MUSCLE CAR MARRIAGE
How to Survive a Crash
September 12-13, 2009
It’s so exciting, and no one ever has the thought when they buy their new car, someday, I hope to mess this car up. Yeah. I want to do all kinds of damage, dents and dings to my car, want to neglect my car. Or maybe I can just have one catastrophic crash, total this car out in one fell swoop. No one ever thinks, I want my brand-new ride to end up here in the scrap yard. No one ever thinks that about their new car, yet millions of cars end up here every single year. Marriage is the same way. No one ever begins a marriage, no one ever stands before a priest or a pastor thinking in the back of their mind, someday I want to mess this marriage up, I want to neglect this marriage, do all kinds of relational damage, dents and dings to this marriage. Or maybe I can make one catastrophic choice and crash this marriage, total this thing out. No one ever plans for that. Yet millions of marriages are scrapped every single year. Maybe your marriage is hurting right now. Maybe you feel like your marriage belongs here in the emotional scrap yard. Hey, I think God has brought you here today to give you a word of encouragement, instruction, hope, and perhaps even relational healing.
Welcome to Muscle Car Marriage and this session entitled How to Survive a Crash. Hey, and welcome to Church by the Glades. Good to see you tonight. Oh, no, I applaud you for being here. We’ve had great crowds during this series. This series has been fun. We have one more week of MCM after this week, so don’t miss next week. And we’ve been talking, if you’re first time here, we’re so glad you’re here, we’ve been talking to our single people, our parents, our kids, a lot of conversation about marriage. In fact, I was thinking this week marriage, every single marriage, almost every marriage, people begin that marriage with highest hopes, great promise, great potential. Yet study after study shows that almost half of first marriages don’t go the distance. They end up in the relational junk yard, they’re scrapped by someone. And the odds get slimmer as marriages multiply. The odds get worse for second and third marriages. And I was wondering why that was. Why is it so many marriages don’t go the distance, how many get scrapped. And I want to talk about that tonight.
In fact, the topic tonight is how to survive a relational crash. Maybe that big, disastrous decision you’ve made in marriage or your partner made or both of you have made, maybe somebody made a decision. Typically, they’re selfish, they’re stupid, and they’re sinful. And you’re wondering tonight can your marriage make it. How can you survive a relational crash? Well, take your Bible and turn to Song of Solomon, or maybe your Bible calls it Song of Songs. Old Testament book. And I want to show you one little verse out of this. And I will attempt to answer that question tonight, how can you survive a relational crash?
But before I deal with that, there are two reasons why cars get junked before their time. A car that the engineers designed to go a hundred thousand miles or 120 K or beyond, but it’s in the scrap yard long before its time, two reasons. One is sometimes there’s been this horrific crash, and that great crash has done great damage. But actually, most cars that end up in the junk yard before their time, it’s not been a big crash, it’s just been a whole series of small things. The little dents and dings, maybe a few fender benders over the years, multiplied negative impacts, maybe a careless owner who’s neglected that car, not maintained that car. And in fact, if you noticed the car out on the grass on the way up, we’ll give you a little opportunity this weekend to work out your relational frustration.
If you came to church a little stressed tonight, we have this car that a junk yard donated to us for the weekend, and we have some sledge hammers out there and some gloves and some eye protective gear, so knock yourself out and beat up that car all you want, all right? Have a good time. If you’re frustrated with somebody or yourself, go ahead and take it out on the car, not the person. I recommend ladies you beat the car, not the husband. Amen? Just saying. Beat the car, not the kids. That what I recommend. But that car was not totaled out because of a wreck. Wasn’t some tremendous crash. But by the time this weekend is done, seven services, 5,000 people getting a poke at that car, it’s going to look like it rolled over a cliff. And some of our relationships kind of look the same way. It’s not been one or two big, horrific things, but a whole bunch of small things over the course of time compiled to do tremendous damage.
Solomon in Song of Solomon chapter 2 verse 15 talks about this dynamic in poetic metaphor. By the way, parents, it’s one of the G-rated sections of Song of Solomon. There aren’t many, but this is one. And he makes this observation about a relationship. Again, it’s poetic. It says, “Catch for us,” he says to his wife, “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards. Our vineyards are in bloom.” Now, the vineyard is their love, it’s their marriage, it’s their intimacy. It’s their marital romance. But he says got to watch out for little foxes in the vineyard of our love. You know, small little animals that burrow around the root system, these little vermin minute. If they go unchecked, if you don’t call the exterminator, multiplied, they do damage over the course of time. Not a big grizzly bear. It’s a little fox. And Solomon’s saying in this relationship to maintain and grow and maximize our marriage, we’ve got to be diligent to watch out for those small, destructive little foxes that’ll take this thing down over time. So I was just meditating on this passage this week, and I thought what are some of the little foxes in marriage? What are some of the little negative things if you’re not careful and prayerful that can over the course of time do great damage to your relationship? I want to share three, and then I’ll tackle the question of the night, how do you survive a crash, how do you survive that really big, disastrous relationship decision or event. But here’s some of the little foxes we deal with in marriage.
