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C. S. Lewis on Marriage and Forgiveness:

So much has been written on marriage and forgiveness, but Lewis has some fresh ideas, and I’m looking forward to edifying discussions! When he gave his radio address on marriage he thought it might be his most unpopular address, but then he changed his mind when he spoke on forgiveness, saying, this would be the most unpopular subject. Remember, he was speaking to an audience who were experiencing terrible atrocities from the Nazis. Lewis said:

Forgiveness is hard, for it means letting someone off the hook who does not deserve to be let off the hook! As Lewis said:

I’d like to tell you a story Billy told at my church, The Orchard, recently. Billy was baptized in the lake outside my house two summers ago, after “everything in his head fell to his heart” while mowing the lawn. Billy and Roxy were newlyweds at the time.

Billy supports his wife and newborn son with an outdoor maintenance company. He recently, on faith, bought more equipment to hire a full-time employee. For several weeks he trained a young man, but when the training was over, he got an e-mail saying, “I quit and I’m never coming back.”

Billy said, “I was mad at him, and honestly, I was mad at God because I had prayed about this and stepped out on faith.” It is very hard to find help where we live, and now Billy not only had angry customers but also debt.

We were going through my book, Idol Lies, and Billy began to realize that a control idol was at the heart of his bitterness. Billy went to his former employee and not only confessed his lack of forgiveness toward him, but also his own sin, for he had seen he truly had done some things wrong in his way of dealing with him. Now that employee has come back to work for Billy and also mentioned that he was noticing that Billy lived his faith — and it intrigued him, for he is not a Christian.

Our own Lizzy has used the term “a play-dough” heart, which I see in Billy. A play-dough heart makes us able to respond to God’s high standard for marriage and for forgiveness.

(Note to active bloggers: The button is back for you to receive notifications of responses to you. If you check it and wish you hadn’t because of the number of e-mails in your box, then next week if you don’t check it, it will stop.)

Sunday:

1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

Monday: Christian Marriage

 

2. Read or listen to Lewis’ chapter on Christian marriage and share something that stands out to you — and explain why.

 

Tuesday: Reflecting on Lewis and Marriage (Oneness and Divorce)

When Steve and I wrote our study guide on marriage, it became so clear that the prevailing theme was “the two shall become one,” beginning in Genesis and repeated five times in Scripture. It also foreshadows our becoming one with our ultimate Bridegroom. This is where Lewis lands for his basis for Christian marriage:

 The inventor of the human machine is telling us that its two halves, male and female, were meant to be combined together in pairs, not simply on the sexual level, but totally combined. 

3. With this as the foundation, Lewis discusses divorce. He says denominations may disagree on when divorce is permissible, but the way they view divorce is different than the way the world views divorce. How do Christians, according to Lewis, view divorce? Do you think this can be supported scripturally?

 

4. He believes that if two people don’t take the above view of divorce, but divorce whenever one of their needs are not being met, it is better to live together than to marry. Why, does he say? Do you agree or not and why?

Wednesday: More Reflections, Including Some Controversy, on Marriage

Christian marriage is a covenant relationship, whereas worldly marriage is more likely to be a consumer relationship. But in our hearts, Lewis shows, we each desire a covenant rather than a consumer relationship. Lewis refers to Chesterton who says “those who are in love have a desire to bind themselves by promises.”

5. Do you agree? Have you experienced this? How is this evidence of God putting His law in our hearts?

 

G. K. Chesterton was a Catholic who died shortly before World War II began, and wrote the Father Brown series which has now been adapted for Netflix. Like Lewis, he saw that love can make us generous and brave.

6. Lewis talks about what happens to people who persevere when the thrill is gone in marriage. What did he say? Do you agree or disagree? What has been your experience?

 

7. At the close, Lewis states he thinks there should be two kinds of marriage: one governed by the state with its rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the church with its rules enforced on its members. This is controversial, indeed. I am not sure I agree, going back to the truth that no man is an island. I do wonder if Lewis would say the same today, in view of the drastic changes that have taken place. Homosexual marriage does affect us all, as does polygamy and bigamy. It hurts human flourishing. Yes Lewis says, for example, if Mohammedans tried to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine. What do you think about this and why?

 

8. At the close, Lewis also addresses the topic of headship.What does he say? Do you agree or disagree that it seems unnatural for a woman to take the role of headship? Thoughts?

Thursday: Forgiveness

9. Read or listen to Lewis chapter on forgiveness and share something that stood out to you and why.

Friday: Reflecting on Forgiveness

10. How does Lewis dispute the idea that loving your neighbor means feel fond of him or thinking  of him as nice? Does this help you? Why or why not?

 

11. How did Lewis come to believe this was true: “hate the sin but not the man?”

 

12. Why does Lewis believe you can not hate someone but still punish him?

 

13. Lewis was not a pacifist. Why? Do you agree or not? (I do disagree with him here and will share.)

14. Is there anything in this chapter that will help you to better forgive? If so, what?

 

Saturday: 

   15. What is your take-a-way and why?

     . 

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108 comments

  1.  
    1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    The story of Billy’s forgiveness, repentance and his going to his former employee to ask forgiveness.  He took the extra step and humbled himself by going to his former employee to ask forgiveness. He could have just left it alone, just forgiven him in his heart and repented to God of his own wrongdoing, but he didn’t.  It may have seemed like a small sin, after all he didn’t beat the guy or anything and it would have been easier to just let it go. His former employee was a non-Christian anyway and may not have even understood or cared about his apology, but Billy did the hard thing. What a great example.

     

  2. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

    I hope you don’t mind if I was excited to read that the button to receive emails is back … but … I don’t see it here. I miss receiving the emails because I have been really busy with extra summer activities and with grandchildren visiting. I have continued with reading Lewis, but have not time to comment much. I used to enjoy reading what others thought very much.

    I liked the Billy story because it shows that repentance when he actually apologizes to the employee made a difference.

    1. Dee, I use Google Chrome. Is that what you need?

  3. Sunday:
    1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    A play-dough heart makes us able to respond to God’s high standard for marriage and for forgiveness.”

    Right now, my husband-pastor and I are meeting/ministering with a couple who has just separated. It is with deep conviction that we want this couple to be restored to each other. There is no third person involved as far as we know. The hurts are deep (married for 17 years) and both are struggling and want out. They are seeing a counselor together as well as individually. We love them both and pray we will Christ-like in dispensing grace as we listen and advise. Please pray for my husband and I as well as this couple. For us to have play-dough hearts. They have 6 children ages 3-13.

    1. Praying, Bing. It is so hard to deal with marriage separation – deep pains and forgiveness is hard.

    2. oh Bing–praying for you & your husband to have wisdom and most of all for God to work and bring healing and restoration, and for peace for the kids. So sorry.

    3. So difficult Bing. I will pray.

  4. 1.  What stands out to you from the above and why?

    What stood out to me was how brave Billy was to actually go to the man and ask forgiveness…what a testimony to that man!  But, what really stood out to me, is how God rewarded Billy in being obedient to Him.  The world and even a small voice within Billy probably said that it wasn’t necessary, making justifications.  But he knew in his heart what God wanted him to do and he acted on it.

    1. I use safari, and the box is there…

    2. I too see it and use Safari😊

    3. I’m using google Chrome and I can see it.

    4. I use Firefox and I see it.

       

  5. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

    I am convicted by Billy’s heart. His example shows what is first required before we can forgive others: humility. He laid down his “right to be mad” and any sense that he didn’t deserve to be wronged—and to do that, with sincerity, I must first be humble and recognize my own sin.

