Use Conflict To Build Respect

Use Conflict To Build Respect

“A good reputation and respect are worth much more than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1 CEV).

  

We all have a desire to be respected by others.  There are two schools of thought on respect.  Some say that in any relationship, including parent-child or employer-employee, you have to give respect to get respect.  These people feel that are entitled to withhold respect from their parents or boss until the other person first shows them a sufficient amount of respect.  This group will point to Romans 13:7. “Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”  This verse is not teaching us to withhold respect to others but rather is commanding us to give respect to those that are in governmental authority.  The reason is found in Romans 13:1.  “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

Others say that respect is absolutely required in certain situations.  For example, as a father you love your child.  They hopefully will love you also, but they certainly must respect you.  I have had some young people tell me that they cannot respect their father because he is not a respectable person.  My thought is that children do not have to love their father, although that would be ideal, but they must always respect both parents not because of their poor behavior but because they are your parents.  Period.   You probably have encountered some authority people in your life (e.g., political leaders, law enforcement, boss) that you do not like but you hopefully realized that you must respect their authority.

Malachi 1:6 reads, “A son honors his father, and a servant his master.”  There are numerous Bible verses that command a child to honor their father and mother and there is a promise of a long life for doing so (Exodus 20:12, Deuteronomy 5:16).  The command to honor the parents is never predicated on if the parents are good, fun, honorable, respectable, etc., but rather is because the parents are the parents.  I think we should show respect to our elders, parents, those in authority, and bosses regardless of if we feel they “deserve” our respect. 

We all seek respect and desire a good reputation.  Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good reputation and respect are worth much more than silver and gold.”  Sadly, you will likely encounter people that are envious of your good reputation and will act out of jealousy to try to harm your reputation.  Those that know your true character will realize that this attack says little about your character but rather speaks volumes about the character of the other person.

In most secular relationships, respect must be earned.  Any type of conflict presents an opportunity for us to gain or lose respect.  People tend to “tune in” when they realize that you are in some sort of conflict.  They will watch you carefully to see how you handle the conflict, and then you will gain or lose respect in their eyes.

The book of Nehemiah is a great example of someone who earned the respect of others by the way he handled conflict. Nehemiah was governor of Persian Judea under Artaxerxes.  He responded to God’s call and left this position to lead the effort to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls in an astonishing 52-day period.  He had to address a difficult situation in which wealthy Jews were profiteering off the plight of their working countrymen.  Nehemiah addressed the profiteering issue in such a way to build respect.  Below are a few key actions that he took that are beneficial for us today.

Nehemiah paused to think before he spoke

He listened to the complaints and charges the Israelites had against those who exploited them during a famine. Before he responded, he “pondered them in [his] mind” (Nehemiah 5:7).  He thought before he spoke.  How many times today do we all do the opposite?  We all need to be

“quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (James 1:19-20).

Nehemiah privately resolved the conflict

When Nehemiah realized the injustice that was happening, he did not start a slander campaign or publicly attack the offenders or start a whisper campaign to “plant seeds of doubt”.  He first tried to build a bridge with the offenders who were taking advantage of the poor to increase their own net worth.  He “called together a large meeting to deal with them” (Nehemiah 5:7).  He addressed them face to face.  That builds respect.

This is also the way Jesus commanded His followers to handle conflict.  Jesus said in Matthew 18:15, “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you.”  Going public should be the last resort.   Many of the most successful coaches in sports today will publicly praise their athletes and privately correct them.  That shows character and builds respect.

Nehemiah appealed to their sense of honor

Nehemiah said to the rich Jews, “What you are doing is not right! Should you not walk in the fear of our God . . . ? . . . but now let us stop this business of charging interest. You must restore their fields, vineyards, olive groves, and homes” (Nehemiah 5:9-11).  They obeyed him because he had their respect and appealed to their sense of honor.   

A good leader brings out the best in people and is therefore respected.  A poor leader will lead by fear or prejudice but will never gain respect.  People can sense your true goals and “If your goals are good, you will be respected” (Proverbs 11:27).

Prayer:  Dear God, Thank you for the story of Nehemiah.  Help us to use his example to gain respect and use our influence to do good and honor You.  Amen.

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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The Path To Forgiveness

The Path To Forgiveness

In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26 NIV).

Perhaps one of the most difficult things we are called upon to do as Christians is to forgive others.  We all tend to be quick to ask forgiveness from God for our sins but slow to forgive others that have hurt us. 

In the Methodist church the congregation recites these words prior to Holy Communion.  “Merciful God, we confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart.  We have failed to be an obedient church.  We have not done your will, we have broken your law, we have rebelled against your love, we have not loved our neighbors.”  We have indeed failed to be an obedient church and not loved our neighbors when we fail to do as instructed in the Lord’s Prayer,forgive them that trespass against us” (Matthew 6:12).

I know I have hurt others just as others have hurt me.  Some of the offenses against me have been so severe that by myself I am unable to forgive, but through the power of the Holy Spirit I have been able to do what I cannot do alone.  I recall a sermon years ago in which the pastor said, “As you forgive those that have hurt you, the prisoner that is set free is yourself.”  Amen! 