Number one, a failure to invest time. A failure to invest time. Married folks, remember back when you were dating? Man, long walks, long talks, huge phone bills, closing down restaurants. And then you get married, and maybe you have some financial goals and you’re working and she’s working and you’re working some overtime, then you drop a few kids into the equation with all those responsibilities, and they consume all the time. It’s like you don’t intend not to spend quality and quantity time together, it just gets hard. And I found as a married person, married now for 11 years, unless we’re highly intentional about schedule, Lisa and I become partners in the parents business. We’re just partners in the business and kind of keeping the family going and running and prospering.
I’m so grateful that early in my career as a pastor, a wise minister, he’d been in the ministry many years who had a great marriage came to me and said David, let me give you a little formula if you want to maintain your marriage and grow your marriage, as your church grows and prospers and competes for time. He gave me a little plan. Three Ds. In fact, three Ds, if you do the three Ds, you might avoid the big D. You with me? Three Ds. I’ve shared these before, but jot these down. This is actually a good plan, guideline when it comes to maintaining quality time, face time with your spouse. Dialogue, date, and depart. Read those with me. Dialogue, date, and depart. His recommendation was to me as an older man seeking to mentor me in the moment was you need to dialogue daily. Every single day you need to have some quality time talking to your spouse, interacting with your spouse. Maybe it’s very early in the day before the kids get up, maybe it’s late in the day when the kids go to bed. But some time every day just talking about life and problems and challenges and the good things and the dreams. A little time in daily dialogue.
Date, he said, weekly. Now, I know a lot of our married people, got married hoping we could stop dating, but guys we need to continue to date our mate, continue to date our spouse. And so I think every week if you can find that time, get away with your bride, have a date. For us, if it’s a choice between dinner or a movie, we choose dinner so we can talk, so we can have some face time together, not just sit in the dark together. Well, that’s fun, too. But date. And by the way, when I say date, I don’t mean double dates. That went out in high school. You and your bride.
And then depart. Depart quarterly or at least twice a year. I want to put an asterisk by this one because for my wife and I, it is big. We get away somewhere. And again, I don’t mean just getting away and taking a little mini vacation together, just the two of us, but sometimes it’s work related. I’m speaking at a church somewhere, at a conference, and I’ll take Lisa along, we’ll tag on an extra day in the hotel at one end or the other. And a couple of days alone, and we love our kids, we’re kid crazy, we tend to track toward that kid-centric family sometimes. But sometimes just together we reconnect, we discover why we fell in love. I recommend that simple plan for time to invest in your spouse. We’re using cars and classic muscle cars as our ongoing metaphor. As I’ve talked to the owners of some of these great old cars from yesteryear, there’s a common denominator. Some owner, maybe not the present owner, but a previous owner, some owner, to restore that car, to maintain that car has poured a ton of time and love into that ride. Relationships are exactly the same way.
Let me give you another little fox sometimes can do damage in your relationship. I want to call these unspoken expectations. Unspoken expectations. No matter who you are, how normal, how healthy, or how weird and dysfunctional your family of origin is, your family of origin kind of shapes your view of life, relationship, and marriage. Maybe you thought I want to be nothing like my family, but it is still kind of your framework as you come into a new relationship. So as you’re trying to figure out things like conflict resolution, how to discipline the kids, division of labor, family rituals, your family of origin’s going to imprint certain ideas on you as you come into marriage. You’ll have certain expectations as to the way this whole marriage relationship should go down based probably on your family of origin.
Example, single dude. Single dude grows up in a family, and his mom is highly domestic, dotes on him a little too much, and when he has dirty clothes, he doesn’t help do laundry or chores, doesn’t even take his clothes to the hamper. He just drops his dirty clothes on the floor. And mom who’s highly domestic and probably dotes on him too much just picks up those clothes and cleans those clothes and folds those clothes and puts those clothes a couple days later in a drawer neat and clean. So this guy grows up, single dude with this system. Dirty clothes go on the floor, couple days later, end up in the drawer. That’s a nice system, he thinks. Right? Dirty clothes on the floor, later in the drawer. Now, single dude gets married, and his expectations are just what he’s always done. Where’s his shirt? He takes it off, throws it in the floor. And clothes are piling up, and he doesn’t say anything, he doesn’t communicate, but after a while he’s thinking, man, she doesn’t even love me. Doesn’t love me, doesn’t care for me. She’s not very domestic. She’s not a very good housekeeper. Look at all my dirty clothes piling up. She doesn’t communicate. She’s thinking I am married to a slob. What’s wrong with this guy? This guy does not respect me, doesn’t want to help out, just throws his clothes in the floor. At some point, these two must communicate. She needs to say hubby, I ain’t your momma. You’ve got to help me with this. In fact, I recommend she doesn’t say it like that. I do recommend she communicates. And in fact, here are three very important ground rules as you come into this relationship with expectations. As you speak and communicate, you’ve got to communicate with love, with respect, and openness. When we talk about an issue, we don’t see eye to eye, I kind of expected A and Lisa expected B, as we have dialogue about that, as we communicate, those three rules, lovingly, respectfully, and with openness. And you’ve got to talk.