    Forgiveness has always been a hard one for me. I can honestly say, that if a person is sorry—then I rush in and truly, all is “forgiven”. But the hard part for me is when they don’t apologize or even seem to acknowledge it. But Billy perfectly lived out what Keller says about forgiveness—it is ALWAYS my move. Billy didn’t wait for the apology, he moved. He dropped the clutch on his own pain and pride, and moved towards reconciliation. He’s’s a beautiful example.

    * I use google chrome & I have the check box, so maybe David fixed it 🙂

    1. This is so strange, Lizzy and Dee. How could Lizzy use google chrome and have a check box, yet I don’t have one??? (I just refreshed and it still isn’t there!)

      1. Diane–could you maybe try deleting the cookies (in history) for this site, and make sure your google chrome is updated (when mine needs updating the arrow in the right corner is green). So sorry!

        1. I think Lizzy is right, delete cookies first, and if that doesn’t work try updating Chrome. I can see the box on my iPhone (safari) and google chrome on my pc. Another thing to try is using internet explorer. It usually works with things like this.

  6. 1.  I loved that after Billy’s confession, the man not only came back to work for him, but was intrigued by Billy living out his faith. So often we fuss about having blown it with some unbeliever, and God might use that very thing to draw them to Him. Not that we should go around messing up, but even then it can turn out for good if we give it to God and do what is right.

  7. I’m sorry to cause such a bother over the check box. If I’m the only one that does not have one, just leave it be. I know this is costing you money, Dee.

  8. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

     

    I don’t recall having this problem of forgiving someone on a regular basis. I do think there are one or two people that it has happened before (I have either not forgiven or struggled forgiving), but generally speaking I try to let “bygones be bygones.” I guess I am fairly insecure and just want people to like me. Right now I am pretty upset with a close friend, but will forgive her because I value our friendship and we all do stupid things at times. I usually reflect to see what I did to help the situation along. I try to be more outspoken so I am not misunderstood…even when it hurts to say something hard.

     

    Here again, he is talking of marriage when I just thought we were talking about Christianity (feeling like I did about the sex  chapter). I’m hoping it all ties together in the end!

    1. I do realize Christ and the church represent marriage…it’s just not the first thing I think of when I think of Christianity.

  9. 2. Read or listen to Lewis’ chapter on Christian marriage and share something that stands out to you — and explain why.

     

    I like the explanation of “one organism” being a married couple. He says it’s like a key/lock system or a violin/bow instrument. One doesn’t work without the other.

     

    I also think its interesting how Lewis speaks of 2 kinds of marriage back then; Christian and government. I think there is only 1 marriage and it is Christian. The word marriage is biblical and should remain a higher standard because it follows the Bible. I realize that sounds arrogant (just as getting to heaven only occurs through Jesus Christ), but it is a condition of following direction of the Bible. A disclaimer here…my husband and I were “married” at the JOP and then several years later renewed our vows in our local church. I am sad that we did what we did back then, but we were both married before (in churches) and both divorced. I’m glad we participated in the vow renewal at the church.

    It’s as some people think we should do today by allowing people to get “married” if they are gay. Do what you want, but don’t call it marriage. It is not as far as I’m concerned;  calling it that is disrespectful to Christianity (and me) as far as I’m concerned. I agree that those who aren’t Christian should not have to follow Christian “law,” just as I do not want to be required to observe Sharia law.

    1. “It’s as some people think we should do today by allowing people to get “married” if they are gay. Do what you want, but don’t call it marriage. It is not as far as I’m concerned;  calling it that is disrespectful to Christianity (and me) as far as I’m concerned. I agree that those who aren’t Christian should not have to follow Christian “law,” just as I do not want to be required to observe Sharia law.”

      Laura, I think of you when I think of the blog post here a few years ago that included a link to “intellectual hospitality”. You are a person of conviction yet have a mind to see where others differ in theirs. Being a Christian in our present world is hard-only the grace of God helps us make a go of life here. And we have Christ’ mind as we navigate world views that are not congruent to the Bible. Thank you as always for your thoughtful comments.

  10. 2.  Marriage, one flesh means one organism, just like a violin and bow are one instrument. That was totally new to me, but I like it a lot. It explains so well why we are not to separate, and why we are to be regarded as one. Even though we are so different from one another and don’t lose that in marriage, there is a blending, which he calls combining. It produces not just sexual union, but economic, social, spiritual and others I am not coming up with, when it functions as God intended.

    “Those who are in love have a natural inclination to bind themselves by promises” Chesterton. Makes me wonder what promises spoken or unspoken have been made when people co-habitate. I hope someday I get to ask my niece and her fiancé, who have lived together for close to ten years.

    I was stunned to read Lewis say that it is better to live together than to make promises you don’t intend to keep. I have to mull that one more.

    The other new thing for me was when he said that switching from being in love to long for a lifetime means a death. That it brings more and better life for it to have died to being in love so that you can be alive to loving for a lifetime.

     

    1. Mary, I was stunned too with the line on living together. But I thought he was just trying to make a point to make his listeners see the absurdity of such a choice if they were smart to follow his argument? I shudder to think about people getting married with no intent to keep their promise of fidelity.

      “being in love to long for a lifetime means a death. That it brings more and better life for it to have died to being in love so that you can be alive to loving for a lifetime.”  Having been privy to a couple’s struggle in their marriage these last few months reminded me of my vows to my husband and not to take him for granted-to continue nurturing my marriage and it does include dying to self. It is almost too much to think of the joy I experience when I die to self.

  11. I haven’t commented since the very beginning because I started a week or so late and have been behind ever since.  I have been here all along, am still here doing the work, and am finally caught up!  I know I didn’t have to be caught up before commenting but when the topic had moved on,  I wasn’t sure if anyone would even see it.  I kept my notes for every Book and chapter in a journal and have enjoyed reading many, many of all of you all’s thought-provoking comments. Reading this book calls for so much focus and processing but I am so glad I am in this study and that I have stuck with it really on my own. Lewis is amazing!  As far as thoughts about the intro to this week, I have to concur that forgiveness IS so hard sometimes.  As Lewis says, “forgiving the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in us.”  To me, the hardest is when the same wrongs from the same person happen over and over and over again, like I’m some kind of doormat.  I really struggle with this and know this is going to be a big chapter. Also, where would I find the check box?

      1. Thank you Dee – I see it now!

    1. Welcome, Molly! I so empathize with you about the same wrong from the same person happening over and over again. It is hard. Lewis quote is humbling and helps me move past unforgiveness. But I do struggle, too.

      1. Thank you, Ernema.  I will be praying for clarity about this and am ever seeking God’s direction and guidance to rule over my own ways of doing things.  I so yearn for more of Him in me than there is of myself.  I’m looking forward to reading the chapter on forgiveness.

  12. 2. Read or listen to Lewis’ chapter on Christian marriage and share something that stands out to you — and explain why.
    So many things stood out to me. C.S. Lewis is so prolific in his words. Too much for me at times but so good! And the doodles!!! I wish there was a way to do a screen shot of the whole presentation.
    1. a man and wife are to be regarded as a single organism…a lock and its key are one mechanism, or that a violin and a bow are one musical instrument. 
     2. (Love this inclusion of justice as I have not really considered it before in relation to marriage) Justice, as I said before, includes the keeping of promises. Now everyone who has been married in a church has made a public, solemn promise to stick to his (or her) partner till death. The duty of keeping that promise has no special connection with sexual morality: it is in the same position as any other promise. 
    3. As Chesterton pointed out, those who are in love have a natural inclination to bind themselves by promises. 
    4. Love… is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be ‘in love’ with someone else. ‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.
    5. This is, I think, one little part of what Christ meant by saying that a thing will not really live unless it first dies. It is simply no good trying to keep any thrill: that is the very worst thing you can do. Let the thrill go -let it die away-go on through that period of death into the quieter interest and happiness that follow -and you will find you are living in a world of new thrills all the time. But if you decide to make thrills your regular diet and try to prolong them artificially, they will all get weaker and weaker, and fewer and fewer, and you will be a bored, disillusioned old man for the rest of your life. It is because so few people understand this that you find many middle-aged men and women maundering about their lost youth, at the very age when new horizons ought to be appearing and new doors opening all round them. Yes, Lord, open my eyes to those new doors!

