So, what does Thomas think is the most common misconception Christians have about marriage? We are to find our fulfillment and purpose in God. No person can live up to such expectations. Everyone has bad days, yells at his or her spouse, or is downright selfish. Despite these imperfections, God created the husband and wife to steer each other in His direction. Thomas offers an example: "When my wife forgives me. In that moment, she is modeling God to me, revealing God's mercy to me, and helping me to see with my own eyes a very real spiritual reality. Save marriages from divorce!
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God's Design for Marriage
Your gift today will help save marriages! While it's easy to see why God designed an other-centered union for a me-centered world, living that way is a challenge. So when bills pile up, communication breaks down and you're just plain irritated with your husband or wife, Thomas offers these reminders to help ease the tension:. We see this last parallel throughout the Bible. For instance, Jesus refers to Himself as the "bridegroom" and to the kingdom of heaven as a "wedding banquet.
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These points demonstrate that God's purposes for marriage extend far beyond personal happiness. Thomas is quick to clarify that God isn't against happiness per se, but that marriage promotes even higher values. He planted marriage among humans as yet another signpost pointing to His own eternal, spiritual existence.
He spends the entire evening at the office — again. She spends money without entering it in the checkbook. He goes golfing instead of spending time with the kids. From irritating habits to weighty issues that seem impossible to resolve, loving one's spouse through the tough times isn't easy.
God's Ingenious Design
But the same struggles that drive us apart also shed light on what we value in marriage. But if we marry for the glory of God, to model His love and commitment to our children, and to reveal His witness to the world, divorce makes no sense. Couples who've survived a potentially marriage-ending situation, such as infidelity or a life-threatening disease, may continue to battle years of built-up resentment, anger or bitterness.
So, what are some ways to strengthen a floundering relationship — or even encourage a healthy one? Thomas offers these practical tips:. Forcing us or determining our choices would be in total contradiction with his designs; it would make love impossible. The error of believing that everything is already predetermined comes from confusing God as he is in himself with created time.
God is not subject to our time. The point of contact between God and us can only be the present moment.
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Freedom can be looked at from many angles. Today, people usually emphasize freedom of choice: to be free means being able to decide by oneself what one wants to be or do. This outlook is so predominant that, for some people, God is even an enemy of the human race because he wishes to dictate our behavior. Faith as a result makes us less free. To have an integral vision of freedom, two different levels must be distinguished.
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On the one hand, freedom requires choices which are not determined by external constraints. In creating human beings in his image, God gave them this ability to choose.
In us, everything is not programmed ahead of time. In order to grow we have to take steps that no one else can take for us. And as has often been said, even not to choose is still a choice! This ability to choose, good and necessary in itself, is not sufficient to attain true freedom, however. We must make choices in function of something; our decisions are oriented towards a final goal or purpose. To make us authentically free, that purpose can only be to become the person we truly are, to bring our identity to its full flowering.
It should thus be obvious that an understanding of freedom that would encourage us to do whatever we felt like is deficient even in human terms. There are choices that make us less ourselves. If the creator of the human heart is the one who knows it best of all see Jeremiah , then with his help we will be able to make the choices that lead us to our true identity and thus to true happiness.
God helps us first of all by his Word, which indicates the right way to act, and which culminates in the life of his Son, Jesus Christ. By trusting in God and trying to walk in his steps, we do not abdicate our freedom; we use our ability to make free choices in order to become truly ourselves in a relationship with the Source of our existence. We create a space for the full blossoming of human life in us and around us.
Faith Faith: How does the New Testament speak about faith? Fear of the Lord Forgiveness: If Jesus knew that Judas was going to betray him, why did he keep him in the circle of his close companions until the end? Forgiveness: Does forgiving mean forgetting? Freedom: Am I still free if I obey a call from Christ? Freedom: Is everything that happens decided by God in advance? Happiness: Do we have the right to be happy when others are suffering? Hell: Must a Christian believe in the existence of hell? Christian hope Judgment: Why did Jesus tell his disciples not to judge? Reconciliation: What are the presuppositions for a true dialogue between Christians of different confessions?
Reconciliation: How can we bring together diversity and reconciliation?