“Did You Know…? Mom…? Dad…?”

If you have one of the varied entertainment packages and aren’t stuck with network TV or Netflix, you’ve probably seen the commercial (over and over) telling parents they need to get their 11 or 12 year old sons or daughters vaccinated against HPV (Human Papillomavirus).   This is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the US and apparently it’s the only thing parents have to worry about with their soon-to-be adolescent youngsters.  The commercial ends with a young girl or boy asking the question in the title.

It’s a telling commentary on the state of our culture that it believes that this is what is to be parents’ main concern.

Children are a great responsibility.  Through Moses, God has some instructions to Israel about how they were to raise their children.  In Deuteronomy 11:19, He said, “You shall teach them [“these words of mine,” v. 18] to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”   He has a great deal to say about about marriage, intimacy, family, about life in general and our responsibility to Him, to ourselves and to others, and about the results of disobeying or disregarding His Word.  We see the results of this all around our society and culture in messed-up kids and adults.  It’s not up to the church or the Sunday School to teach your kids about the things of God; these may have a place, but it’s your responsibility. 

“Did you know…?  Mom…?  Dad…?”

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“An Eye for an Eye”.

Here is the first time such a phrase occurs in the Old Testament:

If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished as the woman’s husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.  But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,  burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe, Exodus 21:22-25.

“A woman with child.”

Not “a fetus,” not “a byproduct of conception” (!), not just a lump of cells, but a “child.”

Our world may have decided that the unborn are disposable at the convenience of the mother, but God considered them to be deserving of the same protection against harm and injury as anybody who had made it through the birth canal.

And, yes, I know what the Lord Jesus said about “an eye for an eye” in Matthew 5:38-42.  I doubt that He had this particular situation in mind when He said it.

There’s a lot that could be said about the text in Exodus, which we’ll not get into.

Scripture uniformly says that God is interested and involved in the development of a child from the moment of conception.  We grant this normally is through DNA and the process of development in the mother’s womb – a “natural” process.  But because it is “natural,” science says that “God” can’t possibly be involved – there is no God to be involved.  It’s a “natural” process.  That’s all.  But where did the DNA and the process come from?  Did they just conveniently evolve “naturally” along with everything else – all those countless “everything elses” that are necessary for it to work?  And all at the same time, so that it could work?

Blind, random chance?

Mutation?

It seems to me it takes a great deal more “faith” to believe in that than it does that God created it and sees to it that it keeps on working.  It’s strange how the evolutionist and the Christian can look at the same “evidence” – the marvels of “nature,” whether through the microscope or the telescope, the intricacy and complexity of the human body – and arrive at completely opposite conclusions.  The evolutionist says, “Well, that’s just because Christians are ignorant.”

I guess it depends on what one chooses to be “ignorant” about.

Here are just a few of the Scriptures which speak about God and an unborn child.

Genesis 25:23, And the LORD said to her [Rebekah, Isaac’s wife, who was having a difficult pregnancy], “Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body.” 

“Two nations.”

Not just two little boys, but “nations”.  God looked at their descendants, as well as at them.  When an unborn baby dies, he or she’s not the only one.  All those who would have descended from them also, in effect, die.

Have you ever thought about how many people it took to get you here?  You think of your parents, your grandparents, perhaps even your great-grandparents.  Just for fun, take it back 20 generations, to about the time of the Reformation.  You might be surprised at how many people were alive then, not necessarily all exact contemporaries, who contributed part of the DNA that you carry, which they got from their parents and ancestors.  They had a part in what color your eyes are, the color of your hair, how tall you are, whether you’re musical or can’t carry a tune, etc., etc.  It’s really mind-blowing when you think about it.

This generational “identity,” if you will, is how the Scripture could say that Levi paid tithes in Abraham, cf. Hebrews 7:9, 10.

Genesis 29:31, When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb…. Here is just one of several verses which describe the Lord as opening or closing the womb.

Judges 16:17, Samson, in his foolish dalliance with Delilah, “…I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb.”  Indeed, his mother had been instructed about what she could or could not eat while she was carrying him, cf. Judges 13:13, 14.  The idea that a mother’s diet could affect her child is not a new idea.

Job 31:15, in describing why he couldn’t be harsh or unjust to his servants, male or female, Job said, “Did not He who made me in the womb make them?  Did not the same One fashion us in the womb?” 