  13. I now have a checkbox. Thank you very much. I am so grateful to those who know how to work with and fix these things.

  14. 2.  Read or listen to Lewis’ chapter in Christian marriage and share something that stands out to you – and explain why.

    So much stood out to me…I thought Lewis had quite a bit of insight for not being married.

    ”Ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love.  Love in this second sense – love as distinct from ‘being in love’  – is not merely a feeling.  It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit;  reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God.”  This to me is Agape love, a love that is sacrificial and selfless and can only be obtained by the power of the Holy Spirit.  A love that can only be truly obtained in a Christian marriage.

    What he said about what people get from novels and movies about marriage was so true.  1). “If you have married the right person you may expect to go on ‘being in love’ forever.”  2). “ ‘Falling in love’ is something quite irresistible; something that just happens to one, like measles.”   When believing these things and they find out they aren’t true, they think they’ve made a mistake and “are entitled to a change”.  The problem with that is when they make the change it happens all over again.  They also “throw up the sponge and give in when they find themselves attracted by a new acquaintance.”  

     

  15. 3.  When Lewis talks about divorce, he says it is not like dissolving a business partnership, but more like cutting off someone’s legs. It is supported in scripture, when Paul said it mirrored our union with Christ (Eph 5:32), God doesn’t intend for His union with us to be broken, and He doesn’t want the picture we show to the world to be distorted either. Hosea 2:19-20.

     

    4.  Lewis says that to marry in the church and not keep the vows adds perjury to fornication or adultery, and doesn’t make anything right. I can see what he is saying, but like I said before, I am not sure that it is better to not marry. I think the social constraint we used to have to get married and stay married encouraged people to work through the hard spots. But maybe I am naive about the true state of marriage in years long gone, especially in regards to unbelievers.

  16. 3.  How do Christians, according to Lewis, view divorce?  Do you think this can be supported scripturally?

    ”They regard divorce as something like cutting up a living body, as a kind of surgical operation.”  The verse that came to mind was Genesis 2:24 and is quoted by Paul in Ephesians 5:31…”For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”  I never thought about divorce quite the way Lewis put it but it really does make sense.

    4.  He believes that if two people don’t take the above view of divorce, but divorce whenever one of their needs are not being met, it is better to live together than to marry.  Why, does he say?  Do you agree or not, and why?

    ”If people do not believe in permanent marriage, it is perhaps better that they should live together unmarried than that they should make vows they do not mean to keep.”  “One fault is not mended by adding another: unchastity is not improved by adding perjury.”  

    I think as a society, even in the Christian circle, marriage has really been cheapened.  It’s entered into with the mindset that if it doesn’t work out we can get divorced.  If that is the mindset than I agree with Lewis.  Marriage to me is very sacred and should be entered into as a covenant.  Disclaimer:  I believe there are times when divorce, sadly, is the only solution.  I remember a preacher stating that if a married women is being abused she must stay in that marriage even unto death!  After making sure I understood what he was saying, I walked out of that church and never went back.

     

  17. 3. With this as the foundation, Lewis discusses divorce. He says denominations may disagree on when divorce is permissible, but the way they view divorce is different than the way the world views divorce. How do Christians, according to Lewis, view divorce? Do you think this can be supported scripturally?

     

    Christians believe that divorce is like cutting up a body, like in sugery. He says that some believe it can’t be done at all because it’s so violent. Others say it is a desperate move in extreme cases. He says it is more like having your legs cut off than just dissolving a business agreement.

     

    Let’s see about the support from scripture:

     

    “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

    ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭2:24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    http://bible.com/59/gen.2.24.esv

     

    One flesh seems pretty much together to me.

     

    Here’s Jesus:

    “So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.””

    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭19:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    http://bible.com/59/mat.19.6.esv

     

    “and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.”

    ‭‭Mark‬ ‭10:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    http://bible.com/59/mrk.10.8.esv

     

    Yes I do believe it is supported by scripture.

  18. 4. He believes that if two people don’t take the above view of divorce, but divorce whenever one of their needs are not being met, it is better to live together than to marry. Why, does he say? Do you agree or not and why?

     

    Lewis says people should not lie about keeping vows. He also says that by living together they are committing just the sin of fornication, but by getting married they are both now lying and committing fornication.

     

    hmmm…well, on the surface it seems terrible, but if you look at it deeper maybe he’s right?

    I thought my mom would be upset if my ex-husband and I lived together without being married, so we got married to live together. Wrong reason and I knew it all along. I committed both sins. It was a marriage of convenience for us. We saved on rent and we had each other, but I’m not sure we ever loved each other. So, I committed two “crimes” according to Lewis. Bummer, but, like I said, I really knew it all along inside.

    1. By the way, if anyone had ever explained marriage to me as Lewis had, I would NEVER have gotten married or divorced! Surgery? Cutting off limbs??? Yuck!

      Sadly, my mom probably read this book and never talked to us about it. She was of that generation that didn’t talk about sensitive issues like this.

  19. 3. With this as the foundation, Lewis discusses divorce. He says denominations may disagree on when divorce is permissible, but the way they view divorce is different than the way the world views divorce. How do Christians, according to Lewis, view divorce? Do you think this can be supported scripturally?
    …they all regard divorce as something like cutting up a living body, as a kind of surgical operation. Some of them think the operation so violent that it cannot be done at all; others admit it as a desperate remedy in extreme cases. They are all agreed that it is more like having both your legs cut off than it is like dissolving a business partnership or even deserting a regiment.
    The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the LORD Almighty. Malachi 2:16
    Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” Matthew 19:6 (NLT)
    4. He believes that if two people don’t take the above view of divorce, but divorce whenever one of their needs are not being met, it is better to live together than to marry. Why, does he say? Do you agree or not and why?
     If people do not believe in permanent marriage, it is perhaps better that they should live together unmarried than that they should make vows they do not mean to keep. It is true that by living together without marriage they will be guilty (in Christian eyes) of fornication. But one fault is not mended by adding another: unchastity is not improved by adding perjury.
    I think the living together is the selfish way. This is self-preservation “just in case”. But why get in a serious relationship when one is not really serious about a permanent one? I know some of my students live together to save money for rent. Or to put up a façade that they are serious about one another. Some live together to give it a “trial run”. Then they can leave when it “doesn’t work”. As long as there is no firm biblical conviction in a couple about what marriage should be, I think we will always have couples living together.
    Question: So what do we say to those who are engaged, have set a date and know for sure they are getting married and decide to start their lives together before the wedding and live together? They are getting married anyway.
     I have a friend whose daughter and fiancé lived in separate apartments before they got married. They got teased for doing so and questioned numerous times why. They are now married and I am sure they did not regret not having lived together before getting married.

  20. 5.  I agree that love leads to promises. It is the nature of love to offer oneself with the giving of an oath or promise, and then strive to keep it. I remember before I was married saying to God, if this is the man you have for me, I can learn to love him. We were ‘in love’, but even in that, a part of me understood that to go into marriage required more than feelings. God, Himself, models this for us throughout scripture, giving us promises.

     

    6.  Lewis says the thrill going out of marriage is a kind of death, but as we plant or invest that into the future, we will find more and better thrills to come. I agree. As one who has been married for nearly 42 years. It is a different love we have today, but no less binding or wonderful.

