Nations document adopted in 1948, that is a humanistic document based on relative truth, not absolute truth. It says, as many in the media today have tried to say, that our rights are granted by government. Because this is a document about human rights, then the impression to be gained is that government is the arbiter of what is good. Government did not teach, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” nor did it teach, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” No, the God that first taught, “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength,” is the one who taught us how to treat other people. This is the very thing I feared when I first read about the change our incoming superintendent of schools was making to the reading comprehension curriculum, and a teacher linked to the “EngageNY,” New York’s program for ELA, as an example. When I asked that teacher via a public comment on her Facebook post, if the reading requirements would be the same as New York’s, my question and the link to EngageNY were deleted.

In math, my son has been working problems involving decimals in multiple forms, one of which is called extended form. Here is an example: 6,500.6=6(10^100)+5(10^10)+6(1/10). For those who haven’t seen exponents notated this way, that is 10 to the 100th power, and 10 to the 10th power, respectively. He’s great at math, by the way. However, at my suggestion, my son asked his math teacher respectfully, “When will we ever use expanded for in real life?” She responded, “When you count money.” My son may have oversimplified her answer, but truly, if this is how money counting is being taught, it is no wonder most people require a machine to tell them correct change owed.

The Chamber of Commerce, one of the very institutions lamenting that lack of a ready workforce to attract new industry, supports Common Core curriculum. The education system is bent on testing and teaching to the test. A 4-year college degree is still the ticket to success as reported in government schools, and the State now pays for 2-year degrees as a way to propel any and all students toward a Bachelor’s degree. Tennessee wants to get to 55% of all Tennesseans having a 4-year degree.

But you can’t have it both ways. You can have government-indoctrinated, social justice-styled drones, or you can have well-educated, well-informed, and skillful graduates that are ready to take on a variety of expanded educational opportunities. As long as politicians and cronies present government as the solution, and as long as the average American believes them, we will continue this spiral. And we haven’t even gotten onto the subject of corporate welfare…

7 Things That Amaze Me

Thirteen of us raised money for St. Jude by running the Marathon for Memories in Trenton, TN on Sept. 16th. I’m amazed by these people!

  • The love of God through Jesus Christ, that when we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

  • The generosity of people. Twenty-nine teams of runners raised over $17,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital on Saturday at the Marathon for Memories in Trenton, TN (thanks, Mark Finton and family). Churches and church organizations of all kinds raised money and provided relief, and will continue to do so, following this summer’s massive hurricanes in Texas and Florida (Shout out to First Church (UPC) of Pearland; the United Pentecostal Church Relief Fund and affiliated organizations, Compassion Services International and Reach Out America, the latter of which received some of the $1 million President Trump donated; and my own local church at Beech Bluff UPC, among many, many others).

  • The upbringing of a family that works hard and cares about people. Thanks, Mom and Dad.

  • The love and servant heart of a wife who never stops loving, who gets cracked up in the oddest way by the things I say or do and who will step out on faith as long as she is convinced God is in it. She made the decision to give a sacrificial offering to the missionary who visited on Sunday when she knew better than anyone we could have used it on something else. Something else that would have been of far lower value. Thanks, baby.

  • Amazing sons. They’re fun and full of personality. They’re great at reading AND math. They love animals and Jesus, and Mommy and Daddy. And they’re lights in a dark world. Not just for us either…

  • A home in the greatest State of the Greatest Nation on Earth. We are duty-bound to pray and stand up for this home with which we are blessed.

  • The calling to be saved, loved of God, and a minister of His Word. It’s the most amazing thing there is.

Bonus thing I’m amazed by: the speed of this kid!

 

There’s a lot more to be amazed by and thankful for, but I’ll let you think of some for yourself. Care to share?

An Eye-of-the-Storm DadStory

On what do you reflect when you experience tragedy like Hurricane Harvey’s aftermath?

Hurricane Harvey is beating down on the coast of Texas, and parts further inland at this point, as I write this. I sit in comfort and safety in my home in Tennessee, praying and considering what we can do to help. I realize in the midst of this that I have so much I’m blessed with, so much to be thankful for. But I also realize that I’m missing some things. It takes times like these to realize that:

I’m not prayerful enough. Tragedy brings about a renewed interest in reaching the Almighty, as it should. It also points out that sometimes my prayers are too few or too petty. Prayer is more than cliché; its significance is greater than that of a slogan. Prayer moves mountains, but oh, how dependent I seem to be on my own strength!

I’m not prepared enough. Could my family and I survive a catastrophe of the magnitude of Hurricane Harvey? West Tennessee has its own challenges, even if we aren’t subject to hurricanes. I’m always a bit in awe of how ill-prepared I am for the storms that are likely to blow through our neck of the woods. Even more so that I seem to move so slowly to correct my ill-preparedness. How many of my human weaknesses could be remedied with a little action taken in a timely manner?

And, I’m not proud enough. Photos and stories of protests across the nation haven’t gone away entirely. But they have been shoved aside for photos of the best that humanity has to offer, as neighbors from near and far work to rescue and prepare to rebuild. It is a societal ill, even if it is en vogue at this moment, to be ashamed of our country, our people, and our values. Forget about proclaiming God’s judgment. If a storm helps me see the best in those around me, and inspires the best in me, then it is an act of God’s mercy.