Psalm 22:9, 10, a prophecy of the Messiah, perhaps as He hung on the Cross, cf. v.8, But You are He who took Me out of My mother’s womb; You made Me trust You while on My mother’s breasts.  I was cast upon You from birth.  From My mother’s womb, You have been My God.  If it’s argued that this refers to Messiah’s birth and infancy, that’s true, but how was the Messiah conceived, that is, if Scripture is reliable?  (Just to be certain, I believe that it is.)  Cf. Luke 1:26-38; Matthew 1:18-25.  God was directly involved in this conception.

Isaiah 49:5, another Messianic prophecy, “And now the LORD says, Who formed Me from the womb to be His servant,….”   This takes us again to the virgin conception, for after His conception, the Lord Jesus developed like any other child in the womb.  All that’s mind-blowing to think about, too.

Jeremiah 1:5, the Lord speaking to Jeremiah the prophet, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; before you were born, I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”  Cf. the similar remark by the apostle Paul, But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace…, Galatians 1:15.

Ministry, whether the prophets, the Lord’s, yours or mine, may not “begin” until after we’re born, but the preparation for it starts at conception.

We don’t usually think of it like this, but there’s an entire world involved in that little “baby-bump”.

God said to take care of it.

Who Makes the Rules?

A picture has appeared recently, and widely, in the social media, a picture of a man wearing a purple tee shirt, on the back of which are a list of statements about dating his 20-year-old daughter.  Perhaps you’ve seen it.

The list is titled, “Rules for dating my daughter.”  There are four such “rules”.

1.  I don’t make the rules.
2.  You don’t make the rules.
3.  She makes the rules.
4.  Her body, her rules.

It’s signed, “Feminist Father”.

There is an element of truth in this list.  And, with two daughters of my own, I understand the concern of the father for his daughter.

Understand that this list assumes that sex will be an integral part of the “date.”  And in our society, that does seem to have become the norm.  And I agree that a man has no right to force a woman to be intimate with him.

At the same time, the list doesn’t go far enough.

What do I mean?

God often directs our thoughts to something we will need in the future.  And not just thoughts.  When I was making deliveries for a living, sometimes I would say of a street, “Let’s see where this goes.”  I can’t tell you how many times later on that I needed to know where that street went.

So it is with this post.  I read the article about the shirt last week some time.  On Sunday, at church, the speaker quoted something from Psalm 147, which is a psalm of praise to God for His dealings with the nation of Israel, v. 19.  V. 20 continues the thought:  He has not dealt thus with any other nation; they do not know his rules (ESV).

You see, you and I don’t make the rules.  But when it comes right down to it, neither does she.  The rules have already been made.

That was the gist of the argument Satan advanced in the Garden of Eden:  Adam and Eve could make their own rules.  They didn’t need God for that.  And we see the mess they made of it.

Modern society has fully bought into that same argument.  And look at the mess we’ve made of it.

We’ve dealt with this in other posts, but it bears repeating.  Sex was never intended to be an end in itself.  It was intended to be enjoyed in the context of what it might produce:  children.  And it was intended to be enjoyed [only] by a man and a woman who had come together as husband and wife.  I grant that the marriages were usually arranged by the parents; but still, it was to a married couple that children were to be born and to become a family.  And those marriages were certainly no worse than the revolving door marriage has become in our day.  Or no “door” at all, with couples living together wanting the benefits of marriage without the responsibilities.

Children were never considered a “burden” in the Bible.  They were always a blessing – and the more, the merrier.  We’ve certainly gotten away from that!

The robins I wrote about last spring have long gone and they didn’t return this spring.  No other robins took their place.  The nest finally became loose on top of the porch light and it’s also long gone.

The thing is, their young hatched, grew and were gone in a matter of weeks.  Children take years before they’re ready to leave the nest.  It may be true that we learn most of what we learn in the first three or four years, but, as I’ve written elsewhere, no five-year old is ready for his or her own apartment.

It’s in the family that we’re supposed to learn the main lessons of life:  sharing, obedience, getting along with others.  Unfortunately, that no longer seems to be important.  And look at the mess we’ve made of it.

We decided that we make the rules.

 

The Heartbeat of a Mother.