     

    7.  Lewis’ view is that there should be two different types of marriage, one civil and one religious. Technically that has been true for a long time. You get a marriage license from the state that then can be dissolved only by death or by divorce. It is the church that has fallen down in it’s responsibility to both aide and counsel marriage, and then to set up consequences for divorce. Not that I have a clue what they should be.

    1. As far as I understand it, which could be wrong, the civil marriage has no vows to it at all. Any vows are added by whomever the couple chooses to do the actual ceremony.

    2. Dee, my husband and I were married by a Dallas County Justice of the Peace (and later renewed our vows in our church). When I asked my husband if he remembered the JOP pulling out his “little black leather book” to read to us, my husband immediately said “Bible” as I started to say the word “book.” We do believe he read from the Bible and we said some sort of vows… “do you Laura, take George….”

  21. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

     

    The two Lewis quotes, about forgiveness being such a lovely idea, (makes for a feel-good conversation) until you have to forgive, and about forgiving what we feel is inexcusable, because God forgave us for what is inexcusable.

    I am struggling with what it really means to forgive right now. I regularly read Leslie Vernick’s FB and blog, where she deal a lot with women in destructive marriages. Leslie seems to go against some other mainstream Christian speakers, like Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. For example, I have listened to Nancy’s program and heard testimonies of ladies who stayed in very hard marriages with alcoholics, infidelity, etc….and often, God “came through” in the end, but Leslie, while I’m not saying she advocates divorce, says that God values the woman’s mental, emotional, and physical health more than He values the marriage staying together.

     

    I’m not struggling with this issue in regards to my marriage, but with another person in my life where there has been a long history of things done to me, said behind my back, lies told to me and about me, and often after a long conversation with this person, I feel like I need to sit down with a counselor. It’s like this person “messes with my head”. I often feel guilty about not having or feeling any real emotions of love or closeness for this person, because if I am a Christian, shouldn’t I feel love? I do not hate this person or wish anything bad to happen to them, but I generally always feel somewhat guarded and uncomfortable in their presence. Unfortunately, this person is a family member which increases my guilt. Even when I try to honestly talk through the issues we’ve had, this person seems to twist everything around and it is literally exhausting. My last conversation with them went something like this, “I know you hate me…..” and claiming that someone else in the family told them that I hated them, which is not true. But the truth is that I do not like this person and generally feel better not being around them. Then I feel guilty for not trying to be close and spend time with them but I also feel it is unhealthy for me to be around them!

      1. Dee, this was helpful to re-read: “A promise must be about things that I can do, about actions; no one can promise to go on feeling in a certain way.” And yesterday, I received a Christian magazine in the mail in which someone wrote in for advice about what to do when they can’t stand their co-worker, and how do they show love? The reply was very helpful to me. It said that in the Bible, we are not commanded to like someone, but we are commanded to love. I think this is where my guilt comes in; I feel like I should have feelings for this person, I should like her, I should make an effort to get together with her….because I am a Christian, right? But I see now that God doesn’t command me to have feelings. The article said that to love would mean to not try to sabotage the co-worker, to treat them respectfully, and to not gossip behind their backs, and to pray for them.

    1. Susan, I empathize with you. I only half jokingly say I don’t have family, I have relatives. My mother was a very difficult person for me from close to the time I got married until her death. My sisters had already given up on her, but they aren’t believers. I did completely stop communicating with her for about five years over an issue where I felt  she was dragging my Lord through the mud. After I agreed to again have a relationship with her, it was with boundaries of my choosing. Even then it was hard, and I struggled a lot with how to honor her while maintaining a safe distance and increasingly parenting her. Boundaries were the only sane way to handle it. I learned that I didn’t have to like her to love her with actions, and I didn’t have to tear myself or my marriage and family apart to do it. I am praying that God would be clear with you for how He desires for you to walk the road before you. I will ask that He give counsel through wise and godly people, and confirm it in your spirit. And I will petition the Lord to give you a peace that passes understanding.

      1. Mary, thank you for your very helpful advice, “I learned that I didn’t have to like her to love her with actions, and I didn’t have to tear myself or my marriage and family apart to do it.”

    2. Susan, I am in a very similar situation with a family member as well. I totally get what you mean by “she messes with your head.” And this person is actually a Christian. I like the example that Dee gave of Jan Silvious words, ” waving to them from your castle but keeping your drawbridge up. We are admonished, in so far as it lays with us, to be at peace — but not to be close.” So hard, Susan as we want to be loving and also be loved and accepted. I pray for wisdom for you as you set boundaries in this relationship. 

      One thing I know is that I long for a good and godly relationship with this person. But I realized a good relationship maybe where we are right now-with the boundaries that I have set.

      1. I like this too: wave from your castle but keep your drawbridge up!

  22. 5. Do you agree? Have you experienced this? How is this evidence of God putting His law in our hearts?

     

    I guess I have never thought so deeply about marriage. He says we have a need to have promises. My husband and I have a promise to never get divorced. I have had friends say it’s worse to stay together miserable than to go ahead and get divorced. I disagree. I can’t say George and I are miserable. But our lives have not turned out the way we would have wanted them to. He and I are committed to staying together through thick and thin. I don’t know if we have been through the worst yet; I don’t think we have. But, I hope we will make it through that time as well.

    I’m not sure if what I describe is evidence, or just pure stubbornness! We can’t stand the idea of giving up!

     

     

    1. Laura, the very thing that you can’t stand the idea of giving up is a gift from God.

  23. 2. Read or listen to Lewis’ chapter on Christian marriage and share something that stands out to you – and explain why.

     

    Lewis said, “The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all the other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union. It means that you must not isolate that pleasure and try to get it by itself.” Oh, this is so upside-down from what our culture promotes. Really, most TV shows and movies show the typical guy meets girl, they fall in love, they fall into bed, and a ‘completeness’ is portrayed, and I’m afraid that we’ve seen it so much that we’re desensitized to it and sort of believe the lie. It’s portrayed as if the sexual union is what solidifies the couple together.

     

    This also stands out to me, when Lewis writes, “The promise (of marriage vows) made when I am in love and because I am in love, to be true to the beloved as long as I live, commits me to being true even if I cease to be in love. A promise must be about things that I can do, about actions: no one can promise to go on feeling in a certain way.” That’s food for thought. And it’s so true: you cannot promise to feel a certain way, but promises are about actions. There is so much in the following paragraphs where Lewis expounds on ‘being in love’ and that it is not the best thing, and “You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling.” I was trying in my mind to tie this in with 1 Corinthians 13, the famous “love chapter” read at most weddings. Paul says there that the greatest thing is love, but of course, he’s not talking about this feeling of being in love. Everything that Paul writes about in regards to love is equated with an action. (At first reading, I wanted to disagree with Lewis about love not being the best thing, until I re-read and really saw what he was saying)

    Lewis goes on to say later that “ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love (action). Love in this second sense – love as distinct from ‘being in love’ – is not merely a feeling.”

     

    I think Lewis really nailed his explanation of “one little part of what Christ meant by saying that a thing will not really live unless it first dies”. I always took this to mean, primarily, self-sacrifice, taking up your cross daily. But Lewis’ explanation of perhaps one of its meaning is really brilliant, that trying to keep the thrill of anything is the worst thing you can do. He says, “Let the thrill go – let it die away – go on through that period of death into the quieter interest and happiness that follow – and you will find you are living in a world of new thrills all the time. But if you decide to make thrills your regular diet and try to prolong them artificially, they will all get weaker and weaker, and fewer and fewer, and you will be a bored, disillusioned old man for the rest of your life.” The part about spending your time “maundering about their lost youth when new horizons ought to be appearing” really spoke to me. I can spend too much time looking back to the past and longing for it, longing for the way things used to be.