Those that hurt us are often wounded people themselves.  We will inevitably encounter some people in life that knowingly choose to do evil things to other people.  In the book Forgiveness, the Passionate Journey Nine Steps of Forgiving through Jesus’ Beatitudes by Flora Slosson Wuellner, the author writes that some people are “caught in a prison of self-destruction that almost defies description.”  I had not realized that often when people deliberately hurt us they are acting out of a deep inner hurt in themselves.  Hurt people tend to hurt people.  Instead of giving emotional control to our attacker by feeling angry and seeking revenge, we are asked to consider feeling pity and wonder what has happened to this person that has caused them to act in such an evil manner?  This is not done to minimize the hurt, but to facilitate our healing.

There are many paths to forgiveness.  Sometimes it may be appropriate to tell the person directly that you forgive them.  However, it is important to realize that they may not realize that they have hurt you and may not care.  Another option is to ask the Holy Spirit to soften your heart and help you forgive the other person but do not tell the other person that you have forgiven them. 

Forgiveness should be done as a spiritual practice to honor and glorify God.  It is tempting to use forgiveness as an opportunity to rightly or wrongly play the victim, demonize the other person, and solicit public sympathy through social media or other outlets.  This is not true forgiveness and does little to honor God, yourself, or the other person.  Perhaps a better option for forgiveness is similar to what the Word teaches us for prayer.  “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matthew 6:6).

Any discussion of forgiveness usually involves forgetting.  The phrase “forgive and forget” is not found in the Bible. However, there are numerous verses commanding us to “forgive one another” (e.g., Matthew 6:14, Ephesians 4:32). A Christian who is not willing to forgive others will find his fellowship with God hindered (Matthew 6:15) and can reap bitterness and the loss of reward (Hebrews 12:14–15, 2 John 1:8).  Speaking of social media, Beth Townsend, founder of Life on Purpose, posted the following on Facebook recently.  “Forgiveness is a perpetual state of mind.  A choice.  If God can forgive and then forget, we can too.  That is true freedom!”  Now, that will preach!

Forgiveness is a journey and a process and often takes time. The process is more difficult as the offense is perceived to be more personal or severe. If you are showing signs of increased criticism, negativity, and impatience, you are still on the journey.  Unforgiveness also hurts our relations with others due to our sour disposition, depressed attitude, and tendency to easily be annoyed.  The hurt becomes water under the bridge when we achieve forgiveness.  We then release the other person from the debt and no longer desire payback for the offense. We acknowledge that the hurt is real, but we also understand that our struggle is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12).  Forgiveness may or may not lead to reconciliation, but it certainly leads to freedom and a closer walk with our Lord.

Prayer:  Thank you for the blessing of forgiving our sins and life everlasting in a life lived in and for you.  Forgive us when we fail to be an obedient church.  Help us to forgive those that hurt us.  By the power of your Holy Spirit, help us to be reconciled to you and our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  Amen.

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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Attention Men: Insecurity and Jealousy Lead to Problems

Attention Men: Insecurity and Jealousy Lead to Problems!

Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him but had left Saul.  So Saul made David go away from him, and had him lead a thousand men. And David went out to the people.   David did well in all that he did, because the Lord was with him.  When Saul saw how well he did, he was afraid of him.   But all Israel and Judah loved David, for he went out and came in before them (1 Samuel 18:12-16).

Insecurity and jealously has been around since the beginning of time and is well documented in the story of Cain killing Abel in Genesis 4 and also Joseph’s brothers selling him in Genesis 37.  Another example comes later in the Bible in 1 Samuel and involves Saul and David.

Saul was the first king of Israel (c. 1021–1000 BC) and was chosen king both by the judge Samuel and by public acclamation.  His primary purpose was to defend Israel against its many enemies, especially the Philistines.  David was a solider under Saul and initially become a favorite of Saul.  However, under the paranoia that David was seeking to usurp the throne, Saul attempted to kill David, forcing the latter to go into hiding for several years. 

Saul becomes jealous of David because David slayed “the Philistine,” that is Goliath and the women praise David with the words, “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands” (1 Samuel 18:7).  Saul’s decline is marked by the frequent visitation of an “evil spirit from God.”  In his depression, he twice throws his spear at David (1 Samuel 18:10-11), and even makes David a field officer in the hopes of killing him. Nevertheless, all Saul’s plans crash to the ground as David’s success mounts: “for the LORD was with him.”

Insecurity always leads to jealousy which ruins relationships and hinders leaderships.  An insecure person views the world through an insecure lens, which informs every decision they make.

Saul was a classic insecure leader.  He was infuriated that the women praised David received more attention than him after David killed Goliath.  Instead of being happy that David was successful in battle, Saul chose to spend of the rest of his years tracking down (in David’s words) “a flea.”  His jealousy clouded his judgement, hurt his relationships, and separated him from God.   I am sure that Saul thought he was doing the right thing.  Perhaps he was living out Proverbs 14:12. “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”  This story from Saul and David is not intended to be an interesting history story.  This is Holy Scripture and as such it is “God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (emphasis added).  So, what is God teaching us with this story?

