Because God Loves Me, I Do Not Have to Apply Love and Respect
Few people who claim they believe in God would say He is a dictator.
For instance, in marriage they would never argue that God is unfair and mean for His command in Ephesians 5:33 for husbands to love and wives to respect.
They are an exception.
Instead, they creatively claim God is love and He would never expect them to do something in marriage at this stage with an indifferent and insolent spouse.
“It would be unfair for me to apply love and respect to my spouse because my spouse will not respond. I have tried this for years to no avail. My God is a God of love, full of grace and mercy. He would never expect me to put on love and respect toward my unresponsive and undeserving spouse.”
Their point? Ephesians 5:33 does not apply to them. They are an exception.
Have you ever felt that way?
As a husband, have you ever felt that God’s command to love your unlovable wife didn’t apply to you?
As a wife, have you ever felt that God’s command to respect your unrespectable husband does not apply to you?
After all, if God commanded you to do what you deem impossible with your unworthy and ungrateful spouse, than God would be a cruel dictator. But your loving God would make no such demands on you!
But God does command us to manifest a loving and respectful attitude toward our spouse. There is no exception.
Does that make God a demanding dictator?
Or does that make us ignorant of why God commands us as He does?
We are ignorant of His love and knowledge.
Because of our fears of having to do what we feel inadequate to do in our marriage, we change our view of God. We make God the type of God who lets us off the hook. To God we are an exception. But we do this because we cannot handle the thought that God would not let us off the hook. After all, if God did not let us off the hook but expected us to obey Ephesians 5:33 with no exceptions, well then, God would be a dictator.
Let’s take a look at this.
God’s “dictates” in Ephesians 5:33 do not make Him a dictator. His commands are not oppressive or cruel. God is not a tyrant. Instead, we misunderstand Him.
What we view as unloving is full of His love for us.
C.S. Lewis pens, “Those Divine demands which sound to our natural ears most like those of a despot and least like those of a lover, in fact marshal us where we should want to go if we knew what we wanted…We are bidden to ‘put on Christ,’ to become like God. That is, whether we like it or not, God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want. Once more, we are embarrassed by the intolerable compliment, by too much love, not too little” (The Problem of Pain).
When it comes to loving and respecting the unlovable and unrespectable, would we want to do what we need to do given we understood the eternal reward our loving God intended to give to us for our obedience?
If we knew the extent to which our hostility and contempt prevented us from hearing, “Well done” from our compassionate Lord, would we stop doing what we want to do and start doing what we should do?
Believers, we need to wake up.
God’s commands lovingly and reverently corral us to overcome what we do not want to do in order to do what we need to do.
By the way, this applies to those physically separated from a spouse for whatever reason. A hostile attitude or disdainful demeanor from a distance is never justified even if one’s spouse deserted. No exceptions.
God commands us because He knows when we step into eternity we will sing His praises for His command that steered us to do the right thing and ushered us away from the wrong thing.
Many of us will declare, “I praise you Loving Lord. Your command marshaled me to go where I did not want to go on earth because You knew in Heaven I would look back and want this. Thank you Benevolent and Omniscient Dictator!”
The Apostle John reveals to us that God’s “commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). They are not grievous or heavy.
- How does this verse apply to the command in Ephesians 5:33?
- How will you apply this to your marriage?