  24. 3. How do Christians, according to Lewis, view divorce? Do you think this can be supported scripturally?

     

    Christianity teaches that marriage is for life, with different denominations differing as to if they allow divorce in certain circumstances. From the Christian perspective, divorce is like a death, like a dismembering of a body. The secular view is that divorce is a simple readjustment of partners. Without quoting any specific passages from the Bible, I believe that this idea of covenant, which runs through the whole Bible and includes marriage as a covenant, is a serious thing. A covenant, like the picture of God making one with Abraham, involved cutting pieces of animals in two and was ratified by blood. We also know that God takes His covenant with us seriously and when we sin one too many times, He doesn’t do a ‘readjustment’ of partners and decide to abandon us.

  25. 5.  Lewis shows we desire a covenant rather than a consumer relationship and Chesterton says “those who are in love have a desire to bind themselves by promises”.

    Do you agree?

    Yes, especially at the beginning.

    Have you experienced this?

    Yes.  Thankfully my father-in-Law who was a pastor, counseled us before our marriage.  He really opened my eyes spiritually, physically and emotionally as to what marriage was all about.  I knew before it was to be forever and definitely wanted that, but he showed me and my husband how and what that looked liked according to God’s Word.

    How is this evidence of God putting His law in our hearts?

    Is it evident because people want to do the right thing??   Floundering with this question or making it harder than it is!!

    6.  Lewis talks about what happens to people who persevere when the thrill is gone in marriage.  What did he say?

    ”It is just the people who are ready to submit to the loss of the thrill and settle down to the sober interest, who are then most likely to meet new thrills in some quite different direction.”  This is, I think, one little part of what Christ meant by saying that a thing will not really live unless it first dies.  It is simply no good trying to keep any thrill”  “Let the thrill go – let it die – go on through that period of death into the quieter interest and happiness that follow – and you will find you are living in a world of new thrills all the time.”

    Do you agree or disagree?

    I definitely agree…that has been so true in our marriage.

    What has been your experience?

    The journey I’ve been on with my husband the last 42 years has been amazing…ups and downs, yes, but each thing that we have been through has brought us closer together.  There were things that each of us had to die to within ourselves to get to where we are today. And of course continue to die to.  I often tell people that I married the most selfless man…he’s always treated me like a queen!

    7.  Lewis states he thinks there should be two kinds of marriage: one governed by the state and the other by the church.  What do you think about this and why?

    I’m not sure.  I have more questions than answers to this.  How would the church govern a marriage?  Does that mean there would be no need for a license?  How would the state govern a marriage?  I kind of see those that practice polygamy as governing their own marriages…what a disaster!  In looking at my questions I guess marriage should be governed by the state and the church needs to do a better job in preparing couples for marriage and supporting them.  Need to think on this one some more.

    8.  At the close, Lewis also addresses the topic of headship.  What does he say?  

    “The need for some head follows from the idea that marriage is permanent…if marriage is permanent, one or other party must, in the last resort, have the power of deciding the family policy.  You can’t have a permanent association with a constitution.”  “If there must be a head, why the man?…even a woman who wants to be the head does not usually admire the same state of things when she finds it going on next door.”  He goes on to say that basically who’d want to deal with a “mamma bear”?

    Do you agree or disagree that it seems unnatural for a woman to take the role of headship? Thoughts?

    I don’t agree because God said to the woman in Genesis 3:16b “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”  This was part of the curse the woman received in the fall.  “Desire” in this verse does not meant a sexual one but rather has a negative meaning.  It could literally read “ You shall seek control over your husband.”  If you go to Genesis 4:7, God says to Cain “Sin is crouching at your door and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”   What He is saying to Cain is “Sin wants to control you.”  “Desire” in both phrases are the same expression.  Before the fall, God’s plan was for the woman to be subordinate.   The woman will seek to control her husband but he is the head…will rule over her.  I think this is why you see so much conflict in marriages.  And also, this shows the importance of a Christian marriage and understanding what is required of each person.  Ephesians 5 and 1 Corinthians 13.

    One thing I do agree on…a man does seem to be more reasonable in conflict, especially when it comes to a woman’s children and her own husband!

     

     

     

      1. Thank you Dee…he really did love his son and treated me like his own daughter!😍

  26. Wednesday: More Reflections, Including Some Controversy, on Marriage
    Christian marriage is a covenant relationship, whereas worldly marriage is more likely to be a consumer relationship. But in our hearts, Lewis shows, we each desire a covenant rather than a consumer relationship. Lewis refers to Chesterton who says “those who are in love have a desire to bind themselves by promises.”
    5. Do you agree? Have you experienced this? How is this evidence of God putting His law in our hearts?
    Yes, I agree. From a woman’s point of view and a personal one, I am most secure in the promise that Richard and I made when we got married. And should there have been difficulties too hard to bear, I did not even think of them. Call it naivety, perhaps, but that was what I felt then. Forward 30 years and am grateful for that promise I made. From the leaving and cleaving, to loving and respecting, to promises of faithfulness, etc. We had our ups and downs but the grace of God has sustained us. To some degree, my marriage is a reflection  of my relationship with Jesus and the result of my obedience to God’s Word. BUT I am still a work in progress!
    His law: Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” Matthew 19:6 (NLT)
    “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24

  27. 6. Lewis talks about what happens to people who persevere when the thrill is gone in marriage. What did he say? Do you agree or disagree? What has been your experience?
     “If you go through with it, the dying away of the first thrill will be compensated for by a quieter and more lasting kind of interest. What is more (and I can hardly find words to tell you how important I think this), it is just the people who are ready to submit to the loss of the thrill and settle down to the sober interest, who are then most likely to meet new thrills in some quite different direction….Let the thrill go -let it die away-go on through that period of death into the quieter interest and happiness that follow -and you will find you are living in a world of new thrills all the time.”
    I agree. It has taken me many years “to settle down to the sober interest” and most probably because I did not want to die to myself. It was all about me.
    It is interesting that Lewis talked about movies and novels and the like. I realize they sure have colored my idea of marriage in times past though I did not want to admit it at first. But the Lord is most kind and merciful. His Word slowly changed my heart and the “quieter interest and happiness” is taking hold.
    Richard and I have gone through major challenges because of culture differences and expectations as well as some health issues. We covenanted to stick it out together and by the grace of God have grown to love and respect one another in a deeper way

  28. 8.  Headship. Lewis says there has to be a head for the times the couple can’t come to consensus, and that our nature shows us it should be the man. I think even the strongest of women want their husband to be strong enough, loving enough, and wise enough to be the head. Unfortunately, because of the fall, she will challenge him for it, wanting him to prove he has what it takes. It seems that men generally will either refuse to engage in that, or the couple butt heads uncomfortably.  This is an area where women get to find out how close and personal God can be to them if they take Him at His word and work at submission.

     

    9.  Lewis says love for self doesn’t always mean feeling positive about oneself. It leaves room for loathing or hating a choice or an action. In the same way we show ourselves love even when we are upset with ourselves, we are told to love others, we should be sorry that they acted that way, and hoping that there can be a cure for them as there has been for us. This carries on into punishment, even to the point of death. He points out that the words kill and murder are very different, and used differently in scripture. The important thing is to not love the punishment, but to be sad that it was necessary. I’d say much like with our kids. We punish, or correct, them because we want better things from them and for them

  29. 10.  When Lewis says that being fond of or thinking someone nice is not love, just as it wouldn’t be love for self, that helped me. I so often think poorly of myself, but I don’t quit taking care of myself because of it. So I shouldn’t shy away from caring for others, regardless of my affections for them at the moment.