Since I’m only a son, grandson, great-grandson, father and grandfather [no “greats” there yet, though our grandkids are great], I don’t know that I’m particularly qualified to write about being a mother.  But I’ll do my best.

A young woman once apologetically told me that she didn’t work outside the home, that she was “just a mother.”  At once, I told her that no woman was “just” a mother.

A mother is the first, and the most important, part of a baby’s life.  One of the very first things the little one must be conscious of is the nearby heartbeat of that one whose very body is involved in nurturing and protecting this new life within it.  Lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub. The rhythm of life.  For nine months, that sound is the background of existence, the assurance that all is well.

Then comes the trauma of birth – for both the mother and the child.

For Mom, “Whew, I’m glad that’s over!” – though it’s really only a new beginning.  For the child….

I had a good friend in college whose home in another state I would sometimes go with him to visit.  One time in particular I remember.  I slept in a room where the air-conditioner perched in a window.  This visit my friend’s folks turned it on.  Summer can be hot in Tennessee.  The conditioner was noisy, and I didn’t sleep very well.  Then morning came, and they turned it off.  That’s what really woke me – that deafening silence.

I wonder if that’s what it’s like for a newborn.  All kinds of new stimuli to be sure, new environment, lights, sounds, and yet…

Silence.

Where’s the heartbeat?

I wonder what the newborn feels?  Loss?  Confusion?  Panic?  The one constant of the old life is gone.  There’s no connection with this new life.  There’s nothing for the baby to hold on, so to speak.  How does he or she feel at this turn of events?

Then…

the baby is given to the mother and she cuddles him close.

Ah!  The baby relaxes; there’s the heartbeat.  There’s the connection.

Do you know why mothers are so special?  It’s their heartbeat….

Their love, their care, their concern.  Their “thereness”.

If things go as they should, there will be other “connections” made in life: dad, perhaps brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, grandma and grandpa, friends, a special “other” down the line, children of their own….

But it all starts with a mother’s heartbeat.

Thanks, Mom.

NOTE:  I’ve published this post before.  It’s slightly edited from having been done before, but it’s still relevant.  My own mom would have been 100.

Happy Mother’s Day, all you moms out there.  We’ll never know how much we owe you.

What Will We Leave Behind?

I guess I’m getting old.  Actually, there’s not much “guessing” about it.  I think about death a lot more than I did when I was younger.

Besides, it’s kind of been brought to my attention lately.  I wrote a post a few weeks ago about an elderly neighbor who was found dead in his home.  My next-door neighbor was the one who told me what had happened.  Two weeks later, he died.  He was my age.  [added a day later: Now there’s a “sale” at his house.  Cars parked up and down the street.  People going through the house; strangers dissecting a life now gone.  Got me to thinking about such things.]

Our daughter who lives in Florida was here last week to visit us.  While she was here, she went through a container of things which had belonged to my grandmother and had been in her china cabinet – which we still have, with some of her things, with some of ours, on display.  The daughter has a china cabinet now herself.

While we were up in the attic, I came across a box of old letters, etc.  Report cards, all kinds of stuff.  One problem with all that.  Several years ago, my other daughter came across one of my report cards from elementary school.  Said she knew where her kids got their problems from.  🙂

I have a little box of things from my grandfather – razor, cuff links, things like that.  That’s all, plus a memory of him lying in his casket.  I was six.  Never really got to know him.  I regret that.  He was handy with tools and building.  Grandma told me that, in today’s terms, he flipped houses.  Maybe I’d have learned something from him.

Grandma and Grandpa were Mom’s folks.  Never got to know my Dad’s folks.  Dad, either, for that matter.  They divorced when I was too young really to remember.  I have two memories of my dad.  That’s all.  We have Grandma’s dining room table, a nice desk that stood in her living room for as far back as I can remember, a couple of other desks…. Nothing from Mom, just a couple of pictures.  And some potholders she used to crochet.

I stood by Mom’s grave in 1970 and thought about all the arguments we’d had while I was a teenager.  All the heartaches and sleepless nights I must have caused her.  I was not a model son.  If I’d’ve lived in OT times, I might even have been a candidate for stoning to death.  I regretted it all.  But it was too late to tell her that.