I think the lesson here is that envy is indeed a deadly sin. Interestingly, David later wrote in Psalms 37:8, “refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.” (emphasis added). 

 

If you are insecure as a person, you how two options.  Conquer it, or it will conquer you.

Below are some ideas that I ask you to prayerfully consider if you are an insecure person.

Identify A Father

Saul did not have a spiritual father.  Samuel, a priest and Israel’s last judge and first prophet, served in that capacity for a while, but Saul’s actions eventually destroyed that relationship.  We all need a spiritual father to affirm us and correct us.  In the absence of a father, men tend to look to themselves for self-affirmation.  As a boy and young man, when I had a great accomplishment, I wanted to first tell my father to hear him say, “Good job!”  Of course, I wanted to tell my mother too!  I still seek that affirmation, and correction, from my mother and my elder Christian brothers.  If the spiritual father is absent in the life of a man, he will enter an endless loop of trying to prove himself to himself. The result is failure and insecurity. 

Support Others

A jealous and insure person is constantly monitoring the accomplishments of others.  If a “competitor” is mentioned in conversation, they will dismiss and downplay their achievement.  A true leader empowers, encourages, and supports others.  A great leader will go out of their way to publicly praise others but privately corrects them.

You may recall that Jesus told us that we would do even greater things than Him.  Would an insecure person have made such a statement?

 Where Do You Store Your Treasure?

An insecure person is always trying to outdo everybody else for money, status, and recognition.  The root cause is valuing the opinion of man more than the rewards of God.  This life is only temporary, but upon our death, we will live forever.   Our reward comes in heaven.  Your income and status will mean nothing in heaven.  If we only sought to enrich ourselves on earth, I think Jesus will say, “I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.” (Matthew 25:45).

Jesus values our heart more than our money.  The Word teaches us, “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20).”  The next verse gives the reason for this instruction.  “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).  The approval of man is fickle, but the approval of God has eternal implications. 

The bottom line is you CAN and MUST conquer insecurity or it WILL conquer you.  David was an imperfect man, like all of us, but Scripture tells us twice that he was a man “after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22). The right next step is to surround yourself with men like David, not Saul and seek affirmation from God, store up your treasure in heaven, and publicly praise others every chance you get.

Prayer:  Dear God, Forgive us for the times our insecurity leads to acts of jealousness.  Give us a new heart and a new spirit that seeks to honor and glorify You in all that we say and do.  Amen.

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (Isaiah 43:2 NIV).

 

One thing that is as certain as death and taxes is that in this fallen world is we will have problems.  Jesus said these words in John 16:33 many years ago, but they still ring true today.  “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  To me, this means that our earthly troubles are temporary but our Lord and Savior reigns forever and in Him and through Him we have life and victory over sin and death.  What sort of life does He offer you may wonder?  Well, as we return back to the book of John in chapter 10, verse 10, we learn the answer.  “I have come so that they may life, and have it abundantly (emphasis added)” 

Our troubles often appear overwhelming when we focus on the discomfort of the problem rather than the provision and protection of God.  Also, our troubles can consume us when we try to face them alone rather than with a group of fellow followers of Christ. 

Problems and trouble come in many forms, but they always bring some sort of “heat.”  It is important to understand that the flame that is causing the heat is never intended for our harm. Of course, a fire that destroys a house is terrible, but such a fire would not come from God.  My house was not destroyed by fire but was badly flooded in 2016.  I was devastated, but I watched God work through human hands and eventually my house was repaired, and my furniture was replaced.  Now, I have a powerful testimony to His faithfulness.

Everything that is good about a fire can be listed as a blessing of the Holy Spirit. Fire is a purifying force, and the Holy Spirit is the ultimate purifier.   Rev. Max Lucado wrote in a recent devotional – “We need the cleansing, sanctifying work of the Spirit of God.”  As I first read this devotional from Rev. Lucado my mind drifted to Malachi 3:3. “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.”  Silver is refined through heat to burn off the impurities.  Similarly, we are refined through our troubles as we grow closer to God and then emerge with a strong testimony of His faithfulness.  I think it is interesting that a silversmith knows that all of the impurities are gone when he can see his reflection in the molten silver.  As we are refined, our face begins to “look” more like Christ and we begin to seek the same things that He is seeking for us.

While we are in the valleys of life, life is certainly hard.  The stress can take a toll on our bodies.  However, this is the best time to invite this refining fire to finish its work in our hearts.  A wildlife in the forest brings immediate devastation, but eventually there is new growth and renewal.  The fires in our lives also bring about spiritual renewal in spite of our physical condition, which I think is the message of (2 Corinthians 4:16).  “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”  

The next time you feel the heat of life, stop and realize that God is at work in your life.  If you turn toward Him, you will not only emerge on the other side with a closer walk with our Lord, but also a testimony that is a powerful witness in a world that so badly needs powerful witnesses.  Don’t let the fire consume you but rather let it purify you.

Prayer:  Dear God, Thank you for refining us.  Forgive us for the times we turn from you and help us to embrace the fires of life and yoke to your Holy Spirit to find joy in all circumstances.  Amen. 

