February 2022 Newsletter
I don’t remember where I heard it first: “Love is a choice.” It might seem like a throw away statement, one that is easy and obvious but as time goes on and life changes. As the picture gets faded and worn love becomes a choice. The statement is one I make at least once but usually more than once at various points during premarital counseling reminding couples of what it really means to be married and the real actual effort it takes to be and stay married.
We too easily become disillusioned by movies, TV, books, social media posts, or even just the outward things we see from couple friends around us. To be fair, none of us wants to air our dirty laundry, nor would want our spouse to do so either, but the happily ever after fairy tale, the easily and magically resolved sitcom or movie doesn’t exactly paint a realistic picture of what love: real, lasting, abiding love truly looks like. Love that is tried and tested, love that has been supported and sustained vows made before God with absolute intent, is something far more amazing than what generally gets conveyed. This sort of love requires the honest vulnerability of repentance having been offered and forgiveness having been shared.
In the actions of repentance and forgiveness, confession and absolution, Love is a verb and very much a choice. One loves another enough to bare their soul and humbly repent of their sin trusting the other will not withhold the love of forgiveness but graciously bestow the love of forgiveness so longed for. In the same way the one sinned against longs for the other to repent so they are most directly able to address the hurt, let it go by forgiving and allowing the hurt to truly pass into the past – it happened, it’s done, I’ve forgiven you; I, you, we need to move on.
Today I sat in a conference about a book titled Crucial Conversations, confession is only one such crucial conversation, but in my opinion chief of conversations that all Christians should be ready and willing to engage in. The book is about the need to be willing to engage in difficult conversations for things and with people that matter, but to be able to do so in a calm, collected, and winsome manner. As Christian professionals we were reminded of the imperative of our calling to speak those difficult words of Law to our people as well as the Gospel.
It is difficult and unenjoyable to speak and to hear the Law, and yet we know that it is for our good. Life without correction is without order and without order is only chaos. We have all felt that chaos intimately in the midst of a relationship, marital or otherwise, that has ventured into the territory of hurt feelings left unresolved and individuals not knowing where they stood with each other. No one likes that wasteland of wondering “are we ok?” “what do I say?” “how do I talk to them?” “have things blown over yet?” This is the very realm in which a crucial conversation needs to be had. Fortunately for us our God is absolutely clear in His Word. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Rom. 3:23-24).” In the sending of Christ into our mortal flesh for the explicit purpose of taking our sins upon Himself to pay for them in His suffering and death on the cross where we see God’s love for us is His gracious choice.
God’s blessings on your month,