July 26, 2022

This Is Why We Should Love One Another

“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city” (Proverbs 16:32, NKJV).

A Cambodian man was so infuriated when he came home and found his wife gone and no lunch on the table that he set fire to the family house and burned it to the ground. The 37-year-old husband told police that he wanted to teach his wife a lesson.  The police, however, felt that he had some lessons to learn himself and detained him in the local jail where he was assured of regular meals.

Uncontrolled rage has burned down more than one house.  The reality is that explosive outbursts of temper teach no one a lesson, apart from the vivid realization that when someone is out of control, you had better get out of their way and fast.

“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty. And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city” says Proverbs 16:32 (NKJV).  The man who found no lunch on the table when he got home will undoubtedly have a few days to cool off and think about how he might have looked for some leftovers and not be concerned about rebuilding the house.

Too often, however, those displays of rage destroy any vestige of love which has endured the long nights of arguing and complaining.  Frankly, a lot of men just don’t get it.  They think of their wives as domestics whose responsibilities are to do the cooking, the cleaning, and be available to satisfy their passions.

In Papua New Guinea, where brides are bought in the currency of 15 to 20 pigs, their chief responsibilities are to cook, take care of the garden, and provide children.  “And what if they fail in this last responsibility?” I asked, only to learn that the one who paid the bride price can ask for a refund.

What a contrast from what Paul told the Ephesians, that men are to cherish their wives as they do their own flesh and body. Paul said, “No man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it; even as the LORD the church” (Ephesians 5:29, KJV).  Today we don’t use the word “cherish,” but it’s a good word.  It means you hold something in esteem, you value it, you consider it to be worthy of great care. Another translation put it, “He feeds and cares for” her as his own body.

In Papua New Guinea when I talk about how God wants men to treat their wives, women cheer!  But not only in New Guinea.  It’s everywhere.

The fact is wives are fellow members of the covenant, partners in life, companions and best friends.  Having never seen the example growing up, a lot of men tend to treat their wives as did the man who burned down the house when his lunch was not ready, not realizing he was also burning down his house, and he ended up teaching no one any lessons worth heeding.

May I suggest that you take time to ponder the context of what Paul wrote which you find in his letter to the Ephesians, chapter 5.  Notice that the analogy Paul uses was that of Christ’s great love for His own, the church.  Then, says Paul, that is how God wants you men to love your wives.  It’s an unconditional, no-strings commitment, one that has a price tag, but one that brings great reward and pleasure.

Only a fool allows his temper to vent itself on the one who stood by your side and promised to love, honor, and cherish you until death should separate them.  The bottom line, said Paul, is this:  “Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself” (Ephesians 5:33) and that will be enough love to satisfy any woman.

Resource reading: Ephesians 5:21-33