Imagine- you’re in the midst of dinner, and your daughter reaches out for the butter dish. As her arm stretches out across the table, she inadvertently knocks over her glass of milk. Everything at the table freezes, and gasps are heard from her sisters as all eyes immediately look to you. There is a layer of fear masking her face as she waits for your response. You can’t believe she would ever do such a thing. How could she be so careless? She obviously has no right sitting at this table. You respond by asking her to leave the house.
That would never happen, obviously.
As much as we might get frustrated as our children develop their fine motor skills, our Love for them far outweighs any accident they might make. As they grow, our children experience that Love, and learn it’s depth. They have the ability to form their identity around the perceived Love felt toward them.
It’s the same in our marriages. Imagine if I’d accidentally turned my wife’s favorite white shirt pink by washing it with a brand new Detroit Redwings jersey. Walking up the stairs from the laundry room, I keep my head down, knowing she’ll be unhappy. As I show her the shirt, her jaw drops at my incompetence. She tells me firmly that I’m not good enough for her anymore, and there’s the door.
Thank goodness, that would never happen either. 🙂
A marriage is not two perfect people discovering step by step how perfectly they were “created for each other”, so that every step closer to each other is a step toward perfect wedded bliss. Marriage is two imperfect people, committing to a life together where we are continually refined, forgiven, and grow in our ability to reflect the Love of God.
1 John chapter 4 talks quite a bit about the Love of God. You’ve probably heard the song, “Beloved, Let Us Love One Another, for Love is of God, and anyone that loves is born of God….etc.” But I want to point out a verse found later in the chapter…
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
Apparently this was an issue in the early church, and one that is still found in some areas of our walk with God. The above situations seem obviously silly. No parent or spouse would ever respond that way. Why? Because of their love for the other. Yet, many times we’ll attribute that same judgmental love to God. We don’t serve a God who’s sitting up straight, nose high, at the end of the table just waiting for one of his clumsy children to spill the milk. He’s not shaking his head at how incompetent His bride is, as she stumbles along attempting to be the Body of Christ.
As we continue to grow in our faith, and learn about how we are loved by God, we are able to let go of our Spiritual “performance anxiety”. We are freed from sin, but we may still spill the milk on occasion. We’ll put ourselves before others. We’ll make rather silly decisions that require a bit of cleaning up. The same is true of those we love. Thankfully, one of the most emphasized messages throughout scripture is the overwhelming Love of God. Love that we are called to echo in our own lives, toward others as we follow God together.
May we respond lovingly to the milk-spillers in our lives this week, knowing that our own wobbly arms often knock the glass over as well…