     

    11.  Hate the sin but not the sinner. Saying that to someone you are in a confrontation with is a good way to start a war! Yet hating the wrong we do but loving ourselves happens all the time. I hope I can remember this the next time I get into one of those situations, and be able to ask them to consider whether they love everything they think or do. And then ask them if that stops them from loving and caring for themselves. Maybe by framing it like that it would be better received.

     

    13.  Lewis was not a pacifist. I come down on the ‘wrong’ side on this, but I agree with him. There are times and reasons to stand on principle to the death. What would the world be today had Hitler won? I don’t think war should be the first response to confrontation, but rather a last response. Unless someone can show me a way to deal with conflict that doesn’t involve continual appeasement.

     

    15.  Take away…. I want to remember the points about promises with co habitation, headship, and loving the person and yet not liking some aspects of their behavior. So much really good stuff!!

  30. 6. Lewis talks about what happens to people who persevere when the thrill is gone in marriage. What did he say? Do you agree or disagree? What has been your experience?
     
    They fulfill social aspects like taking care of the children or the woman (who presumably has given her career up for the marriage).
    The second kind of love “…is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be ‘in love’ with someone else. ‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.“
    I would agree with Lewis here. I am in the comfortable stage of my marriage. I think about us being together and enjoying one another’s company. I don’t think about having sex. Unfortunately, I think men are different; my husband thinks we should be sexually as active as we were as a younger married couple. I don’t think that is just my husband either. Men are naturally more visual than women. I don’t know that they recognize both types of love. My husband thinks it is how you show your love, but I feel like I can show my love in other ways….so now this makes me question my first thought to agree with Lewis!

    I am thinking that woman know the second love and men know the first best. I think we can learn to know the other love, but I don’t think that women, generally speaking care as much about the sexual aspect as men do in the beginning or as the marriage progresses.

     

    Come on ladies….is it just me who feels like this (then I will reevaluate myself with counseling) or am I on  to something here? Be honest please.

     

    1. Laura, I completely agree! Even when you try to tell men that women see it and think differently about sex, they don’t believe you. And they sure do believe that no sex equals no love. I have come to realize that while it doesn’t matter to me, it is essential to him, and therefore I care for him, and it gives me great pleasure to meet his needs.

    2. I basically agree with you, Laura. But men can learn that there are different kinds of love – the quieter kind as Lewis says. But men, in general, are more visual and associate love with sex.

    3. No, Laura, you are not alone in how you feel. (Smile). From a medical point of view and you probably know this, the sexual drive of men continues to a much longer time/season of our lives than women. The latter also has to deal with menopause  and its accompanying results that may contribute to a lower sexual drive. From a personal point of view, And I am like you in that being together and enjoying each other’s company is often enough. But our husbands think differently (wink…wink). I also think that God’s pronouncement “and your husband will rule over you” has a bearing to this. As men grow older, they will struggle with their headship and depending on how the wife deals with that, he will always try to “rule” over his wife and the wife will try to resist it. And sex maybe one area that he can exert his “rule” and show he still has “what it takes”. Of course, he has to deal with his own need for significance and that is between him and God. All in all, I believe in balancing this seeming tug of war by being sensitive to my husband’s needs and also telling him how I feel. I do pray to God to give me the joy in giving of myself to my husband.

  31. 7. I guess I read the two marriages as being one with the state and one with the church; as separate entities. The church marriage follows the church doctrine and the state follows the state (not federal). The state of Texas includes the Bible in its “ceremony,” at least it did 28 years ago. Other states may not.

    Yes, we affect one another, and both “sides” should respect the other. I don’t want gay  marriage forced upon me. If people want to do that, it’s their deal. That’s really the problem I have with it. Although I don’t think it’s an acceptable way to live your life, it’s your life. I don’t want to be forced to accept it; I should be able to have my views as well. It just floors me how the “progressive” people, who believe they are so tolerant, don’t tolerate Christians’ views!

     

  32. 8. At the close, Lewis also addresses the topic of headship.What does he say? Do you agree or disagree that it seems unnatural for a woman to take the role of headship? Thoughts?

     

    Lewis says that when disagreements occur there must be a deciding “vote.”

    He also says that it is unnatural and women are “half-ashamed” to think that they are the head; they despise their own husbands (whom they rule).”

    In Lewis’ view, the woman is always fighting for the children (naturally) and a man is fighting against the world (naturally). He doesn’t seem to be able to “stick up for the family” as well as she would like him to.

     

    I have to say I agree with point 3 strongly, but a variation of points 1 and 2.

     

    Point 1 – I think a man and a woman can discuss the disagreement and come to some sort of consensus where both parties are happy to some extent. They may not get exactly what they want, but they are ok with the end result. Sometimes they might have to give in a bit (both) to get to this point. I have learned over time to concede to my husband because it really is the best way to go. I have found that my concession gives my husband the lead and that leads me to point 2:

    I think God intended for the husband to definitely be the head, because when he takes the lead things usually work out best for our family.  Because of the feminist movement, women work outside the home, and some are more aggressive than their husbands. I have taken the lead way long ago and have had to learn the hard way what comes of it. It is not a pretty site, watching the family fall apart because (perhaps) dad should have been the head instead of mom. We have beaten our men down with this practice as well. They soon give up being the leader when a “bossy” wife steps up to the plate. Oddly enough, I have heard the bossy neighbor wife screaming at the kids over the years and I do feel as Lewis suggests, embarrassed, that she is the one running the show.

    1. Laura, I agree with you on this: “We have beaten our men down with this practice as well. They soon give up being the leader when a “bossy” wife steps up to the plate.” I have seen it too many times played out in homes. My Mom really struggled with holding herself from being the “head”. She did it more in a passive aggressive way. But thankfully, in the end she realized here “place”. It wasn’t perfect but I know she tried. She has been a widow for 30 years now and she has always been faithful to my Dad till the end. I have a friend whose husband never took on the leadership role in their home and she is bitter about it. She told me she tells her girls not to depend on a man for anything. Yikes!

  33. 10. How does Lewis dispute the idea that loving your neighbor means feel fond of him or thinking  of him as nice? If we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, then we are to be more than just fond of them.  We forgive and love our selves at times when we are awful (although sometimes I do punish and beat up myself, and even throw a few lies in there).  Loving our neighbor (or ourselves) is not thinking them nice.  Forgiving an enemy, a “bad person” as Lewis says, has nothing to do with how nice or not nice they are – which leads into the next question – 11. Hate the sin but not the sinner?  We love ourselves in this way – do we?  We hate the bad things we do because we know we can do better, because we regard ourselves more highly, we have a moral compass, cling to that lovable person we aim to be thus we keep forgiving ourselves, keep striving, keep loving; we are called to do the same for others.  This is hard without a doubt.  We are wronged, sometimes repeatedly by the same person – hate the sin not the sinner, yet the sinner is choosing to treat me that way.  Some may say how do you separate them, the sin from the sinner?  God calls us to do this because He extends His grace to US in this very way.  He loves us but does not love our sin.  Thank God it is this way for the sake of our everlasting life.  We are saved by nothing short of this miracle.

  34. 7. About 2 kinds of marriages:
    I can see practicality of what Lewis is suggesting here but I really don’t see how it would work. Sounds like it is still very self-centered. And I agree with you, Dee about no man is an island. Our decisions do affect others.
     
