Monday, May 21, 2012

Wisdom from Jay

A beautiful painting is a beautiful painting--no matter from whose brush the paint touched the canvas.

A wonderful song is a wonderful song--no matter the lyricist or the musician.

And a true statement is a true statement no matter the tongue that forms the words. Despite the likelihood that he is currently burning in hell, I suspect even 'Dolph Hitler spoke one or two true statements during his mad and deranged life. Perhaps he declared the beauty of a sunset. Maybe he got a math question correct from his teacher in kindergarten.

Truth is truth regardless. The objective Standard for truth and beauty and goodness is the Source of truth and beauty and goodness, the One who created these things whose qualities flow from the essential nature of his being.

Don't expect to find much wisdom and truth leaping off the pages of the Sunday newspaper Parade Magazine. Neither would you expect to find them in an interview with Jay Leno. Perhaps a smile or two but no quotes to etch in marble. Smiles being in slim supply these past months, I plunged in, and lo--to my surprise, I found nuggets of truth and wisdom.

The first quote that got me nodding came about as he elaborated on his motor vehicle hobbies.
"I have about 135 cars and 90 motorcycles.  It's a little silly, but my thing has always been one woman and 200 vehicles.  It's cheaper than one car and 200 girlfriends."
Truth in jest.  I don't think he meant that one-woman was silly but his vehicular fetish. No, Mr. Leno is a rarity in Hollywood in that he sees the pain that comes from not being able to reign one's libido. Solomon suggested something similar minus the wit when he said,
"Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death." (Proverbs 7:27)
A bit later he was asked what kept his marriage working. He quipped,
"If you don't fool around, it's not that hard."
Wow.  Kind of the anti-Nike.  Just don't do it.  Sounds a lot like "Thou shalt not commit adultery" minus the King James English.

Really, if adultery is not an option (as it ought not be), it's much like flying in an airplane without a parachute. If you want to make the final destination, you have to work together to get the plane going again when it starts sputtering.  There's no jumping out mid-flight. Tracy and I have made it a point never to use the d-word ("divorce," if crosswords aren't your thing). No parachute. Not an option. Might I challenge you, brothers, to never, EVER consider the a-word (word three this paragraph). Just don't do it.

Leno continued,
"I think the key to life is low self-esteem--believing you're not the smartest or most handsome person in the room. All the people who have high self-esteem are criminals and actors."
Try this on,
"What is man that you are mindful of him?" (Psalm 8:4)
"All our righteousnesses are like filthy rags." (Isaiah 64:6)
"Certainly every man at his best state is but a vapor." (Psalm 39:5)
In fact, man's rebellious pride keeps him from seeing his sin and confessing it before a holy God. But think about what he said in your relationship with your wife. If every day you were continually amazed that such an extraordinary, beautiful woman would have you as her man, if you saw her as the unsurpassing treasure and priceless gift from the very hand of God made specially for you, would you not treat your bride with greater honor? When my opinion of myself begins to burgeon within my marriage relationship, I start getting demanding and having unfair expectations. Tenderness wanes. Curtness and rudeness become the norm. Perhaps this is why Paul encouraged the church at Philippi 
" humility count others more significant than yourselves." (Philippians 2:3b)
 No, Jay Leno is not Jonathan Edwards. And please, don't tune into The Tonight Show to improve your marriage or to plumb the mysteries of the universe. I have to admit, though, as a husband, I was greatly encouraged to see a man of wealth, fame, and even power have a high regard for his wife and his marriage. A nugget of truth. An encouragement to the heart.

So take it from Jay.  Love your wife. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Corporal punishment

Okay, husband, time to put on your Dad Hat.  If you're not a dad yet, then put on your I'm-Imagining-I'm-a-Dad Hat. Let's say you tell your son, "Please make your bed." You stated it with sufficient volume that you had no doubt the sound waves carried at 700+ miles per hour to your progeny's ear. His eyeballs, clear and focused, were on your face so you had every reason to believe they saw your lips move at very nearly the same instant that your words tom-tom'ed upon his ear drums.

Now, imagine your reaction if you received the following reactions to your message.
  • NADA.  Zip.  Nothing. The head turns back to the iTouch and the current game of Angry Words with Friends. No. Surely not. Laurence Olivier could not have delivered the lines with greater verve and clarity. You know you were heared, but you didn't even get an acknowledgment that you had communicated.  Ignored.
How 'bout this one.
  • THE FORGETFUL ENTHUSIAST. "Wilco, pops! Right away. I'm on it. Let me just finish this episode of NCIS-Des Moines." An hour later he's out the door to spend the day with friends. Later you saunter down the hall to get something out of the back bedroom and your eye catches the rumpled heap of a bed as you pass Junior's room. Great intentions. Just gets busy with other things. Distracted like a puppy in a field of butterflies.
Ah, we're just getting started.
  • THE SNOW JOB. "Yes, sir." Okay, but you know that the affirmative response has been used in the past to get you off of their back. So you pursue.  "Did you understand me?" "Yes, Dad. I'll get on it." Twenty-minutes later, they haven't moved an inch. No intention of bed making; just pitching answers to satisfy dad's demands.
  • THE LAWYER. After twenty-minutes of inaction you poke, "Did you get your bed made?" Up to the bar they stride, "Did you mean today? You didn't clarify the date nor the time of when you wanted me to conclude the bed-making enterprise. Could you get that in writing and notarized for me next time, and I'd like at least twenty-four hours of advanced warning so I can ensure all of the equipment is in place to complete said tasking."
  • THE REBEL. No sooner has the message hit the cortex of your child's brain than the word, "No" falls from their lips with nary a change of expression. Eyes locked. Icy defiance.
So how would you handle those responses to your command?

Now the tougher question: Which of these children are you?

Try these commands from your Father on for size.  Most you've heard here before:
    "Dwell with your wives with understanding" (1 Peter 3:7)

    "Show honor to your wife as the weaker vessel" (Same)

    "Love your wife as Christ loved the church..." (Ephesians 5:25)

    "...and gave himself up for her" (Same)

    "Husbands should love their wives as their own bodies" (Ephesians 5:28)

    "Do not be harsh with them" (Colossians 3:19)

    "Do not deprive (your wife)" (1 Corinthians 7:5)

    "Out do (your wife) in showing honor" (Romans 12:10)

    "Comfort (your wife)" (2 Corinthians 13:11)

    "Through love, serve (your wife)" (Galatians 5:13)

    "Do not lie to (your wife)" (Colossians 3:9)

    "And let us consider how to stir up (our wives) to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging (our wives), and all the more as you see the Day drawing near" (Hebrews 10:24b-25)

    "Do not grumble against (your wife)" (James 5:9)
How's that for starters? I haven't nearly exhausted Scripture. If you are doing these things, keep on. If not, I ask my question again. Which child are you? What is your reason for bristling against the bit? Are any of the child's excuses valid? Has God left you any loopholes in the above commandments?

Husband, love your God. Worship him. Commit to him.  And thereby love your wife.