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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Am I Forced To Condone Or Condemn?

todd shupe

Am I Forced To Condone Or Condemn?

todd shupe

“Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’   ‘No one, Sir,’ she said.  ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’” (John 8:10-11 NIV).

 

Division in society has been around since the enemy came as a serpent into the Garden of Eden to cause division between humanity and God, and the consequences linger to this day.  The church universal is stronger when it is united and when that unity is focused vertically to wordship God and horizontally for evangelism and discipleship of the Body of Christ (others).  The enemy certainly is aware of the tremendous power and potential of the bride of Christ and seeks to hurt our unity and hinder our evangelism and discipleship.  The Word in John 10:10 warns, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy….”  That warning is as valid today as it was years ago.

We all see division in society today in all forms.  Many people live and attend churches that are divided along racial, ethnic, and socio-economic lines.   I see great value in healthy discussion and polite disagreement in the areas of politics, religion, and social issues.  The Church has an invaluable role to play in championing social justice, while being mindful of its primary mission of the Great Commission.  Inevitably and sadly, when it comes to social issues inside the Church, we typically assume a contemporary, secular approach rather than a Christ-like approach. 

A current social issue in the church, particularly my denomination of United Methodist, is how to properly address the issue of homosexuality.  Of course, there are two schools of thought on the issue and both sides have been very clear on their position, which is fine.  What is not fine, is that both sides tend to focus inward to condone each other on their “team” and then focus outward to condemn those that are not like-minded. 

It has recently gotten to the point that a clergy member posted a video on a private Facebook page for clergy of a highly non-traditional church service featuring a drag queen talking to children and simply asked his peers, “Are you OK sanctioning a highly non-traditional worship service as a representative of the UMC?  Looking for a simple yes or no.  Edit to clarify: This is a poling question. Nothing more and nothing less.”  The clergy member that asked the question was immediately condemned by others that supported the service because he simply asked a question.   We can no longer have civil discourse and polite disagreement on social issues without somebody being offended and condemning somebody.  That is sad.  We as a society and as the Church universal have failed to live out Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world…”

I feel this begs the question – What would Jesus do?  We do not need to wonder because our Lord and Savior has already shown us another option when He encountered the adulterous woman at the well (John 8:1-11).  He did not condone her sin, nor did He condemn her.  He offered her grace and left her with these wise words that still resonate true to this day — Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” 

This woman had led a sinful life, but Jesus was not concerned with her past, but was focused on her future.  He called her to a higher standard of living.  A standard that involves repenting from our sin and living a Christ-centered life rather than a self-centered life .  Jesus knew that sin was sin and it separates us from God and leads to death.  As modern Christians, we too are called to the same standard as the woman.  Jesus is telling us today, “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Sadly, many do not want to repent from their sin but rather want others to join their effort to condone their sinful behavior and move the activity from the sin category, as defined by Scripture, to the ok category, as defined by society.

I think we spend too much time trying to lobby others to “reclassify” what God has clearly already classified as sin because we are “wiser” than Him, or we live in a new age and have new insight and perspective.  Yes, God gave us experience, tradition, reason, and personal feelings to aid us to interpret Scripture.  However, the caveat is that when any of those conflict with the Bible, they must be dismissed in favor of Scriptural authority.  I feel that 2 Timothy 4:3 was written for times such as these.  “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”

On the other hand, if somebody has a different interpretation of Scripture than mine, I acknowledge that perhaps they are right.  However, I certainly don’t think it serves the Kingdom for me to condemn them because we differ.   We are all Christians and we hurt the Kingdom when we condemn each other.  Jesus did not condemn the adulterous woman so why should we condemn fellow Christians because we disagree on a particular social issue?  Romans 8:1 reads, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

All Christians are in Christ Jesus, but all Christians will never agree on various social issues.  I would love to see the time, money, passion, and energy that is spent on disagreement over social issues to be spent on evangelism and discipleship. 

Prayer:  Dear God, Forgive us for spending time and money on issues that do not bear good fruit and do not honor You.  By your Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world, until Christ comes in final victory and we feast at His heavenly banquet.  Amen.

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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Who Is Your Authority?

Who Is Your Authority?

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.   He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.   In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-5, 14 NIV).

 

There is a long history of division and unrest in the Church.  Many of the Epistles of the Apostle Paul addressed division and sinful lifestyles.  So, current division certainly falls into the category of there is nothing new under the sun.

The Church is the bride of Christ and at its best has the potential to do even greater things than Jesus did (John 14:12).  The enemy knows of the power and potential of the Church and seeks to introduce issues into the Church to divide, deceive, and destroy.  So, the Church at its worst will focus its efforts and resources inwardly on issues that will not bear good fruit nor facilitate evangelism and discipleship.  The teaching of the Apostle Paul on this topic is still relevant today.  “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels” (2 Timothy 2:23).

I understand the value of social issues and appreciate the fact we all have different opinions.  Diversity of thought is healthy and necessary.   I recently had a nice visit with a good friend regarding a contemporary social issue.  He told me that he had a problem with me and my position.  My response, was, “Brother, you and I don’t have any problems.  However, it appears to me that your issue is with God because you don’t like parts of Scripture that are contrary to your personal beliefs.” 