    8. At the close, Lewis also addresses the topic of headship. What does he say? Do you agree or disagree that it seems unnatural for a woman to take the role of headship? Thoughts?
    I think the tendency of women to take on the role of the head of the family is a consequence of the fall.
    To the woman He said,
             “I will greatly multiply
             Your pain in childbirth,
             In pain you will bring forth children;
             Yet your desire will be for your husband,
             And he will rule over you.” Genesis 3:16
    Dee and the rest, I have always interpreted this as the wife’s desire would be to rule over her husband. As I was looking online for the verse in Genesis, I came across this blog and read the author’s thoughts. Well, I will be! It made sense to me. Of course, I do not want to muddle our discussions here, but I think her thoughts have some weight on it? https://theologyforwomen.org/2010/04/her-desire-will-be-for-her-husband.html
    Yes, I still believe that this struggle came as a result of the fall but never equated it with idolatry as the author of the above elaborated on. It makes sense to me especially having read Dee’s book, Idol Lies.

    1. Bing, I read the article, and while I wouldn’t say I’ve changed my thoughts totally on women wanting to rule, she makes excellent points about the tendency for women to make an idol out of a man. Much to think about here.

      1. I know, Mary B. From a personal perspective, I have times where I want to run/(rule over my husband) my own family’s affairs. My husband is a very patient man and often his waiting and patience spells uncaring for me. I have realized he is not. I have learned to pray for him and wait on God. And many times, I am thankful I did so. And again the idols of control and comfort are smashed.

  35. Regarding marriage and divorce I think that in our country, even though it’s not supposed to happen, we have combined church and state to a point of no return or rather allowed the government to have too much say in church affairs to the point that the church really has no authority over anyone. The government has allowed the church to perform the ceremony and sign the papers, but it has no say over when a marriage is over.

    I would like to see a difference between church marriage and civil marriage. If a church sanctions a marriage then it should be the only one that can dissolve the marriage.  And in the same way if a government sanctions a marriage then it can be the only one to dissolve it. I think people would take more seriously whether or not they get married in a church and take vows before God.

    A civil marriage would just basically be a contract between 2 people (or more if that’s what the law allows) and would only be for clarifying legalities.

    A church marriage would be what it was intended to be by God a holy covenant and it would be in the couple’s best interest to know the guidelines and process for divorce (have it in writing) requirements from the particular church that they are marrying through. If you both don’t agree with it then don’t marry in that church. If you are marrying someone who doesn’t think that you can leave in cases of abuse, adultery or addiction then that might be a clue to not marry that person.

    The main reason I am against legalizing gay marriage or polygamy is because the way our country is now, the end result will be that churches will be forced to perform these marriages against their will as we see more and more that churches are being forced to “recognize and support” whatever the government says is legal. Morally I know that it is against God’s standards that’s why it shouldn’t be allowed in a Christian church, but I don’t believe that we are benefiting anyone by pretending that non-Christian people gay or straight are going to respect Christian values, but they have to follow the laws.

    I vote based on my principles (I can only vote my conscience and that is a Christian conscience). That’s why I am all for Christians in politics because we still have majority rule, but they can only rule if they have a voice.

    Just as some people were shocked and in disbelief over the results of our last presidential election, I think they would be shocked if gay marriage came to a public vote because many people are too intimidated to speak openly, but their vote speaks for them.

    1. Dawn, I appreciate your thoughts on church and civil marriages particularly this: “The government has allowed the church to perform the ceremony and sign the papers, but it has no say over when a marriage is over.” How true!

      And now, I heard almost anybody can officiate a marriage as long as they have a license!

  36. 9. Read or listen to Lewis chapter on forgiveness and share something that stood out to you and why.

     

    I guess the the idea of loving myself…I have a tendency to beat up on myself; to not like much about myself. I am not sure I have have conscientiously thought about loving myself! I do things like exercise, shower and read, all things to take care of myself. Is this loving oneself? What is love? Admiration for oneself? Doing things for oneself like making a good meal? Enjoying friends? An age old question for sure!

     

    The other is the idea of killing someone when at war. Why war in the first place? Well, over a piece of land I would say not. But, WWII was about human life being exterminated by people with warped ideas. I think we have to defend those who are in trouble and weak. It is part of what Christians do. When there are hurricanes or other natural disasters the US is usually the first country to step up and give money (lots of it!)  as well as time in assisting physically. I have friends who are still going to Haiti years after their latest hurricane. If the weak are those as in WWII who were being led to their death then strong measures must ensue. Those people were not the kind to be diplomatic and talk about their crazy ideas! The crazy terrorists don’t want to talk either. They would chop your head off in mid-sentence. These are the types of people who need to be stopped immediately with harsh consequences. They don’t understand anything else.

    I respect the Catholics who don’t approve of abortion or the death penalty. I don’t approve of abortion (the child hasn’t been given a chance to do any wrong and is innocent – the parent should have been more responsible and not gotten pregnant if she didn’t want a baby) however, I do believe in the death penalty as horrid as it is we all have choices in life as adults. However, in crimes where death hasn’t occurred, I believe a greater punishment would be a long and painful commitment to the victim.

     

    For example, a man (21) sucker punched our son (17) and our son went through a painful recovery where he had to have his teeth shoved back into his gum. He had his jaw wired for weeks and wouldn’t go to the dentist again for several years because he was so anxious. During that time the prosecutor asked what we would like in the way of punishment. They were going to give the man 3 years in jail and anger management. I told them someone needed to pay for my sons teeth when he finlly decided to get them fixed. I didn’t think jail time or anger management would change his behavior. They agreed. I got a dentist to give me a projected amount and we submitted it to the court ($8000). They garnished the guys wages for a few years and we would get weird small check amounts every so often. I wanted the guy to feel pain (in his pocket) every time he got a pay check and think to himself how stupid it was that he hit my son. A few years ago my son decided to get the work done on his teeth and it was about $6500. My insurance covered most of it. A couple of years ago right before Christmas    we got a huge check for $2500. I think the guy must have just decided he couldn’t take it anymore and paid it all off! I really hope he learned his lesson!

  37. 12. Why does Lewis believe you can not hate someone but still punish him?
     No, for loving myself does not mean that I ought not to subject myself to punishment – even to death. If you had committed a murder, the right Christian thing to do would be to give yourself up to the police and be hanged. It is, therefore, in my opinion, perfectly right for a Christian judge to sentence a man to death or a Christian soldier to kill an enemy.
     
    13. Lewis was not a pacifist. Why? Do you agree or not? (I do disagree with him here and will share.)
    He believes it is our Christian service to serve in the war and kill the enemy.
    “all killing is not murder”; “we must not hate and enjoy hating”. We must hit it(resentment,etc) on the head whenever it bobs up.
     “Even while we kill and punish we must try to feel about the enemy as we feel about ourselves – to wish that he were not bead, to hope that he may, in this world or another, be cured in fact, to wish his good. That is what is meant in the Bible by loving him: wishing his good, not feeling fond of him nor saying he is nice when he is not.
     I have mixed feelings about it as I hate to think of war and the deaths that result from it. But we live in a fallen world and wars do happen for the greater good.
    I have not watched it but I vaguely remember a movie that came out a few years ago about a soldier who refused to carry a gun during a war and got out of it unharmed. That is very unusual. I know God protected him. But can we expect that of every soldier?
    I maybe too simple-minded in my response here.

  38. 10. How does Lewis dispute the idea that loving your neighbor means feel fond of him or thinking  of him as nice? Does this help you? Why or why not?

     

    He claims that we are to love our enemies, and says that what that means is to wish them well, not agree with their bad behavior as if we can just ignore their actions. We are to hope they will be cured of their evil ways.

     

    I guess I agree? I don’t think I really have enemies per se, but I could consider the terrorists my enemies. I have prayed for them to have a change of heart.

     

    11. How did Lewis come to believe this was true: “hate the sin but not the m11. How did Lewis come to believe this was true: “hate the sin but not the man?”an?”

    Lewis reflects that to love your neighbor as yourself means you have to love yourself first! We, as humans do terrible things but still love ourselves. It’s like when Peter says he is disgusted with himself for doing the thing he knows he shouldn’t do. If he could do things that are lothesome and still love himself then he could not agree with others’ actions and still love them.

