DAY 20 of The Respect Dare
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
– Philippians 2:3-4
A BEAUTIFUL EXAMPLE OF SACRIFICIAL LOVE IN MARRIAGE:
Robertson McQuilkin was the president of a Christian college here in my town of Columbia, SC for many years. He and I go to the same church! His wife developed Alzheimer’s and he quit his prestigious and important job to take care of her at home.
Here is an excerpt of his resignation letter to Columbia International University:
…recently it has become apparent that Muriel is contented most of the time she is with me and almost none of the time I am away from her. It is not just “discontent.” She is filled with fear—even terror—that she has lost me and always goes in search of me when I leave home. So it is clear to me that she needs me now, full-time…
The decision was made, in a way, 42 years ago when I promised to care for Muriel “in sickness and in health…till death do us part.” So, as I told the students and faculty, as a man of my word, integrity has something to do with it. But so does fairness. She has cared for me fully and sacrificially all these years; if I cared for her for the next 40 years I would not be out of her debt.
Duty, however, can be grim and stoic. But there is more: I love Muriel. She is a delight to me—her childlike dependence and confidence in me, her warm love, occasional flashes of that wit I used to relish so, her happy spirit and tough resilience in the face of her continual distressing frustration. I don’t have to care for her. I get to! It is a high honor to care for so wonderful a person.
I would like us to spend a moment examining our motives for WHY we do the things we do for our husbands.
God is VERY interested in motives.
- If I do the wrong thing for the wrong reason – that is sin.
If I want to hurt my husband because I am hurt and feeling unloved, so I verbally emasculate him, tear him down and try to emotionally and spiritually attack and insult him – that is sin in God’s eyes. I have definitely done that many times in those first 14.5 years of our marriage. I feel hurt, so I want him to hurt.
- If I do the wrong thing for the right reason – that is sin.
If I want my husband to be “closer to God” so I try to verbally drag him to God, lecture him, nag him and scold him when he is not doing what I think God wants him to do – that is sin in God’s eyes.
- If I do the right thing for the wrong reason – that is sin.
If I clean the house, do the dishes, do the chores, learn to be a respectful wife, smile a lot at my husband, give him lots of compliments and try to meet all of his needs so that I can control him and make him love me the way I want him to – that is sin in God’s eyes.
Please catch this. If I am serving and loving and being a “good wife” with “strings attached” that is sin. It deeply grieves God’s heart and – it repels and wounds our husbands.
In fact, it is probably better NOT to serve my husband at all than to serve him and “love” him with expectations that he better do “X” for me. “He owes me. Look at ALL I did for HIM!”
This is where many of us live. This is where I lived before – all 3 of these sinful ways. It is time to repent of anything that offends God and seek to do things His way alone.
Philippians 2:3-4 (at the top of this post)
- If I do the right thing for the right reason – that pleases God.
If I desire to become a godly wife and to treat my husband respectfully and serve him sacrificially and humbly in order to please Jesus – THAT makes God smile.
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Galatians 5:6
So, I have to be VERY careful and check my motives OFTEN – and allow God to check my motives.
(Please keep in mind, husbands are called by God to do these same things – I am just not writing for husbands – but all of Scripture still applies to them, as well. They have even more accountability and responsibility before God than we do as wives.)
If I find that I have resentment/bitterness or disappointment in my husband – that is my BIG RED FLAG to see if I am making something more important to me than Jesus. Am I trying to find contentment in how my husband treats me, or in having my needs met? Am I trying to find my identity in feeling loved by my husband?
- Am I seeking to find contentment in anything other than Christ alone?
If I am, I get on my knees and ask God to forgive me and nail those sinful things to the cross. Then I set my heart and mind and spiritual eyes on Jesus alone – and seeking to please Him. I ask Him to weigh my motives and show me any ungodliness that I might be blind to.
THEN, and only then – I am ready to begin to love and serve my husband humbly and self-sacrificially.
- I keep in mind that this life is SO FLEETING. Today is a gift. I have no idea how much time I have left with anyone I love. I try to look at everything with the perspective of eternity. In what will seem like just a few days, I am going to be standing before Jesus.
Have no expectations of your husband saying or doing anything for you. Just seek to please Jesus by blessing and loving your husband well. Jesus counts your behavior towards others (including your husband) as if you were doing those things for and to Him!!!!!!
If you begin to feel “used” or resentful – use this opportunity to think about the sacrificial love of Jesus. He died for us when we were still His enemies. The people He came to save not only did not recognize Him, thank Him or appreciate Him – they mocked, tortured and killed Him.
What if loving my husband without him thanking me gives me a glimpse into the sacrificial love of God for me?
– Nina Roesner, The respect Dare – Dare 20