A heart of a person is more clearly seen by what they’re willing to embrace without offense, than by their expression of faith only in what they already understand.
My husband had recently posted this on his Facebook status but he didn’t get much feedback. This entire sentence must be clearly thought out and pondered on for it is so true. Every time I am talking with someone about relationships, I have learned to spot the red flags in premarital counseling. One advice statement I give goes along with the above statement. “How do you know if we are unequally yoked”? is what most of them want me to answer. One thing I have learned in counseling relationships is not to tell them what to do, I am not the problem solver, Jesus is. I give them exercises to enhance their relationship, faith building homework and let them make their decisions. I want them to depend upon God, not me.
When a couple is going to two different churches or has two different religious backgrounds and both are unwilling to depart, that is a red flag. Tradition is good but only when both agree and continue to move forward in their relationship not only with each other but also toward God. Both parties must be willing to be teachable and want to learn. Both parties must be willing to enhance their relationship with God and grow, learning new things and be willing to change. They must not be offended in the truth of the Word. It is easy to stay where tradition has been imparted in you and that you understand all that you have been exposed to. Where the red flag comes is when you are unwilling to believe the Word can teach you more than what you already know. Most people do not reach the stage until after already married, hoping the other will follow them and change.
This is what happens in most cases. Boy meets girl. They start dating, forming a relationship and the friendship and eros love kicks in. They will do anything to please each other and to gain favor in the site of their soon to be mate. They are willing to put aside the differences for now but in the back of their minds the thought of changing long-term is not pondered on. I have always stated to date at least two-years before getting married, although not liked but it is during this time the true person will manifest. The feel good stage is gone and true love must kick in. How do you know it is true love? Get passed the two year stage and then you experience it. Relationships are work! Don’t fool yourself if you are in the first few months of dating and think you can get by your differences in religion or others things that you have been entwined with over the years. Couples are asking for future problems if this is not talked about.
A person’s heart is clearly seen by what they are willing to embrace without offense…. you will know when a person is willing to seek God first over a matter before getting offended by what they may think is right. If both only stand on what man has taught them, their relationship with God is stunted. God is a moving God and His wisdom is beyond our limitations. There is always more to gain as we seek Him.
Study the Word together, and obey what the word says, not what tradition tells you. If you both seek God more than pleasing man or each other, God will show you what is right. However both need to not be offended in what truth God has shown each but be willing to learn from one another. If one person is not willing to grasp new things and change, trouble will only follow in the relationship. What happens most of the time, people go into a marriage, each thinks they will change the other person to believe how they believe. It won’t happen as long as one continues to believe in only what they already understand instead of seeking to understand and learn more. A relationship will ALWAYS struggle if one or the other are unwilling to put God first in their life FIRST. Having a relationship with God first will change a person’s heart to be the type of person God wants them to portray to their spouse, friend, family and to others. When conflict arises in a relationship without God the focus it means: Carnal thinking, selfish desires, hard-hearted, fruits of the flesh, sinful nature and etc.
In conclusion of this statement, here is my advice for what it is worth. If both people are seeking God with everything that is within them first, (before man, before friendship, before tradition, before past teachings) and both are willing to be teachable and grow toward God without restrictions then God will change the heart to love one another for agreement. We cannot change others no matter how hard we try. We can only change ourselves, our actions but only through living out the heart of Jesus Christ within our own lives. Jesus must come first and foremost and this is the only way a relationship will work. This is for all relationships, whether you have just started a relationship or whether you have been married for over fifty years. God must be in the center of your heart to have a heart of true love. Love is changing and love is giving yourself for the cause of others without offense.
The next time you are offended in your relationship, ask yourself this question, “Is God offended over this, or is it just me?” If the offense is a sin or goes against God’s word, then God is offended, you might have a right to be upset, but if God would not be offended then you will know it is your stubborn attitude of not willing to show His love or fruit of the Spirit in the matter. We all must be willing to embrace more than what we already know. When we do this, our heart will shine!
Prayer: Lord help me to realize my relationship with you must be first through all my relationships. Help us all to realize that when we seek you first the offense will not come to those who have your heart and your word to stand upon. Lord I pray for wisdom and understanding. I pray for relationships to know and seek you first before they commit to each other. Help me to relate your love. In Jesus name. Amen.
Acts 17:27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. New International Version
Job 8:5-6 “If you would seek God And implore the compassion of the Almighty, If you are pure and upright, Surely now He would rouse Himself for you And restore your righteous estate. New American Standard Bible