  39. 10. How does Lewis dispute the idea that loving your neighbor means feel fond of him or thinking of him as nice?  Does this help you?  Why or why not?

    He shares how he doesn’t always have a feeling of fondness or affection for himself, so apparently loving your neighbor doesn’t mean you feel fondness or attraction for him.  “Self love makes me think myself nice, but thinking myself nice is not why I love myself.”  “So loving my enemies (or neighbor) does not apparently mean thinking them nice either.”

    I have never looked at this so literally, so found it interesting.  It does help…a neighbor or enemy can be mean, arrogant, selfish or just not fun to be around, but that doesn’t mean I don’t/shouldn’t love them.  When I strive to keep the first and greatest commandment than with the help of the Lord I can obey the second.

    11. How did Lewis come to believe this was true:  “hate the sin but not the man.”

    “It occurred to me that there was one man to whom I had been doing this all my life – namely myself.”

    12.  Why does Lewis believe you can not hate someone but still punish him?

    Loving myself does not mean that I ought not to subject myself to punishment – even to death.”   If I commit murder, it’s the Christian thing to turn myself in and be punished.

    13.  Lewis was not a pacifist. Why?

    He believes that “all killing is not murder any more than all sexual intercourse is adultery.  He goes on to say that ”we may kill if necessary, but we must not hate and enjoy hating.  We may punish if  necessary, but we must not enjoy it. The feeling of resentment, the feeling that wants to get one’s own back, must be simply killed.”

    Do you agree or not?

    I agree and here’s why…my son is a policeman.  He hasn’t had to use his weapon yet, but I’m glad that he has one and can defend himself.  I know he wouldn’t enjoy it and it wouldn’t be out of revenge, but for self preservation and protection.  Because we live in a fallen world, sadly, it’s necessary.

    14.  Is there anything in this chapter that will help you to better forgive?  If so, what?

    We need to feel about others as we feel about ourselves…”wishing he were not bad, to hope that he may, in this world or another be cured.”  This really stood out to me for those people in our lives that hurt us time and time again.  Forgive, forgive and forgive again with this in mind.  This is what we expect from God, shouldn’t we do the same?  Only by the grace of God❤️!

     

    1. Dee, my son doesn’t agree with capital punishment either (which surprised me being a policeman) for the same reason and in having discussions with him, I tend to agree.  I think punishment is necessary but even to death?  The attitude/feeling of someone wanting capital punishment may be wanting revenge for what the individual did and Lewis says those feelings must be “killed”.  I have heard stories of people forgiving the person who murdered their loved one, is that loving your enemy?…thankfully I haven’t been in their shoes and hope to never be.  Just some of my thoughts.

       

       

  40. 4. He believes that if two people don’t take the above view of divorce, but divorce whenever one of their needs are not being met, it is better to live together than to marry. Why, does he say? Do you agree or not, and why?

     

    Lewis says that if two people do not believe in the permanence of marriage, or feel that the promise made in a church is a mere formality, it’s better for them to live together unmarried rather than make vows they do not mean to keep. They will be guilty in the Christian sense of fornication, but not of lying. Well, I don’t believe people should live together, and especially not if they are Christians, but for unbelievers, why would we expect them to hold to our views on keeping a vow? Yet, I shudder to think of how I was married in a church with all the formalities and I thought I was a Christian, but I know now that I was not. I made promises to a God that I really didn’t know! I was “in-love” with my husband though, so I wasn’t thinking in the back of my mind that I didn’t intend to keep my vows. Probably a lot of people who aren’t really believers get married in a church and as much as they are capable of, they do mean their vows at the time.

     

    5. Do you agree? Have you experienced this? How is this evidence of God putting His law in our hearts?

     

    Yes, I agree that we have an innate desire for promises. In friendship, we desire (usually unspoken) a promise of loyalty, faithfulness, dependability. When first “in-love”, I desired that my then serious boyfriend wouldn’t see other girls and be true to me, and me to him. Getting engaged sealed that promise that we were intended for each other only. It is evidence of God’s law in our hearts because we feel wronged or cheated when we find out that we have been betrayed.

     

    6. Lewis talks about what happens to people who persevere when the thrill is gone in marriage. What did he say? Do you agree or disagree? What has been your experience?

     

    Lewis poses the question: What is the use of keeping two people together if they are no longer in love? He gives a few sound reasons: to provide a home for the children, to protect the woman, and then explains how ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing ‘to love’. The state of perpetual excitement and being ‘in love’ is a feeling, and feelings come and go; it usually doesn’t last. It’s often called the ‘honeymoon phase’. He explains that love in this second sense – distinct from being ‘in love’, is not merely a feeling, but rather a deep unity maintained by the will and strengthened by habit and reinforced by God’s grace. This love can be present even when they do not like each other.

    Lewis writes, “This quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.” He goes on to explain that people who are ready to submit to the loss of the thrill and settle down will very likely meet new thrills.

     

    I do so agree with Lewis. Most novels and movies show the opposite: a couple, married or not, gets tired and bored of each other; disillusionment sets in, and either they somehow overcome it or they separate. Not too many agree to “submit to the loss of the thrill”. This has been true in my own marriage. It’s not exciting and thrilling, it’s about doing life together. We’ve had our stable times, and rough times, and times when I’ve very much felt dislike for my husband, and he probably didn’t like me very much either. I once heard a speaker say that you can divorce and move on to the next love of your life, but one day you’ll wake up in bed together and one will say, “Who’s taking out the trash today?”

  41. 7. What do you think of this and why?

     

    This is an interesting idea that Lewis brings up, that there should be two distinctions in marriage and who governs it. I see his point about Mohammedans; I think today it’s called “Sharia Law” (not sure of that spelling) and that many Muslims would like to have us all governed by Sharia Law, whether we believe in it or not. I don’t really see how Lewis’ idea here could be put into practice. For example, it would be a possibility that in a Christian marriage governed by the church, that a spouse could do something illegal to the other; then it would have to be handled by the State. I do agree with him that people who are not Christians cannot be expected to live as if they were. I have mixed feelings on trying to make things like homosexual marriage illegal in that it is a matter of the heart and the person’s spiritual condition, and how can you control it by a law? Look at the battle that still rages between pro-lifers and pro-choicers; they each believe they are right. A person who is pro-choice will only change his mind if God changes it; a law will not change it. Can we use the legal system to control morality?

     

    8. At the close, Lewis also addresses the topic of headship. What does he say? Do you agree or disagree that it seems unnatural for a woman to take the role of headship?

     

    Lewis gives two reasons why there must be a ‘head’ in marriage: if marriage is permanent, then a couple cannot separate when they can’t come to an agreement. One must have the deciding vote. Secondly, in marriages where the woman is the head, often what happens is this: the woman wants to be the head of the house but at the same time, she will feel disrespect for her husband. When you observe a woman ordering her husband around, you sort of cringe inside and feel sorry for him. It seems very unnatural. I have to agree with him on this.

  42. 12. Why does Lewis believe you can not hate someone but still punish him?
     

    I’m confused by this question but I will try to answer anyway.

    I think what he’s saying is that Christians need to do the right thing if they sin. A person who murders should confess and take his punishment. It has nothing to do with liking or hating someone. People who you might hate are still God’s creation; he says “selves,” loved by God regardless of what heinous things they do. He loves us for us.
     

    13. Lewis was not a pacifist. Why? Do you agree or not? (I do disagree with him here and will share.)
    I shared how how I feel about this in another question. Short version is that if people, humans, are being hurt, I think someone should stand up for them and help them; defend them. I agree with him in that respect.