When My Husband has a Sin Problem, part 3

Many of the suggestions we’ve already looked at in this study have had to do with attitude.  Not your husband’s attitude, but yours.  You can’t make your husband repent.  You can’t make him start doing the right thing.  But you can control every bit of your attitude.  Compassion, humility, and goodness are powerful traits.  Your constancy in those areas will have a better chance of penetrating your husband’s heart than any rant or “punishment.”  As we conclude this series of what to do when your husband has a sin problem, remember that the goal is to make sure you’re doing your part to make it easier for him to go to Heaven.

9.  Rebuke gently.

If you’re like most people, you don’t enjoy confrontation, especially when it involves a friend.  When you do have to resolve an issue, you probably go out of your way to be careful and gentle.  You put a lot of thought into it.  You don’t want there to be any misunderstandings or hurt feelings and will treat it as tenderly as possible.  Make sure you’re no less gentle with your own husband.  Put as much forethought into it.

“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Gal. 6:1).  Gentleness goes far in reaching any heart.

10.  Keep Your Convictions

Perhaps your husband has quit attending worship.  Keep going anyway no matter how inconvenient and even if you have to go alone for years.  If your husband has engaged in a particular sin for any length of time, resist the temptation to accept it.  Never give in and engage in it with your husband.  You will demonstrate true faithfulness by putting God’s will first no matter what.  In She Hath Done What She Could, Jane McWhorter writes, “Your husband may test your convictions, but he will respect you for them if you are sincere and consistent.”

11.  Know the Difference Between Shaming and Humiliating

When God’s people no longer blushed at their sin it was because they were no longer ashamed of it (Jer. 6:15).  Shame is good because it can lead to repentance (2 Cor. 7:10,11).  It can turn a tender heart.  Humiliation is different.  A wife who humiliates her husband is trying to embarrass him and attack his dignity.  Look up the various definitions of what it means to humiliate someone.  It’s not pretty or Christlike.

12.  Dissolve Your Anger

A certain amount of anger is natural and righteous indignation is good.  But be careful about feeding your anger by brooding or repeating your husband’s offense(s) over and over in your mind.  You will only lead yourself to the boiling point.  In her book, Loving Your Husband, Patsy Loden writes, “Anger robs you of reason.  Without reasoning ability, you are not responsive to seeking a solution.  Anger enslaves.  You cannot act in a loving way when you are angry.  Anger dictates how you act, and it is always in a negative way.”

How can you dissolve your anger?

  • Don’t focus on your rights (“That’s not fair. This isn’t what I deserve.”).
  • Don’t start keeping score.
  • Stay away from angry people–it’s contagious.
  • Pray for release from the feelings of anger.

13.  Focus on His Good Qualities

If your husband picks up a sinful habit, it doesn’t mean he’s a bad man.  Paul said the evil he didn’t want to do was what he kept on doing because of the sin in him (Rom. 7:15-20).  His struggle with his flesh was ongoing.  A husband with a sin problem is battling the flesh and failing.

To help your husband strengthen his godly traits, focus on them.  Point them out.  Open your eyes to the good that your husband does or tried to do.  Acknowledge the good in a non-patronizing way.  I love what Ruth Hazel said in The Challenge of Being a Wife.  “You will find that the more you focus on the good qualities of others the farther their weaknesses will recede.  Anyone can do better when he believes he can do better, and this assurance may be based on the faith and confidence someone else has in us.”

14.  Turn Him Over to God

God is the One in the heart-changing business.  You know you can safely leave your husband in God’s hands.  You don’t have to carry the burden all alone.  You can turn your husband over to the One who died for him.

You can’t force your husband to repent but you can choose to still love him.  Love can motivate you to make sure your attitude and your example make it easier for your husband to be convicted to give up the sinful habit.

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Photo Credit: Traci Sproule

When My Husband has a Sin Problem, part 2

“My husband views pornography.”

“My husband loses his temper.”

“My husband has a drinking problem.”

“My husband lies.”