My boys and I sing Ryan Stevenson’s song called Eye of the Storm. It was the first song I learned to play on guitar. It is a meaningful song, especially now. God remains in control through every storm. Having been through many storms in this life, I know that it’s true. Every passing storm shows how merciful of a God Jesus Christ is. And each storm offers us the opportunity to become stronger, more thankful, and better able to handle the next one. As tremendously devastating as Harvey is, it is just a storm. And recovery is just around the corner.

How to Communicate Without Ever Having to Say “I’m Sorry.”

What is your strategy for communicating with important people in a way that you never have to say you’re sorry?

I have been writing a lot for lessons and sermons lately, so original content for this page has been a little low. But, if it can be spoken, it can be printed. So here is one of the more significant presentations I have made over the past week. This was done for our church’s marriage and relationship workshop in Wednesdays in August.

“Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.”
‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭5:1-2‬ ‭KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“Never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father. Talk to younger men as you would to your own brothers. Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters.
‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭5:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“Do not sharply reprimand an older man, but appeal to him as [you would to] a father, to younger men as brothers, to older women as mothers, to younger women as sisters, in all purity [being careful to maintain appropriate relationships].
‭‭1 TIMOTHY‬ ‭5:1-2‬ ‭AMP‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“You have captured my heart, my treasure, my bride. You hold it hostage with one glance of your eyes, with a single jewel of your necklace. Your love delights me, my treasure, my bride. Your love is better than wine, your perfume more fragrant than spices. Your lips are as sweet as nectar, my bride. Honey and milk are under your tongue. Your clothes are scented like the cedars of Lebanon. You are my private garden, my treasure, my bride, a secluded spring, a hidden fountain.”
‭‭Song of Songs‬ ‭4:9-12‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

In the KJV, the word “treasure” in Song of Solomon chapter 4 is translated “sister.”
God has put us in a familial relationship with one another in the kingdom of God.
If you skip “sister” and go straight to “spouse,” then you have sacrificed a lot of depth and entered a relationship you have not properly developed.

The end result would be a childish relationship, an immature relationship, where certain needs have not been met, or have even been sacrificed for the sake of more pressing wants.

The consequences of skipping key developmental tasks are:

  • You become stuck at the stage at which development became interrupted
  • You have to return to that stage and learn the tasks that you would have learned in order to move forward in your life and relationship.

“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:15-21‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Following are the famous verses on how wives are to submit to their husbands, and husbands are to give their lives for their wives, as Christ did for the Church. These separated forms of submission are based on developing the submission outline in verses 15-21:

DON’T be foolish. DON’T act thoughtlessly. DON’T be drunk.
But, DO be filled with the Spirit, DO sing and speak of spiritual things, DO give thanks, and DO submit one to another. Skipping steps in spiritual development will have consequences for the married life.

In a Jenga match- which piece made the tower fall?
The last piece was the trigger, or last straw, or precipitant.

But the first piece that was pulled is just as much to blame, because it led to the next piece, and the next, and the next. And in an effort to WIN, each person in the couple was responsible for bringing down the tower.

As the blocks stacked up (unresolved problems, unaddressed issues, resentment, danger), the base of the relationship became weaker.

When I titled this session “How to Communicate Without Ever Having to Say I’m Sorry,” I caused a little confusion. I’m not referring to never having to apologize. In some cases, the earlier you say I’m Sorry, the better. I’m not addressing the problem, whatever that problem is.

I’m addressing the problem behind the problem. The problem behind the problem is how we don’t communicate about what’s bothering us. Or we communicate too aggressively. Or passive-aggressively. Or hyperbolically.

It isn’t a matter of these things happening once. It is a pattern of behavior that leads to the final straw. It isn’t about the pile of laundry that’s left lying in the floor. It’s about the pile that’s left lying in the floor again. It’s about the feeling that says, “I’m unappreciated.” And if it was only the laundry, it may not be so bad, but the problem is also that there are other signs you’re being unappreciative that find their outlet in the laundry argument- “Why do you ALWAYS leave your dirty laundry in the floor?” Or the more common passive-aggressive or silent treatment.

The problem behind the problem is you won’t say you feel unappreciated.
The problem behind the problem is that you may erupt.
The problem behind the problem is that you might withdraw or withhold.
The problem behind the problem is that any of these reactions might be an act of manipulation. You will never get a change in behavior through manipulation.

Any of these malignant modes of communication will eventually lead to you saying, “I’m sorry,” if you want to save or maintain the health of your relationship. That means saying I’m sorry on top of whatever you may actually need to apologize for. And if you were not in the wrong to begin with, you will be in the wrong after communicating in one of these ways. Two wrongs do not make a right.

No one just snaps and kills someone. The victim may be random, but the violence is not. How often is your spouse your victim? Is he or she really the problem? And if so, did you just handle it correctly? In other words, without having to say your sorry?

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭6:45‬ ‭KJV‬‬