Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Marriage Matters by Winston Smith

Winston hit this one out of the park. This book is really good. I was a little put off by the subtitle "ordinary change through ordinary moments" because I don't consider living in sin an ordinary moment. I think of ordinary as when I am walking with God. But perhaps others ordinarily don't walk with God and thus for them ordinary is pretty ugly.

If the tone of your home, or aroma of your home (to borrow from another great book on marriage) is one of bitterness, anger, hurt feelings, and silence because of lack of fellowship, this book is for you (or if you know someone who lives like this). Winston hits the nail on the head in every chapter. Every topic is focused on helping people evaluate, observe, and measure every aspect of their relationships, first with God and then with one another.

Chapters 12 and 13 are really stellar: "Foundations for Forgiveness" and "Forgiveness in Marriage." I don't know if these really spoke to me because I'd already read the rest of the book or if these chapters would stand alone. But I think you all should buy this book and jump to those chapters and read them first. Then go back and read the rest of the book. Forgiveness is huge. Letting go of the past is huge. Accepting and forgetting and not holding "it" against one another for years and years is amazingly important in all relationships, especially in marriage.

The funny thing is that we have such a difficult time accepting that God has forgiven us. He does not hold our sin against us. He even refuses to remember our sin (Heb. 10:17, 18). One of the most difficult things in the normal Christian life is to believe that we are cleansed from our sin. And when we think that way about our own sin and God, to then turn it around and ask us to forgive someone who has sinned against us, especially someone close to us, who has hurt us in a personal way, is virtually unthinkable. But the prayer we pray every Sunday is, "Lord, forgive us our debts, trespasses, sins, as we forgive those who have broken our hearts."

It is still sad for me to think that the family that needs to constantly work through these things is an ordinary family. But perhaps if enough folks read and apply Winston's book, the ordinary will become the extraordinary and the world will will see that we love one another and believe that we are followers of Christ (Jn. 13:35). When that happens, we will have an effective witness to our communities and Jesus will begin to reign in the lives of those around us. Oh, and then the Kingdom will come on earth as it is in Heaven. Hmmm. Its beginning to sound familiar.

Great job Winston. I can't wait to see what's next.

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