Different people can read the same Scripture and have different interpretations.  I have read the same Scripture over the years and sometimes come away with a new revelation about God, myself, or others.  These new revelations happen because “the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it pierces even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).  As I gain new insight from Scripture, I realize that the Word has not changed, but by inviting the Holy Spirit to be present and teach me as I read, my understanding may change.  1 Peter 1:25 reads, “… but the Word of the Lord endures forever.

I have talked to some people that have told me they understand what the Bible is teaching but based on their personal opinion they reject the Scripture.   Sadly, they are our rejecting our Lord when they reject Scripture.  Matthew 10:32-33 reads, “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.  But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33).  The Apostle Paul also warns against the perils of denying Christ.   “If we disown Him, He will also disown us” (2 Timothy 2:12).

When we reject God, we do so in favor of personal autonomy.  Dennis F. Kinlaw was a Wesleyan-Holiness Old Testament Scholar and former President of Asbury College.  He wrote, “Satan disguises submission to himself under the ruse of personal autonomy.  He never asks us to become his servants.  Never once did the serpent say to Eve, I want to be your master.  The shift in commitment is never from Chris to evil; it is always from Christ to self.  And instead of His will, self-interest now rules and what I want reigns.  And that is the essence of sin.”

Our goal as Christians is not to try to attempt to convince others to reclassify what God has already classified as sinful behavior.  Rather our goal is to embrace our inherent need for the Word as stated in 1 Peter 2:2. “Like newborn infants, desire the pure milk of the word, so that you may grow up into your salvation.”  I struggle with my sins, but I think it is in my best interest to grow in my salvation to partner with the Holy Spirit and the Body of Christ to repent and turn from my own wicked ways.

It is certainly possible to read the Bible and not get anything out of it. You need certain keys to unlock Scripture. One of those keys is accepting its authority and understanding its Author.  “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  The Bible says it’s God’s Word: “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the Word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the Word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).  There is no need to challenge the Word because, “Every word of God is flawless (Proverbs 30:5). 

One of the reasons why there is so much confusion in the world today is because people are listening to so many different authorities, and everybody’s asking, “Who’s right?”

Whether you realize it or not, you have an authority for your life. It’s what you use to make your choices.  Your authority may be yourself, society, etc.

There are four unreliable sources of authority that people often use instead of Scripture.

  1. Culture (Experience). People who follow this authority source say, “But everybody’s doing it.” Yet Exodus 23:2 warns against it: “Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong.”
  2. These people say, “But we’ve always done it that way!” Jesus told some of the religious people of his day: “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions” (Mark 7:8).
  3. This unreliable source says, “Well, it seems logical; it seems rational.” But Scripture warns against using our intellect as our authority source: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 16:25).
  4. Personal feelings. Throughout the United States you’ll find people saying, “I believe it because I feel it.” But the Bible tells about a time when the world was in anarchy because of this attitude: “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).

The four sources above are all inwardly focused and have some value. However, the caveat is that when any of those are in conflict with the Bible, they must be dismissed in favor of Scriptural authority.  I encourage you accept the Bible as the final authority for every issue in your life.  When you accept that authority, you’ll start to get more out of the Bible and be obedient to the first part of Proverbs 3:6 “in all your ways submit to Him.  The benefit of submitting to God is contained in the second part of Proverbs 3:6, “and He will make your paths straight.”   

Prayer:  Dear God, Forgive us for the times that we reject your Word as the final authority in our lives.  Help us to not only accept your Word but to spread the Good News contained in your Word to all that we meet.  Amen.

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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Do You Know A Proverbs 31 Woman? I Do!

Do You Know A Proverbs 31 Woman? I Do!

When you give to the poor, it is like lending to the LORD, and the LORD will pay you back” (Proverbs 19:17 GNT).

 

Scripture is full of stories of women that have played essential roles in advancing the work of our Lord.  These prominent women include the Matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah, Miriam the prophetess, Deborah the judge, Huldah the prophetess, Rahab, Esther, and many more.  Many of these women are recognized in the Faith Hall of Fame found in Hebrews 11. 

Proverbs 31 describes the many virtues of Godly woman.  The Proverbs 31 woman can be commended for all the wonderful things she does, what is most important is that she loves the Lord.  She lives her entire life to honor and serve Him. This and this alone is what makes her a virtuous woman.

I recently enjoyed coffee with my good friend Mark.  As we discussed how God has blessed us, I told him that he was particularly blessed because his wife is a Proverbs 31 woman.  Her love for the Lord is evident in all that she says and does.  If you spend five minutes with her, she will tell you what God has done for her today.  As I speak with her, my mind is often drawn to Luke 6:45 “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”  Her heart is full of a love for God.  She lives a Spirit-led life, and the Fruits are manifested in her love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

My Sunday school class has been watching a series of videos entitled Pearls by Kristi McLelland.  In a recent episode, Rev. McLelland emphasized the need to “zachar” as a means of moving forward.  The word “zachar” is a Hebrew word that means to remember.   The Jewish people would often take time to look back and remember God’s faithful presence in their lives and that would help them to move forward through difficult times in the present.  The Psalmist was remembering God’s past faithfulness when he wrote, “My soul is downcast within me; therefore, I will remember You (Psalm 42:6).

