Let me illustrate. When I played football as a kid, there was never an argument over whether or not someone caught the ball. We all knew what a catch was. Simple. He either caught it or he didn’t. No middle of the road, no guesses.
Well, the NFL doesn’t agree. Today no one seems to know what a catch is.
Just recently in a huge game between the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers there was just such a play with 28 seconds left on the clock. The Pittsburgh receiver made a catch just over the goal line for the game-winning score.
Oh. But it was ruled a non-catch.
I will not take the time to explain the various nuances of a catch in the NFL, but most of us that day simply assumed he caught the ball. And it gets even odder. Later a spokesman for the NFL referred to the non-catch as a catch, only it wound up being a non-catch. Go figure.
Seems to me there was a time when we all knew what a “catch” was. Somehow over the years a catch was no longer a catch. Instead, it all has become incredibly and confusingly complicated.
Isn’t that what we do on a regular basis in many areas of life?
Let’s go a step farther and see how we tend to make the Bible more complicated than it really is.
Think of all the confusion around some of the words and topics in the Bible over the last couple of decades.
Just a few short years ago, no one was confused over the meaning of gender. Male and female. As soon as a baby was born, we all knew whether it was a boy or a girl. Now some want to wait until the child grows and decides which gender it chooses to be. Now that’s confusing.
Marriage is another word. Growing up there were no discussions as to what it meant.
From the time of Adam and Eve all the way through most of the 20th century, no confusion. It was always between a man and a woman. Now marriage has taken on new meanings. In fact, some have even expressed a desire to marry their computer.
I guess because they spend so much time with it.
One more example. In Exodus 20 Moses wrote that we should follow the example of God who “worked”–that is, created the earth and all that is in it over a period of six days. Pretty clear. Work six days, and then take a day off.
Not so fast. Along come some scholars to muddy the waters. All of a sudden Moses didn’t mean six days as you and I understand six days. Then why did he say six days? Now I’m confused.
Why can’t I pick up my Bible, start in Genesis 1 and read it as a ten year old? My guess is if you had a ten year old read Genesis 1 and Exodus 20 and then gave a pop quiz asking how many days it took God to create the earth, the answer would be six days…without hesitation.
Those two chapters are not complicated unless you want them to be. All the words are rather clear, that is, unless you choose otherwise.
For me, I am sticking with the simple and obvious.
And yes, I may be biased, but in that particular game, the catch was a catch!
I have observed over the years that when marriages fall apart, there are typically a few common denominators.
For instance, in my last post I recommended a book, His Needs, Her Needs, that addressed the problem of not doing the positive things that need to be done in a marriage.
In the book I am recommending today, the focus shifts to the negative side. In other words, there are some negative behaviors that destroy romantic love.
Now that is not all that hard to figure out. If I yell at my dog, he cowers as if our relationship is suffering. So how can I expect an angry outburst in my marriage not to have some sort of detrimental effect?
To make matters worse, if I initiate a negative behavior, I am going to have to work extra hard to offset it with at least five positive behaviors. Perhaps that is why marriage is such hard work.
In our first house my brother came over to help me in the attic and stepped through the ceiling. It took more time and effort to repair the ceiling compared to the help he provided.
In marriage, our destructive habits are very hard to overcome. In fact, many stay in negative territory.
That is the issue Willard Harley addresses in his book Love Busters. While it is a great book, it won’t do you any good if you are not honest with yourself. I have watched couples have angry outbursts, and then deny it.
While it would be easy to simply list the destructive behaviors addressed in the book, my fear is that you might avoid the book.
But this is a book that any marriage can profit from. For some marriages it should be purchased right away. Get the book, read it, and Overcome the Habits that Destroy Romantic Love (Subtitle).
Conflict. Simple as that. We all love conflict. What has given conflict a bad rap is the amount of disrespect that tends to come with it.
My daughter Savannah took some sports classes in college and one of her assignments was to keep up with what was being talked about.
So she became an avid watcher of First Take. Two guys vehemently disagreeing, but at the same time, a total absence of disrespect. That is the secret sauce. And she absolutely loved the show.
The Bible offers this healthy, practical advice; Show proper respect to all people. 1 Peter 2:17 (NIV)
When you have conflict with disrespect you have drama. And while drama may be popular on TV, it doesn’t play well in real life.
So the next time you find yourself in the middle of a conflict acknowledge the value of the other person and act accordingly.
Actually you will enjoy it more. Conflict without disrespect. Try it!