Perhaps you’ve not only heard Christian women make these statements but you could say one of them yourself.   What can you do when your husband has a sin problem?  What should you do?  If you missed part one of this study, you can check out the first five suggestions here.

6.  Seek Outside Help If Needed

If the sin problem is some kind of addiction (like pornography or alcohol), it would be wise to get help from those who have experience helping others overcome these types of struggles.  Sometimes bringing in a third party adds an accountability factor that makes it easier for your husband to put away the addiction.

Just remember to check your motives before involving others.  If you want to publicly shame your husband because you’re angry, you’ll surely make matters worse.  If you truly have your husband’s best interests at heart, you can prayerfully seek help or counsel from a godly source.

7.  Study the Word

This can’t be neglected.  The world has their own opinions about marriage and much of it is not biblical.  Some friends or co-workers may encourage you to get revenge or to look out for yourself first.  Some, because of their indignation on your behalf, may suggest actions that just aren’t right.  The world promotes pride and selfishness.  The Word commands humility, selflessness, and putting the needs of others first (Phil. 2).  The world says you can give up on your marriage whenever you want.  The Word teaches that marriage is for life, with the exception of adultery (Matt. 19:3-9).

Without Bible study, there is confusion and that can be dangerous.  For example, some have decided that pornography is grounds for scriptural divorce.  “You have heard that it was said of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt. 5:23,24).  This verse is the reason some believe that viewing pornography equals adultery.  In Matt. 19:9, Jesus gives one valid reason for divorce.  The word He uses is porneia, which means “sexual immorality.”  This is unfaithfulness in marriage by having sexual intercourse with someone who is not one’s spouse.  While the adultery of the heart mentioned in Matt. 5:24 may eventually lead to the physical act of adultery, it does not carry the same immediate consequences as the physical act.

Pornography is still a sin and anyone guilty of it will give an account on the Day of Judgment, but it is not a scriptural reason for divorce.  In Matt. 5, Jesus was teaching that adultery begins in the heart, just as murder begins in the heart (v. 21,22).  But that doesn’t mean we can cart someone off to jail for being very angry with someone (even though it could lead to the physical act of murder if left unchecked).  Furthermore, there is the practical matter of determining how much pornography a husband must view in order to be guilty of adultery.  Just once?  Once a month?  For years?  With physical adultery, there is no guessing game.  A husband who has sexual intercourse one time wth someone who is not his wife is guilty of adultery, and the wife has the scriptural right to put him away if she so chooses.

Bible study is essential in knowing how to handle a sin problem in a way that pleases God.  Feelings can be strong but unreliable.  It’s important to see what God has to say about it.

8.  Continue to Be a Good Wife

It can be hard to respect your husband if you don’t feel he deserves it.  It can be hard to submit to your husband if you don’t respect him.  When your husband disappoints you, you may recognize that you must still take care of him but feel you don’t have to cherish him or treat him special.  You may even go so far as to let the house go or let yourself go and feel justified.  These types of thoughts fall under the category of “wisdom of the world” (James 3:13-17).  They may be natural feelings but they’re not biblical.  The Bible teaches that one’s good behavior is not dependent on another’s worthiness (as we saw in last week’s post).

You’re accountable for your own actions so you must continue to be godly, pleasant, and sweet.  You can’t refuse to obey God just because your husband has.   Continue to love and respect your husband because you hope for his repentance, no matter how long it takes (Gal. 6:9).  If you disrespect your husband, you will make it easier for him to justify his sinful habit.  And you will one day look back and regret your attitude.  If you continue to be loving and committed to a gentle, Christ-like sweetness, you will have no reason to look back with regret.  You will know you did the right thing (1 Pet. 3:1,2).

The final part of this series next week will deal with rebuking, shaming, anger, and convictions.

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Photo Credit: Traci Sproule

 

 

 

 

 

When My Husband has a Sin Problem

WHEN MY HUSBAND HAS A SIN PROBLEM

Part One of a 3-part Series

A couple of years ago I was assigned this topic for a lecture.  I thought I’d share with you some of the things I learned when preparing for the class.

