Wednesday, July 31, 2013
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It's a bitter wound! I was undefeated in Scrabble until my son beat me at the age of 13. It was down to the end of the game, there were no letters left to draw and I was about to be stuck with a Z. Now, if you've ever played Scrabble, you know that a Z is worth 10 points if you can play it. You lose 10 points if you're stuck with it at the end of the game. Okay, this is heavy pressure. Finally I found one corner of the board that had the letters I and T and there was room for a Z. I suddenly remembered that slightly uncouth slang term the teenagers use for blemishes. I used my Z to spell zit. I've often heard kids complain about zits.
We had a fairly limited dictionary where we were. I know it was limited, because we couldn't find zit in the dictionary. I lost under protest. I've been protesting ever since. Now I'm doing it with you. Two years pass; my son goes to a book store and finds a Scrabble dictionary, looks it up, and came home rubbing his hands with glee and confirmed, "Zit is not in it." Well, I think that may have changed today, but that didn't help. I guess it's final; I've been dethroned. I've wished that there was such a word, but it just doesn't appear in any dictionary. You know, there's a word that many folks resort to when their situation is desperate; one which really should not appear in your personal dictionary.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Door Is Locked."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Malachi 2. My Italian friends tell me that's Malachi, but I really think it's Malachi chapter 2, and it begins with verse 13. "Another thing you do: You flood the Lord's altar with tears. You weep and wail because He no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask, 'Why?' It is because the Lord is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are His. And why one? Because He was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth."
And now Malachi 2:16, "'I hate divorce,' says the Lord God of Israel." Well, the word divorce did not appear in a lot of people's personal dictionary just not that many years ago. It just wasn't one of their options for solving their marital difficulties. Oh, but today it's in a lot of personal dictionaries, including a lot of Christian vocabularies.
One of the most important choices I think my wife and I ever made was simply not to allow divorce in our dictionary. Whatever the tension, whatever the hurt, whatever the conflict, it just doesn't exist as one of our choices. Maybe we'd have to seek counseling, or face some tough issues, tough times, but divorce is not an option. We just decided to close the door!
I think something destructive begins as soon as you start to entertain even the possibility of getting out of your marriage; the walls suddenly have a crack in them. You start to put energy into thinking about how you might get out of this. Once you think you could get out of your marriage, you're focusing more on getting out of it than building it. And that makes divorce more likely. God's concept of marriage is like a house with a front door that swings one way. You go in and there's no back door.
Now, society has carved a door in the back called divorce. But you can, by an act of your will, declare it locked forever for you from the outside. I'm going to be living in this house or no house, so all my efforts will go into making this house all it can be. God says He hates divorce. He doesn't say, "I hate divorced people." But He does say, "I hate divorce." Then how can I even entertain the option? "Lord, I want to say 'I'm staying' and boy, I'm going to need You to get through it." Maybe that's what you need to tell Him today.
Get counsel if you need to, get prayer if you need to, confront the issues, but when you check your personal dictionary and you look under D, I hope there's no divorce.