Grandma gave me something more valuable than “stuff.”  I spent most summers with her.  During that time, she saw to it that I listened to Christian radio.  Nothing like we have today, but still there were good, godly men teaching on the radio.  M. R. DeHaan, founder of the Radio Bible Class, Theodore H. Epp, First Mate Bob and the crew of the good ship Grace, and others whose names I’ve forgotten. *sigh*  (good, happy memories)  It didn’t matter if I was outside playing or what, when time came for these programs, I was called in and had to listen.  She saw to it that I went to SS and church.  Gave me as much of a start in the Christian life as anyone, till the guy I worked with who kept inviting me to church and I finally went, just to shut him up!  Strange, that’s where the Lord met me and called me to Himself.

Grandma was a SS teacher herself.  The church was fairly liberal, even though she was conservative herself and taught that way.  Now, she didn’t have the radio on all the time. To this day, I dislike having the TV or radio on in the background.  I have nothing against peace and quiet.

Mom never minded if I went to church, or not.  She was happy when I went to Bible College.  Came to my graduation.  I’m sorry she never got to meet her future daughter-in-law or be a grandma to our kids.  She’d’ve been a good one.  But she died, too.  Two months before I got married.  But she had had trouble with church.  I don’t know the story, but she was told she wasn’t welcome at the church Grandma went to.  Kind of soured her on the whole “church” thing.

The point is,  we all leave this life.  And we leave stuff behind.  Things and memories.

What are we leaving behind for our kids, and their kids?  And their kids?  God grant that it’s good stuff, good memories, good upbringing, most of all, the “good things” of God.

The Heartbeat of a Mother.

Since I am only a son, grandson, great-grandson, father and grandfather [no “greats” there, yet], I don’t know that I’m particularly qualified to write about being a mother.  But I’ll do my best.

A young woman once apologetically told me that she didn’t work outside the home, that  she was “just a mother.”  At once, I told her that no woman is ever “just a mother.”

A mother is the first, and perhaps the most important, part of a baby’s life.  One of the very first things he or she must be conscious of is the nearby heartbeat of that one whose very body is involved in nurturing and protecting this new life within it.  Lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub.  The rhythm of life.  For nine months, that sound is the background of existence, the assurance that all is normal.

Then comes the trauma of birth – for both the mother and the child.

For Mom, “Whew, I’m glad that’s over.” though it’s really only a new beginning.  For the child….

I had a good friend in college whose home in another state I would occasionally go with him to visit.  One time in particular I remember.  I slept in a room where the air conditioner was.  This visit they had turned it on at night.  Tennessee can be hot in the summer.  It was noisy, and I didn’t sleep very well.  Then morning came and they turned it off.  That’s what really woke me up – that deafening silence.

I wonder if that’s what it’s like for a newborn.  All kinds of new stimuli, environment, lights, sounds, and yet….  

Silence.  

Where’s the heartbeat?

I wonder what the newborn feels.  Loss?  Confusion?  Panic?  The one constant of the old life is gone.  There’s no connection with this new life.  There’s nothing for the baby to hold on to, so to speak.  How does he or she feel at this turn of events?

Then

the baby is given to the mother and she cuddles him close.

Ah!  The baby relaxes; there’s the heartbeat.  There’s the connection.

Do you know why mothers are so special?  It’s their heartbeat…

Their love, their care, their concern.  Their “thereness”.

If things go as they should, there will be other “connections” made in life: dad, perhaps brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, grandma and grandpa, friends, a special “other,” children of their own.

But it all starts with a mother’s heartbeat.

Thanks, Mom.

Love Is Not A Four Letter Word.

“Sure it is!” someone might say.  “L-O-V-E.  Four letters.”

That’s true, but that’s not exactly what I mean.  The “four letters” to which I refer are those short four-letter words which express profanity and/or obscenity.

“Love” has been so dragged into the cesspool of our modern society that it’s really hard to find true examples of it.  Or to get a correct definition of it.  Hollywood has no clue.  Sadly, neither do a large percentage of people of all ages.

Especially in Hollywood, or on what passes for TV in our time, “love” is almost always limited to the physical – how quickly A and B can get into bed.  Sex has become just “casual,” with couples meeting together, maybe only once, for no other reason than to satiate their physical desires. Even where there is a “relationship,” instead of the consummation of something in which a man and a woman have pledged themselves to lifelong fidelity, it almost seems as if sex has become the commencement of a relationship, which no longer is “til death do us part,” but “til desire does depart,” and one or the other or both go off to find greener pastures.  Or “the love” turns to hate, usually on the part of the male, and he begins to abuse the woman.