There are some expectations from a Christian husband:

  • He’s to be the spiritual leader in the home (1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:22-24).
  • He’s to love his wife wholeheartedly (Eph. 5:25-33).
  • He’s to provide for his family (1 Tim. 5:8).
  • He’s to be Christlike in his attitude and behavior toward his wife (1 Pet. 3:7).

Some husbands try to live up to these expectations but fall short.  Some don’t care to try at all.  Some are really good in one area but weak in another.  Husbands are going to mess up and sin, as we all do (Rom. 3:23).  But what do you do when your husband is dealing with a sin problem?

  1.  Don’t Seek Revenge

Some sins are hard not to take personally.   When your husband’s sin hurts your heart, you may be tempted to hurt him back.  There’s more than one way to seek revenge.  You could say hurtful, cutting things.  You know where your husband’s insecurities are so you know where to strike verbally.  You could bring up sins from the past.  You could retaliate by engaging in your own sinful activity and then say, “Now you know how it feels!”  In your effort to make him pay, you become guilty of sin yourself.

For the Christian, revenge is not an option.  “Never take your own revenge.  Never pay back evil for evil to anyone” (Rom. 12:9,17).  “Do not say, ‘Thus I shall do to him as he has done to me; I will render to the man according to his work'” (Prov. 24:29).  The gratification of vengeance is short-lived.  If you give your husband a taste of his own medicine, you will soon taste the bitterness of guilt.  Spiteful words or behavior will not make your husband want to quit sinning.  God says the way to overcome evil is with goodness (Rom. 12:21; 1 Thess. 5:15; 1 Pet. 3:9).

2.  Don’t Give Ultimatums

In desperation, you may hope to threaten your husband into behaving.  “If you don’t give up the sinful habit, I will never sleep with you again.”  “Get your act together or I’m leaving you.”  But what’s the saying about “two wrongs”?  When you give ultimatums, you are promising punishment.  That’s not your role.  You are not your husband’s parent or savior.  You are his helper and lover.

3.  Don’t Air His Dirty Laundry

We all want sympathy when we’ve been hurt or mistreated.  But if you desire your husband’s repentance, you will protect his reputation by keeping the matter private (Prov. 11:13; 17:9).  No one deserves to have their private struggles made public.  Instead, practice the Golden Rule (Matt. 7:12).  Do you want every sin struggle of yours shared with others?  Do you want your weaknesses to be the topic of conversation when your husband gets together with his pals or his parents?  Use wisdom in determining when/ if to disclose anything and with whom.

4.  Pray for Him

It’s true that you can’t make anyone do the right thing.  Praying fervently for someone doesn’t mean they will repent.  However, it’s important to remember that God loves your husband even more than you do.  You can pray for wisdom (James 1:2-4), patience (1 Cor. 13:4), compassion (Col. 3:12), and strength (Phil. 4:13).  Prayer brings peace (Phil. 4:6,7).

5.  Remember Your Own Shortcomings

Do you ever feel like your sin list is a lot shorter than your husband’s?  The Bible says that anyone who transgresses in one area has become guilty of all the law (James 2:10).  Make sure you’re not holding your husband up to a higher standard than you hold yourself.  Grace and compassion go a long way toward reaching the heart of a struggling husband.

(Part Two will cover when to seek help, how to continue being a good wife, and how to maintain your convictions.)

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Photo Credit: Traci Sproule

A Daughter in the Family!

One month from today our oldest son Gary will get married, Lord willing.  From the time he was born, Neal and I have been praying for the woman Gary would choose to marry.  The most important thing to us is that he would marry someone who will help him go to Heaven, but naturally we wondered what she would be like.  Would she really like us?  Would we be able to have a close relationship with her?  Would we click?  Only recently has it truly dawned on me…we’re getting a daughter!  Please indulge me while I tell you a little about her.