As I speak with my friend’s wife, I often hear the zachar in her words.  If a storm is coming, she will talk about how God rebuilt her house after the flood of 2016.  If her car needs a major engine work, she will mention that the car itself was a gift from one of God’s angels.  None of her present problems are impossible because she remembers her past victories, which she quickly and wisely attributes to God.

Her life is dedicated to loving God and her neighbor (e.g., everybody).  She is not rich by secular standards, but she is rich beyond measure because of her continual efforts to store up her treasure in heaven.  In fact, Scripture says that a Proverbs 31 wife of noble character is “worth far more than rubies” (Proverbs 31:10).

There are few things in this fallen world of which I have confidence.  However, I am confident that when this kind lady is Healed and meets the Father, she will pass on the right Hand of God with the other sheep.  How do I know this?  Because she is actively serving the least, the lost, and the hurt.  God commands us in Matthew 25:34-36 to show compassion, kindness, and hospitality to all, particularly those on the fringes of society.  The Word says, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me’” (Matthew 25:34-36).  This is her calling in life.  It is real and powerful.

We all know that there is a gap between asking God for something and receiving it.  This is the inevitable period of waiting.  During this period, I have seen this Proverbs 31 woman living out Proverbs 3:5, which teaches, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).  Initially I was not sure how this woman was so successful in her prayers.  Then I finally realized that she is also living out the instruction of the Psalmist.  “Delight yourself in the ways of the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).”  Her prayers are answered because she wants the same thing for her life and her family that God wants for her and her family. 

Do you know a Proverbs 31 woman?  I am blessed that I do.  Her name is Vickie Lubbock, and there is no stronger solider in God’s army than this Proverbs 31 woman. 

I can’t think of a better conclusion than the last three verses from Proverbs 31.

Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.   Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate” (Proverbs 31:29-31)

Prayer:  Dear God, Thank you for all the Proverbs 31 women of the past, present, and future.  Their life is a powerful witness to your enduring love and grace.  Amen. 

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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Who Are You?

“In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will” (Ephesians 1:11 (NIV).

 

Years ago, I did a Bible study based on the 307 questions in the Bible that Jesus asked.  Each one offers us the opportunity for self-reflection and growth.   I think these questions are particularly profound because they give us a greater insight into Jesus and ourselves. 

As I think about all of the questions asked by Jesus, my mind is drawn Matthew 16:13-17.  “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”  And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to Him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”

I think the first question is important because it reminds us that others may have an incorrect understanding of Jesus. (Note:  If somebody has an incorrect understanding of Jesus, they will not be able to have a proper understanding of themselves or others.) Our relationship with Jesus is personal and should not be based on the opinions of people that don’t truly know Him.  Yes, we are called to love others and be in community with others but our relationship with God is one on one.

The second question is critical – Who do you say I am?  How you answer this question will profoundly shape your Christian walk and inform your sense of self.

Jesus disciples witnessed his many miracles but yet after He calmed the seas in Luke 8, they still struggled to understand the true identify of our Lord.  In fear and amazement, they asked each other, “Who is this?”  We have the benefit of having the Old and New Testament so we all should be able to answer the second question.

Pop psychology is wrong when it tells you to look inside yourself and find your value.  Scripture teaches that you are good simply because God made you in His image. Period.  You were made so He could love you.  1 John 4:19 reads, “We love before He first loved us.”  1 John 4:9-10 reads goes a little bit deeper by reading, “This is how God showed His love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”  The sacrifice allows us to be presented pure and without blame to the Father.  Moreover, the blood of Jesus ensures that nothing can come between us and God (Romans 8:39).  The love of the Father and the sacrifice of the Son is fundamental in understanding ourselves and God.

Once we begin to realize how much God loves us, then we are better equipped to “consider it all joy” (James 1:2), “be content in any and every circumstance” (Philippians 4:12), and “be content with weaknesses, with insults, with troubles, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

So, once we understand who God is, then it helps us to understand who we are and gives us a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment in life.  True satisfaction happens when you engage in your role as an image bearer of God. Such was the view of King David. “As for me,” he wrote, “I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness” (Psalm 17:15).  David was on a journey to have more of Christ in him.  He knew that God was working in him to burn away the impurities just as a refiner of silver as described in Malachi 3:3.  The refinement is done when the refiner can see his face in the silver.  The Holy Spirit resides in you, but can a stranger look at you and see God?

Ephesians Chapter 1 is our basis for understanding who we are and our relationship with God.  We (1) were chosen, (2) are holy and blameless, (3) have been adopted, (4) have redemption, (5) were granted forgiveness, and (6) were sealed with the Holy Spirit.

As I was preparing this blog, I received the following from a friend.  He told me that the author was unknown.   It really goes to the heart of our identity as Christians.