There is an OT example of this in 2 Samuel 13 (NKJV): the incident of Amnon, a son of David, and Tamar, the sister of another of David’s sons.  Amnon lusted for Tamar because she was lovely and pure.  Instead of Amnon being honorable and seeking to marry her, 2 Samuel 13:13, a friend of his devised a stratagem whereby Amnon could satisfy his lust.  Without going into the sordid details, we’re interested only in the result of all this.  After he raped her, we read in v. 15, “Then Amnon hated her exceedingly, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her,” and he had her thrown out.

You want to know why there has been such an increase in “domestic violence”?  2 Samuel gives us a lot of the answer.  A distorted definition of “love” has permeated our society, but where there is only a physical attraction and nothing else, the attraction can turn to loathing and hatred.  Since the moral foundation of our society has pretty well been destroyed, violence is often the result.  Even when the couple stays together, because the man has no understanding of his responsibility toward the woman, he often makes her life miserable, with verbal and physical abuse.  There is no excuse – ever – EVER – for a man to hit a woman.

Now, lest we be misunderstood, God designed and created men and women as sexual beings.  One of the first things He told them to do was to have children, and this was before they sinned against Him.  Sex is not some sordid result of their Fall, but an integral and vital part of their creation.

We ought to be thankful that God has made those things which are necessary for the survival and continuation of the human race is pleasurable, not painful.  If eating, for example, always produced severe nausea, or sex was painful like a root canal, or sleep, instead of being restful, was filled with nightmares, how long would the race have survived?

Because sex is pleasurable, and can result in children, God set boundaries in which, and only in which, sex may be enjoyed.  Hebrews 13:4 says Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled.  It is only in marriage that sex may properly and with God’s blessing be enjoyed.  And I say, “enjoyed.”  Proverbs 5:18b-19 says, …rejoice with the wife of your youth.  As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love.  And this isn’t just for the husband.  In Genesis 18:12,  after eavesdropping on the conversation of three strangers with her husband, in which they assure him that his wife Sarah would bear his child, she said to herself, “After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”   And marriage isn’t just two people living together.  In John 4, when talking to the Samaritan lady, Jesus told her that she had had five husbands and the man she was now living with wasn’t her husband. Jesus gave no sanction to her relationship.

Because children may be the result of sexual activity, it is only in marriage that such activity is permitted.  Children need the stability of a family, mom, dad, maybe brothers and sisters in which to grow and learn to live in society.  The woman needs the stability of marriage in order to be able to properly “mother” her children and raise them as they ought to be raised.  The man needs the stability of marriage to settle him down to the responsibilities of marriage and fatherhood. The children need the stability and security of marriage and the family as they navigate the shoals of growing up and going through adolescence.   And, yes, I can hear the howls of the feminists at such patriarchal “male chauvinism.”  What does the Scripture say, Romans 4:3.

At work one day, I heard a young man boasting about the fact that he had eight children by five different women.  I don’t know if he were telling the truth or not, but he was now talking about having become a “man,” because he finally had a daughter.  He probably had no idea that “a man” would take care of those women and children (even though polygamy isn’t favorably portrayed in Scripture.  Though I doubt he was married to any of the women).  Another man, one of his “achievements” in life was that he had 21 children.

Beyond that, there is the spread of STDs, the poverty of single women trying to raise children by themselves, the misery of the children as they are often neglected or subjected to a succession of men in their mother’s lives.  Debauchery, deviancy, degeneracy, disease, death.  These are just some of the sad results of the abandonment of God’s wisdom in this part of human life.

You see, there is wisdom in the limitation of sex to within the boundary of marriage.

Love is not simply an emotion, or emotionalism, or sentimentality.  It isn’t just feelings, or hormones.  It might involve feelings or hormones, but it is so much more than that.  Even at the physical level, it is so much more than that.  Love is an attitude.  So much of the world thinks that love is about “me,” if you “love” me, you’ll let me do what I want.  It’s all about my happiness, my wants, my satisfaction.  Seldom if ever does such an attitude really think about the other person.  This is not love, it is selfishness.  True love thinks mainly about the other person.

