Lions and Tigers

"Be very careful, then how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."     Ephesians 5:15-16

You can't watch tv any day in the last few days and not hear something about Tiger Woods.  Unfortunately for him, his guarded private life has gone very public - as have his indiscretions.  Marital infidelity happens every day to a variety of people, so I am not altogether shocked that it happened to Tiger Woods as well.  He may be the greatest golfer of all time (arguably), and he may have incredible professional discipline, and he may have more money than many third world countries, and he may have a beautiful wife and family....but, he still did what he did.  No matter how private we like to keep our sins, sin is never private - it always wreaks damage beyond ourselves.  I feel for Tiger's wife and family, and do hope Tiger is able to reconcile.  More than that, I hope through this he finds Christ.

Tigers can't compete with Lions.  The Bible teaches that our Enemy, Satan, is like a roaring lion seeking who he might devour.  We may think we are strong and disciplined, but our Enemy is crafty indeed.  Very crafty.  That's a part of why we are taught to be careful how we live - because the days are evil and are often influenced by the Evil One.

Even those in "ministry" or who are long time followers of Jesus aren't immune to the attacks of our Enemy, the lion.  And one of the ways that he attacks is in the arena of marriage.

Just this week, I have received information about some friends in ministry who are married but have seperated.  Another friend, who is a pastor, had a falling out with his wife, snapped, and ending up taking his own life.  He had three children.  I wish he didn't believe in that last moment the lies of the lion - somehow thinking that taking his life was better than any alternative or the hope of reconciliation.  The whole thing just makes me heart sick, because I know that was not the way he lived his life - he had, to that point, allowed the trajectory of his life to be centered in the glory of God.

People don't get into these positions overnight.  It's not usually just one conversation, or argument, that leads to something so drastic as cheating on a spouse, or seperating, or taking your own life.  It is usually a product of multiple days or months or years even.  That's why we need to make the most of every opportunity, and take great care how we live.  Because what happens to us is never private.  There are spouses involved, there are kids involved, there are churches, and fans, and families, and communities involved too.

So, wives, may I say something to you?  Please show respect to your husband (Eph.5:33).  You may think he doesn't deserve respect right now, and you may be right.  But, you didn't deserve the grace and love of Jesus either, yet God granted it to you.  Your response is to do the same.  Don't badmouth him or talk him down.  Don't nag him like he is a child (even if he is acting like one).  Thank him for his provision/contribution to your family.

Husbands, how about us?  We have a responsibility to love our wives with the same self-sacrificial love that Jesus has shown to us (Eph.5:25-33).  Tell her she's pretty.  Tell her how great a mom she is.  Tell her you love her - and show her you love her.  Care for her and serve her with the heart of Jesus.  Lead with honor, nobility, gentleness, and respect, but (for crying out loud) LEAD.  Show your wife and family your commitment to Jesus, and lovingly lead them in that way.

This matters deeply.  Why?  Because the days are evil, so we need to be careful how we live - we need to be full of the wisdom that comes from God.  There is a lion who is ready to pounce, and he wants to do damage.  And it won't be a private damage, it will affect much more than just you.  Don't underestimate the lion, even if you think you are a tiger.  Your strength is weak compared to him, but your submission to God will be the power you need.  James 4:7 reminds us of this - "Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."