She has a great name.  Chelsea is her name and it suits her completely.  She is just as beautiful, sweet, and strong as her name sounds.  Her name means “a port” or “a landing place.”  I’m thrilled to know that she is exactly that for Gary.  She will be a wonderful woman for him to come home to each day.  She will be his “port in the storm.”

She is willing to take on a new name.  Chelsea’s family name is important to her, but she will be taking on Gary’s family name.  That simple change is symbolic of her willingness to love, honor, and submit to him (Eph. 5:22-24).  It means she will be in his care and under his protection (Eph. 5:25-31).  I have no doubt that she will honor her new name.

She already wears the most important name.  Chelsea is a Christian.  She wears the name of Christ faithfully.  She is kind, giving, and loving.  Chelsea truly shines.  All who know her can’t help but see the spirit of Christ.  We love her radiant soul.

We couldn’t be more proud!  Chelsea is so dear to us already.  We are grateful to God for blessing Gary with such a treasure, and we look forward to having her as our very first daughter.

Chelsea & Gary
Chelsea & Gary

 

Out of Control

I just watched my youngest son almost get into an accident.  It is an overcast, rainy afternoon and Carl was driving behind me.  I glanced in the rearview mirror to check on him and, to my horror, he was no longer on the road.  Carl hydroplaned while pulling out onto the street and lost control of the car.  When I saw him, he was on the sidewalk on the far side of the road about to hit a pole.  He swerved out of the way which threw him back into the street.  For the longest half minute of my life, I watched Carl try to right the car as he jerkily swerved back and forth from one lane to the other.  There was traffic both ways and I thought, “My baby is going to die.”  I heard myself screaming, “Caaaaarl!”

My hands are still shaking as I type this.  I apologize for the drama of this post, but I wanted to write while the feelings are still fresh.  Thankfully, all traffic was able to move off the road to avoid hitting Carl.  Thankfully, he was able to finally gain control and pull over into a parking lot.  I have never felt more helpless than I did as I watched my “baby” fight for his life.

So now I’m overwhelmed with fear.  I never ever, never ever (NEVER) want Carl to drive again.  How am I supposed to keep from replaying that scene in my mind the next time he gets behind the wheel?

Somehow my guys aren’t nearly as shaken up.  I drove straight to Neal’s office and sobbed on his shoulder.  I said, “Carl could’ve been killed!”  Neal said, “But he wasn’t.”  I told Carl I had just finished praying for God to keep him safe when I saw him lose control of the car.  He said, “And He did.”  While I was shaking from head to toe and imagining what could have happened, Carl said, “I’m glad Dad’s car is okay!”

The truth of the matter is that it was probably a good thing ultimately.  Carl just gained some valuable experience with driving, rain, hydroplaning, and overcorrecting.  He’ll be better prepared if he’s ever in that kind of situation again.  My mind knows that but my heart is protesting.

Honestly, this has been the hardest part of parenting for me.  Losing control.  My sons are grown and nearly grown.  I’m watching them make decisions, make mistakes, sin, or flounder around as they try to figure out their own lives.  What I want to do is have complete control again. They could get hurt!  But I know they’re growing and gaining valuable experience.  I know that they are capable and good.  I also know that while they will never stop being my sons, they really belong to their heavenly Father.  And He is always in perfect control.

“I know that You can do everything,

and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You” (Job 42:2).

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Photo cred: Carl Pollard (I look like my grandpa in this pic)

Boys to Men

I know I am not the first mom to face an empty nest, so why does it feel like I am?  I knew my sons would grow up, but it’s as if I’ve discovered a surprising and disconcerting fact– Time does not listen to me!  It won’t slow down.  I can’t put it on “pause” until I’m ready for it to move on.  I can’t go back in time to redo some things I’m just now figuring out.

