In this Sunday’s sermon on marriage, I talked much about my squash bug problem in my garden. However, I’ve also had other pests this year trying to keep my garden from flourishing – slugs (that’s a first!), grasshoppers, corn earworm, corn rootworm, and earwigs – all going after the good fruits in my garden. Gardens can be full of pests, but so can marriages. We’ve already looked at the pests of selfishness and unforgiveness, but there’s 2 more pests that I want to chat with you about.
The first pest is the too-busy termite.1 The too-busy termite is a pest that day after day and week after week, gnaws away at the framework of our marriages. While we are busy with the daily grind from 8 to 5, microwaving Hot Pockets, and running kids around to every sort of event or practice, these little bugs are going to town on our homes. While we are too busy to do a proper inspection, little by little the too-busy termite erodes our oneness and we don’t know each other anymore. Ephesians 5:15-16 says,
“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise,
In the days of overstimulation we’re living in, I would recommend exterminating this termite by putting the cell phones down and frequently going on a relaxing walk or date night with just the two of you. If you go to a restaurant, try to find a corner booth where there is the least distraction – you know, one where there isn’t a TV right behind your spouse’s head! I find that my wife and I tend to have the most meaningful and necessary conversations about the direction of our marriage and our family in these moments. I never want to be too busy for them! We also intentionally put the kids to bed early so we can spend the last hour of the night talking and praying. Chuck Swindoll writes,
“No amount of fanatical zeal or noble calling will ever justify the destruction of a home…
The second pest is the forget-me-not flea. This pest doesn’t want you to forget previously forgiven offenses. Even though you’ve forgiven your offender, that pesky flea keeps bringing the offense to mind, saying, “They don’t deserve your love. They don’t deserve your trust. No more Mr. Nice Guy! Get revenge already!” The flea refuses to let you forget.
Now we may very well forget a forgiven offense (and praise the Lord when that happens!), but there is certainly no way to purge the memory of an offense, even if we really want too. Some are impossible to forget. You may have heard that God forgives and forgets, but this is impossible for Him too. He is an omniscient God which means He knows all things. He can’t forget. However, He can refuse to bring up past offenses or call us out on them or act on them. That’s what verses like Hebrews 8:12 and 10:17 mean when they say that He doesn’t remember our sins. Hebrews 10:17 says,
“Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
Micah 7:19 says,
“You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot
When God forgives our sins, He throws them into the depths of the ocean and puts up a “No Fishing” sign. We are completely released from them.
Whenever the forget-me-not flea brings a past offense to mind, let him know that you have tread the offense underfoot and thrown it into the depths of the sea. Just like we shouldn’t dwell on thoughts of lust or hatred, so we mustn’t dwell on past offenses, leading to spiritual sin.2 Take those thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). Refuse to use past grievances for leverage. Refuse to bring them up or dwell on them. Bury the flea as many times as you have too (and soak it in pesticide). Luke 6:38 says,
“Pardon and you will be pardoned. Give, and it will be given to you.
In Christ with you,
1 Charles Swindoll, Strike the Original Match (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980), 107.
2 John MacArthur, The Freedom and Power of Forgiveness (Wheaton: Crossway, 1998), 189-190.
In light of Independence Day, I thought I would share some quotes from the founding fathers of our nation and early institutions in our nation’s history that expose their worldview for us and explain the tremendous freedom & privilege we have of living in the United States under our constitution. They also show us how important Judeo-Christian truth & morals are to our freedom! --- Pastor Justin
Harvard’s Rules & Precepts, 1636:
“Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3) and therefore lay Christ at the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning.”
Harvard’s original motto:
“Veritas Cristo et Ecclesiae” = Truth for Christ and the Church (now, it’s simply “Veritas”)
Princeton Founding Statement, 1746:
“Cursed is all learning that is contrary to the Cross of Christ.”
National Education Association (NEA) in as late as 1892:
“If the study of the Bible is to be excluded from all state schools; if the inculcation of the principles of Christianity is to have no place in the daily program; if the worship of God is to have no part of the general exercises of these public elementary schools; then the good of the state would be better served by restoring all schools to church control.”
Benjamin Rush, “A Defense of the Use of the Bible as a School Book”, 1798:
“In contemplating the political institutions of the United States, I lament that we waste so much time and money in punishing crimes, and take so little pains to prevent them. We profess to be republicans and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government. That is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by the means of the Bible.”
Noah Webster, Reply to David McClure, Oct. 25th 1836:
“In my view, the Christian Religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed… no truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian Religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.”
George Washington, Farewell Address, Sept. 17, 1796:
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports… In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens.”
John Adams, Letter of June 21, 1776, quoted in the Wall Builder Report, Summer 1993:
“Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand.”
Benjamin Rush, Essays, Literary, Moral and Philosophical, 1798:
“The only foundation for… a republic is to be laid in Religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.”
Charles Carroll, signer of the Declaration of Independence, letter to James McHenry, 1800:
“Without morals, a republic cannot subsist for any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion… are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.”
Patrick Henry, Letter to Archibald Blair, January 8, 1799:
“The great pillars of all government and of social life [are] virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor… and this alone, that renders us invincible.”
Benjamin Franklin, Letter to Messrs, April 17, 1787:
“…only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”
Daniel Webster, 4th of July, 1800:
“To preserve the government we must also preserve morals. Morality rests on religion; if you destroy the foundation, the superstructure must fall. When the public mind becomes vitiated and corrupt, laws are a nullity and constitutions becomes waste paper.”
Noah Webster, 1833:
“…the moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws… all the miseries which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”
Noah Webster, 1834:
“It is alleged by men of loose principles, or defective views of the subject, that religion and morality are not necessary or important qualifications for political stations. But the Scriptures teach a different doctrine. They direct that rulers should be men who rule in the fear of God, able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness…”
Webster definition of government in 1828:
“The science of government; that part of ethics which consists in the regulation and government of a nation or state, for the preservation of its safety, peace and prosperity; comprehending the defense of its existence and rights against foreign control or conquest… and the protection of its citizens in their rights, with the preservation and improvement of their morals.”
The U.S. Constitution:
“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Calvin Coolidge, 30th president of the United States from 1923 to 1929:
“To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”
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