The Core Sunday Gathering
May 29, 2011
Love Life: It’s Complicated
Abraham & Sarah
-Last week I talked a lot about how God created relationships to look.
-How to have intimacy… two features of Good Sex… to name a few
-But how many of our relationships are actually healthy? 10% of the world maybe? Less?
-Family is tough. Even friendships are tough. Romance is the hardest of all.
-Because you’re only allowed one at a time. And somebody has to be your “soul mate”
-Do you realize what a tall order that is? These are the expectations we put on each other.
-Question: Why does it fail so often? Why do people break up? What are some of the reasons you know?
-And when we break up it’s not like Jerry Seinfeld… You want to break up with me? Eh.
-It kills us every time, right? Keeps us up at night.
-We’re scared to death of severe relationship problems
-And some of us carry the scars around with us for decades.
-[Slide] Even when it know it’s selfish, it doesn’t hurt any less.
-[Slide] Which is worse, when the right one gets away, or when the wrong one marries you?
-[Slide] Or maybe you wonder if YOU ARE the wrong one.
-[Slide] Or you might be watching people get hurt from the outside, powerless to stop it.
-And sometimes this is what it feels like reading about relationships in the Bible.
-You’re like “Don’t go in that door!” Don’t marry that guy, or that girl!
-And you have to watch it all unfold and you can’t say I told you so. Everybody gets hurt.
-There’s a woman in 1 Samuel 25 named Abigail whose story actually has a happy ending
-But the beginning and middle are hell on earth.
-Tell the story of Nabal & Abigail
-You might be able to imagine Abigail’s suffering, being a wise, beautiful woman married to a rich idiot.
-Obviously Abigail had done her best to respect Nabal anyway, up to this point.
-Otherwise Nabal probably would have blown up, ditched her or worse.
-She holds her tongue and suffers quietly until she realizes Nabal is getting them all killed.
-She had the opportunity to save the entire household because she picked her battles.
-Question: Is it possible to respect someone you don’t respect?
-Jesus calls us to love our enemies. In other words, love someone you don’t love.
-In marriage, we’re called to respect someone we often don’t respect.
-This is what happens between Abraham & Sarah as well
-Because Sarah gets put through a lot of crap, but doesn’t shine quite the way Abigail does in the end.
-Sarah gets a sour reputation from Genesis,
-since she loses faith in God’s promise, gives her servant to her husband, then ends up mistreating them both.
-Although she’s responsible for her actions, it helps to take a look at her backdrop of confusion and mistreatment.
-Sarah was culturally disgraced from the beginning, being unable to conceive
-She had to leave home and travel hundreds of miles without knowing where
-“Are you lost”? – “No. I know where we are. I just don’t know where we’re going.”
-You can’t ask a guy to stop and ask for directions when he can’t name the destination.
-Abraham wouldn’t stand up for her, said she was his sister to stay out of trouble
-You might not want a guy to clock another guy over you, but you’d at least want him to speak up for you.
-JEALOUSY: GOOD VS. BAD
-[SLIDES] Good Jealousy: selfless zeal to protect relationship and commitment
-Song of Solomon 8:7 Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.
-Deuteronomy 4:24 For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
-It seems to get equated with fire a lot… a purifying fire that burns the dross and leaves the silver.
-We can express that kind of jealousy in our commitments
-Bad Jealousy: selfish possessiveness and paranoia
-What did Rachel do after that? The same thing her great aunt Sarah did. (which we’ll get to…)
-She gave her servant to her husband.
-Bad Jealousy makes bad decisions. It’s irrational, and makes us unreasonable.
-So ten years after arriving in Canaan, Sarah is tired of still not having a child
-She thinks she can “adopt” by having her servant sleep with Abraham.
-She chooses to rebel against God because she blames him for her childlessness
-Abraham complies with her rebellion. Once again, he lacks a spine.
-God’s desire was to create patience for a miracle. But they chose disaster instead.
-Are we prepared for God to do a long miracle in us and our relationships?
-Sarah blames Abraham, when it was her idea.
-This is starting to read like a textbook on dysfunctional relationships, with a long list of issues
-Isolation and Confusion (uprooted from Ur)
-Insecurity (no jealousy from husband.)
-Doubt (Unwilling to wait for God’s promise.)
-Manipulation (pitting human wisdom against God’s plan)
-Blame (absolving herself and blaming Abram – tries to get God to take her side)
-Projection (misdirecting her anger toward Hagar and Abram)
-Cyncism (laughs at the promise)
-But this is not her ending point. This is where she starts. It’s her raw materials.
-And very little of it is her fault, but it all stems from her perception of being worthless.
-You think, if only Abraham could have convinced her how priceless she was, things might have been different.
-But he couldn’t fight the culture. He genuinely loved Sarah. He wasn’t always good at it, but it’s true.
-Even if he was the strongest lover in the world, he couldn’t have fought the culture and won
-And look at the situation we’re in now, in the present day.
-Question: What does it take for a woman to be considered “valuable” today?
-What about for a man?
-How can we fight that? We’re pairing up and breaking up and pairing up again
-looking for someone to tell us we’re beautiful, to tell us we’re valuable,
-to show us what it means to be really treasured and loved.
-We turn ourselves in to the culture when we believe we’re worthless
-You don’t see the president turning himself in to save his secret service agents
-Because he knows his life is priceless.
-But we’re carrying around all this baggage and sporting all this scar tissue, and we don’t feel priceless
-so it’s an impossible cycle.
-If only we could know how priceless and precious each of us really is…
Psalm 37:4 If I take delight in the LORD, he will give me the desires of my heart.
1 John 4:19 I love because God first loved me.
Romans 5:8 God demonstrated his love for me, in that while I was still a sinner, Jesus died for me.
-Story of the 8-Cow Wife
-Jesus purchased us… he redeemed us… for much more than 8 cows.
-He sacrificed his eternal unity with the Father for me. And for each of us.
-We so often try to make it complicated, but he’s made it simple. Difficult. Challenging. But simple.
-I can love you because God first loved me.