Okay, so I know I haven’t discovered anything new.  I know I was even warned of this by other moms who had already experienced it.  They made comments to me when my boys were babies and toddlers.  “Enjoy it while you can!”  “This will all go by so fast!”  But I don’t recall them telling me that mixed in with the pride and joy would be this unnerving sense of fear and doubt.  I know I made mistakes as a mom.  I can look back and see inadequacies and laziness.  And I don’t recall them telling me that my heart would begin constantly replaying mental videos of rocking my small boys, reading to them, and listening to their childish prayers.  Why didn’t one of those moms grab me by the shoulders, look me in the eyes and say, “Make the MOST of every single day.  I’m serious!”

This past Sunday I watched our firstborn son, Gary, participate in the graduation ceremony of the Bear Valley Bible Institute.  I think I kept shaking my head as he walked down the aisle.  Didn’t I just have him?  Then Sunday night I watched our youngest son, Carl, preach a sermon.  He didn’t need the little step stool to see over the pulpit.  He looked and sounded like a grown man.  When did that happen?  How is it possible that my baby will be a senior this fall?  And this very afternoon we will take our middle son, Dale, to the airport.  He is going to Alaska to begin a summer internship with a church in Anchorage.  Did you know it’s over 3,000 miles from here?  I don’t think a state that’s one of ours should be allowed to be that far away.  With all of these events, I just want to grab each of them, pull them close, and hug them fiercely.  I have one continual prayer, “God, please! Be with them.  Help them always put you first!

For years I’ve been meaning to write each of my boys a letter to read in the event of my death.  I’ve been putting it off because I knew it would be an emotional undertaking.  I finally did it a couple of weeks ago.  It took me five hours to write three letters.  I gave it to them on my birthday since it’s possible they could be senior citizens before I die, and I want them to know my hopes for them before then.  None of them wanted to read their letter.  Carl finally opened his a few days later.  Then Gary was next.  Dale still hasn’t read his.  He has only gone as far as opening the corner of the envelope.

And that brings me to the point of this post (finally).  As I wrote those letters and thought about what I wanted to impress the most upon my children, it amazed me how easily it was to figure out.  It all boils down to the past, present, and future.

  • Past:  I have loved them with all my heart from the very beginning.  God has loved them even longer than that.
  • Present:  My only desire is that they will love God with all their heart and serve Him with all their might.
  • Future:  I want to see them in Heaven.

With their whole upbringing condensed to these truths, it seems that parenting has never had to be overly complicated.  It’s really all about taking the time to focus on what truly matters.

Gary, Dale, and Carl May 31, 2015
Gary, Dale, and Carl
May 31, 2015

 

 

 

Wordschooling

You’re already familiar with the options of homeschooling or public schooling.  I recently ran across the term worldschooling.  I imagine it comes from all that can be learned from traveling to different countries.

There are some strong opinions when it comes to how we choose to educate our children.  Some feel that with the worldly philosophies and agendas being pushed in the public school system, homeschooling is the only way to go for Christians.  Others feel that homeschooling can be exclusive and prevents Christians from shining the Light and making a difference in the world.  Still others will opt to send their children to private Christian schools.

My opinion?  Every home and situation is unique.  Just because one choice works best for one family doesn’t mean it will be the wisest choice for another.  Every community and school environment is different.  There are still many that promote wholesome living, true learning, and have teachers that care about integrity and discipline.

We chose homeschooling and I’m glad.  It’s been great to have complete control over curriculum choices, to spend quality time with our sons, and to have the flexibility to travel together on mission trips and to seminars.  But homeschooling is not the perfect safety net in and of itself.  Just because we have chosen to homeschool does not guarantee our children will go to Heaven (I cringe to even type those words).

Homeschoolers can neglect the most important foundation of any education and that is a substantial knowledge of the Word of God.  Homeschoolers can allow worldliness (like materialism, unguarded speech, rebellion, and immoral vices) to creep into the home and influence their children.

Whether public, private, or home, the emphasis of every child’s education needs to be the Word.  And parents, that responsibility solely belongs to us.

Living in the Word and by the Word.  Teaching, memorizing, and sharing the Word.  Learning to love the Word.  Exemplifying the Word.  THIS is what will give our children the very best start on their road to Heaven.  Wordschooling is the only way to go.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16,17

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