 

I pray that your answer to the question, “Who do you same I am” is Jesus is my Lord and Savior.  Also, do not let yourself be defined by society or unhappy people on social media but instead commit yourself to living and knowing you are a child of God that was made in His image so He could love you.

When I encounter bitter and unhappy Christians, I realize that they do not know the truth about God nor themselves.  That is the sad result of a poor choice.  There is joy and freedom when we understand why God loves us so much.  It has everything to do with whose we are – we are His.  You are free to choose bitterness and hate, but as for me, I chose faith, hope, and love.  The choice is yours.  Choose wisely. 

Prayer:  Dear God, There is so much hatred and bitterness in this world.  We are a people divided and often over things that really don’t matter.  Forgive us for failing to forgive and love others as You have loved us and free us for joyful obedience to You.  Amen.

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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You Have A Husband Now

You Have A Husband Now

… “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh” (Matthew 19:5 NIV).

 

Several years ago, I was talking with a female friend, let’s call her Sally, about marriage.  Sally told me an interesting story about her first marriage.  Sally got married many years ago to her first husband.  Her father, let’s call him Dick, did not like her husband because he was a “loser.”  Sally was very close to Dick, and he was always her first phone call when she needed advice on anything. 

A few weeks after she got married, Sally called her father for advice.  Sally told me what sort of advice she was seeking from her father, but I forget the details.  What is more important, to me, is the response she got from her father.  Dick calmly and politely responded to her question, “Have you asked your husband about this?”  She indicated to her father that she had not asked her husband about the situation.  The father said, “Honey, you have a husband now so go ask him.” 

Sally’s father was not a deeply religious man.  He had been the main man in his daughter’s life for her entire life.  Remember, he did not like her new husband.  However, he wanted what is best for his daughter so he did everything he could do to support her and her marriage.  Sally’s father had always loved her and would continue to love her.  I think it was because of his love for Sally that he realized the best way he could support his daughter’s marriage was to let her know that “she has a husband now.”

Sally’s father had many reasons, some valid and some invalid, to not like her new husband.  He had advised her before the wedding to not get married.  However, he knew that a marriage bond is sacred so after the wedding he kept his thoughts regarding his son in law to himself and did his best to be kind and pleasant to his daughter’s new husband.  Sally’s father wanted to give unsolicited advice to Sally and her husband regarding how things should be done in their house.

Again, Sally’s father was not a close follower of Jesus.  However, he knew that he did not want another man to undermine his authority in his house, so he knew he had to respect the authority of his new son in law.  Perhaps he had attended Sunday school as a young boy and remembered the Gospel lesson of a house divided cannot stand. 

Perhaps Sally told me this story because she knew I had a young daughter, and she knew that I love my daughter with all my heart.  I wonder if Sally was giving me a warning to prepare myself to take a step back if and when my daughter gets married.  I want my daughter to have a husband.  I know that any husband that she finds will be a sinner, and my initial reaction will to be find fault in him and try to maintain “control.”  So, I have decided to control what I can control, what I should control.  I will control my words.  Also, I will control my prayers and begin praying now that God will send a husband for my daughter that will love, provide, protect, and lead her spiritually in far better ways that I ever could or did. 

As men, many of have jobs in which we have some sort of control over people, budgets, or projects.  At home, many men have control over their young children, and this may continue later in life for unmarried daughters.  Men don’t like to be told what to do, but some fathers have no problem telling their married daughter and son in laws what to do because of a deep-rooted desire to maintain control of their daughter. 

I completely understand this desire for control.  I have a beautiful, intelligent, and kind daughter and will always view my daughter as a sweet and innocent child, and I would love to “control” her in an attempt to protect her.  But, as much as I want to have control over her life, I realize that is futile because that is not in her best interest or mine.  I want to be available to give advice, when asked and with respect to any future husband, but I want to raise my daughter in such a way that she will be able to make wise decisions without me because someday I won’t be here.    

Matthew 19:5 teaches that “….a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”  The same is true for a woman.  She will also leave her father and mother and become one flesh with her husband.  There is a leaving and cleaving that occurs during marriage.  As we leave our parents, we still love them and regularly talk and visit with them, but they no longer have access to the inner workings of our lives, marriage, or our new family regardless if they demand access or feel entitled to private information.  The marriage consists of three – husband, wife, and God. 

It is understandable for a daughter to want to cling to her father after marriage.  The love for any child for a parent is strong and should be respected.  However, it is not respectful for a father to allow his daughter to cling to him once she is married or to continue to demand control over his daughter once she is married.  Fathers can support their daughter and her marriage by keeping negative opinions and unsolicited advice to themselves.  I hope I can do this if and when my daughter gets married.  I know that the time to speak my peace is before the wedding, not after.

Ladies, remember, once you are married, you have a husband now.  Fathers, remember, once your daughter is married, she has a husband now. 

Prayer:  Thank you for the Holy Covenant of marriage.  Help us as husbands to love our wives as you so loved your church.  Help us as fathers to best support our daughters by recognizing the sacredness of their marriage.  Help us as brides to remember that once we are married, we have a husband now.  Amen. 