On the other hand, true love is not to be confused with indulgence.  Even God’s love, and perhaps especially God’s love, is not mere indulgence.  Hebrews 5:5, 6 says, My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, not be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves, He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.  Read the section down to v. 11 to get the whole thought.  This has something to say about the relationship between parent and child.  Although this post isn’t primarily about parenting, “love” is.  The world has the idea that the child should be able to do, apparently, whatever it wants.  The parent can’t discipline the child, just give him or her a “time out.”  Any sort of physical discipline, i.e., “spanking,” is strictly forbidden.  I remember listening to a lady radio psychologist several years ago when the subject of spanking came up.  The caller was in favor of it.  The lady became so upset and irate at such a thought that she was practically incoherent in her response.  That’s a lot of the attitude today.

There is a difference between a spanking properly administered and abuse, which is often how it’s categorized.  Actually, the abuse comes in, partly because the parent doesn’t understand discipline at all, or because the parent becomes so frustrated that he can’t do anything to the child without getting into trouble that he finally lashes out and oversteps the boundary between discipline and abuse.  Society contributes to this by encouraging the child to turn his parent in if the child doesn’t like what they do to him.  No child is going to like a spanking.

My grandmother used to tell a story.  She was born and raised in Indiana, a few miles south of where I live now.  Became a school teacher.  She never said why, but she moved to Boulder, Colorado – now affectionately known as “The People’s Republic of Boulder.”  (I lived in Denver, 30 miles away, a good part of my life.)  There was a school there looking for a teacher.  She applied for the job.  Remember, we’re talking about 1918 or so. She was around 20.  The school board warned her that there was an unruly student in the school who had driven out the last three teachers.  Did she still want the job?  Would the school board back her up?  They would.  So she took the job.

Sure enough, the boy began to make trouble.  Grandma was the youngest of 11 brothers and sisters, so she knew what to do.  She grabbed him by the ear, or arm, and took a yardstick to him.  Took one to me a few times, too.  I deserved it.  Anyway, fast forward about 30 years to 1947.  On vacation, Grandma and Grandpa were driving through New Mexico on their way to Carlsbad Caverns, when the car began to overheat.  Grandpa stopped at a gas station to get some water for the car, went around the back of the building, and fell over, dead.  The assistant district attorney for this little town out in the middle of nowhere in New Mexico, who came to help, turned out to be this same boy, now grown up!  He thanked her for whipping him all those years ago.  Said that without it he probably would be on the other side of the law.

You know what would happen if a teacher were foolish enough to try that today.  She would be the one in trouble and the boy would be soothed and pampered because he was “a troubled youth,” physically abused by an out-of-control school teacher.  You know as well as I do that that would happen.

That’s what’s wrong with our youth today – no discipline.  “Love” has been redefined as indulgence.  I know that not all “troubled youth” go on to lives spent in jail, but that’s no thanks to society.

Ephesians 5:25-29 says, Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it by the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church,…holy and without blemish.  So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies….  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord the church.

We husbands are pretty good about v. 22, where the wife is to submit to your own husband, as to the Lord, but we fall down pretty badly on the nourishing and cherishing and loving her the way Christ loves us.  This post really isn’t about marriage or parenting, but it is about love, love that is concerned about the other person and seeks their welfare.  That’s where it starts, humanly speaking, between a husband and wife and then between them and their children – and children and their parents.  I appreciated my own mother a lot more after I had kids of my own than I ever did growing up.  But by then it was too late to tell her that.

Finally, love isn’t about “tolerance,” that is, we’re not to judge another person’s beliefs or lifestyle or anything.  It is said that there are no absolutes, at least not the ones taught by Scripture.  While it may be true that love covers a multitude of sins, it is also true that love doesn’t rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth, 1 Corinthians 13:6.  John, “the apostle of love,” wrote in 1 John 4:1, Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  There’s a lot out there that claims to be from God that has nothing to do with Scripture, or Him.

Love, when properly understood, is the best of human characteristics.  Misunderstood, it can become the worst.

I understand that a lot of what I’ve written is controversial, because it goes against the grain of current thinking.  I can’t help that.  What does the Scripture say? Romans 4:3.