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T

todd shupe

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

todd shupe

 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10 NIV).

There was a hit song in 1967 by Aretha Franklin titled “Respect.”  Respect is important for both husbands and wives, and Scripture calls each partner to respect the other.  Husbands are specifically called in 1 Peter 3:7 to respect their wife and are given reasons.  “Husbands, also live with your wife the way you know is right. Respect her because she is a woman. She is not as strong as a man. Also respect her because God has given her, as well as you, the blessing of life. In this way, you will not stop God from doing what you ask him to do.” 

Husbands and wives both need respect and love.  I think the most important thing a wife can show her husband is respect, and the most important thing a husband can show his wife is love.  Ephesians 5:33 reads, “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”  This is the final verse of a section of Scripture dedicated to instructions for Christian households.  This verse is also the basis for the best-selling book, “Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, the Respect He Desperately Needs” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.

Many wives feel that they cannot respect their husbands because their husbands are not worthy of respect.  This is a terrible situation for any wife.  Peter wrote to first-century Christian wives, and wives today, “even if your husband does not obey the Word they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wife when they behold your respectful behavior…” (1 Pet. 3:1-2, emphasis added).  It should be emphasized that in the book “Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, the Respect He Desperately Needs,” husbands are encouraged to give unconditional love and wives are encouraged to give unconditional respect.  So, even if you feel that your spouse does not deserve or has not earned your love or respect, you should give it anyway.  Remember, we have done nothing to deserve our salvation, but Christ gave that to us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). 

Now, let’s return to our song about respect.   Aretha Franklin spelled out R-E-S-P-E-C-T and then sang out, “find out what it means to me.”  Rev. Larry Stockstill is a distinguished pastor and author from Bethany Church in Baton Rouge, La.  He once wrote, “Respect for a husband, according to that verse, is based not upon his “performance” but his “position.”  God made him to be head and leader of his family whether he knows it or not.  Treat him that way, regardless of his faults, flaws, and failures, and you have a real chance of winning him to Christ.”  I don’t think any woman can do this on her own.  However, I know that a wife of noble character as described in Proverbs 31 can partner with the Holy Spirit and do this and much more. 

Some women read Proverbs 31:23, “Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land,” and wonder was the Proverbs 31 woman’s husband a man worthy of respect when they got married or did he change into a well-respected man during their marriage?  Hillary Bernstein, Christian author and blogger, suggests, “Instead of wondering what comes first – a husband or a well-respected man –we need to be more concerned about how we are helping our husbands and treating them with respect.”

Dr. Gary Chapman wrote THE book on Christian marriages, “The Five Love Languages:  The Secret To Love That Lasts.”  Dr. Chapman identifies the five love languages as words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, and receiving gifts.  Many wives assume that the preferred love language for their husband is physical touch, and this may be true, but some wives may fail to recognize the importance of words of affirmation for their husbands if they focus on physical touch.

If a wife demeans or disrespects her husband, he will likely feel either anger or despair.  He may quit on the marriage, look for opportunities to leave or stay gone for extended periods of time, use drugs or alcohol as a means of escape, or look for another woman that makes him “happy” and gives him the respect that he is desperately, although foolishly, seeking. 

A better option for women is to encourage their husbands.  His efforts may fall short of your expectations, but they will never measure up if you don’t notice his effort.  Find out what is important to him and try to respect those things.  Hint:  His job, hobbies, and mother are likely very important to him.  Make a mental picture in your mind of the type of husband that you want him to be and pray boldly, confidently, and with thanksgiving for God to transform him into that man.  As you wait for God, continue to model good behavior for him according to 1 Peter 3:1-2 and praise him for his progress rather than complain about his shortcomings. 

Everybody has heard the old expression that a dog is man’s best friend.  The attribute that men love in dogs, and in their spouse, is loyalty.  A loyal wife supports and encourages her husband and does not speak negatively about him to others or allow others to speak negatively to her about her husband.  A loyal wife is showing respect. 

We live in a visual society and temptation and graphic images are everywhere.  The temptation for wives is to focus on outer appearances.  However, a wife respects her husband, and herself, when she shows him her inner beauty. 1 Peter 3:3-4 teaches, Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.  Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”  I don’t think 1 Peter 3:3-4 is meant to discourage women from wanting to look nice but rather to remind women that true beauty is what is inside of you and God, and a godly husband, will recognize and honor true beauty.

If any husband has read this blog, and thinks he has the right to intentionally be unloving to his wife and then demand respect from her, he has misread this blog and is sadly mistaken.  Wives should respectfully and clearly decline to follow their husband into anything that is against Scripture, illegal, or immoral.  If either party is violent, immoral, unstable, or addicted, then then by all means the other must protect themself and the family.  The Proverbs 31 woman will love, honor, and pray for her husband even as he faces the consequences of poor choices.

The right next step is for wives to show their husbands unconditional respect, and for husbands to show their wives unconditional love.  If one party is not reciprocating, then continue to do what you can do and leave the rest to God. 

Prayer:  Dear God, Thank you for the blessing of marriage.  Help us to model your love and grace to each other, especially our spouses.  Amen.

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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