For a marriage to work, you’re different, from different families and you did dinner one way and they did dinner another way, and you did Christmas this way and they didn’t — all that stuff. You’ve got to talk about the small things and the big things with love, respect, and openness. Say it with me. Love, respect, and openness. Everybody. Love, respect, and openness. So very loving, very polite, very respectfully, open for feedback, not taking cheap shots at each other. Talk about these things. Small things, big things. Sex. Survey of married people, sex a small thing or a big thing? I’m saying big thing. Big thing. Amen? Amen. You’re allowed to answer. Big thing. Big thing. Big, big — got to talk about it because, listen, we live in a culture with the myth of sexual connectivity, sexual chemistry. The myth goes like this. If you’re right for each other, you just intuitively know how to sexually satisfy the other person. I mean, he’s going to understand intuitively, she’s going to know just instinctively. You’re going to know. That’s a bunch of hogwash. Guys, can I tell you, physiologically speaking, emotionally speaking, women are way more complex sexually than we are. And if you think intuitively he’s going to understand — no. When it comes to things even as important as intimate, as weird and awkward as conversation about sex, you’ve got to do it with love and respect and openness.
Let me give you an example. Buddy of mine got married sometime in the past, and this guy during his singleness, man, I respect him. He handled his singleness with great purity. He married as a virgin. He married a woman who’d been married before, had some kids. Obviously, she had sexual experience. I was talking to him I mean just a day or two before the wedding and the honeymoon. He had zero regrets. He was so glad he handled his singleness with purity God’s way. He was incredibly excited about the honeymoon. But he pulled me aside because, you know, I was married and said Dave, I’m so excited, but I’m a little nervous, you know, because she has a couple of kids, she has more experience than me, and I’m excited but I’m aware that she has more experience than me. Can you give me any kind of help? Like all of a sudden I’m like Doctor Ruth or something. Okay. I said well, how about this. On your honeymoon, you guys get together. First thing you do, why don’t y’all pray together? Why don’t you pray together, kneel by the side of your bed and just dedicate your marriage and every component and facet of your relationship to God. And then talk to her. Talk to her. I mean, just share your heart with love and respect, just be really open with her. I want you to say something like this. I want you tell her, hey, I’m very excited about tonight. I also am a little nervous about tonight. Because she’s going to know how you feel. She knows what’s going down already. She knows that she has experience you don’t. So tell her. Say I’m a little nervous about this, but we’re going to have a life together, and I want you to talk to me about sex. I want to go to school on you. I want to learn what pleases you, what excites you, what arouses you. I want to learn what — so you talk to me with love and respect, and you honor me. I’m so open. And then you say this to her, because I want to rock your world in bed for the years to come. Yeah.
There’s some ladies, you’re getting a little excited just hearing that conversation. You’re hoping your husband will go home and say words like that to you. See, in small things and big things we must communicate, because we all have these unspoken expectations, we have, and there are so many myths in our culture about connectivity and rapport and chemistry and if we were right for each other, he would automatically know, and if she were right for me, she would automatically intuitively know. So much of marriage is counterintuitive. We must talk with love and respect and with openness. Amen?
Third little fox that can do you in, I’m going to call this one unrealistic views of marriage. Unrealistic views of marriage. In our culture, so much of our views of marriage and romance have been shaped by fairytales and kids’ books and TV shows and movies. For example, marriage looks nothing like this. Keep your eyes closed. Trust me? I trust you. Open your eyes. I’m flying. Jack. Seriously, I mean seriously, I mean, that has nothing do with the reality of marriage. Number one, that’s Hollywood. It is a movie. Those are two actors. They’re not even really in love. They’re not even really named Jack or Rose. In fact, it’s not even really a boat in that scene. It’s computer special effects and a giant green screen. There is nothing real. And speaking of the movie, he dies in the end. And she promised to love him forever, never let him go. Then he dies, and she lets him go. And then it’s like the whole blue diamond thing later on, like, you know, she could have probably prevented the entire Great Depression, but she hung onto the blue diamond. At the end, she throws it in the water. Probably could have saved her daughter from a life of poverty, but no. Nothing real about that. And if you think your marriage is going to have the romance of Titanic, your expectations are going to collide with the iceberg of reality. It doesn’t go that way.
Look, God wants your marriage to be a good marriage, even a great marriage, a growing marriage. He wants to favor your marriage. But your marriage will never be perfect. Here’s the first reason why. You’re in it. See, you’re a highly imperfect person. You’re just like me. We’re highly imperfect people. And by definition we cannot be part of perfect relationships. You see, when your marriage is struggling, you tend to focus on the shortcomings of your spouse. I think that’s the wrong place to start. I think I need to focus on where I fall short. So let’s just own it to day.
In fact, I want all the married people in the house to turn to their spouse and say this marriage is not perfect because of me. Yeah, I mean that. Right now, let’s do that. Turn to your spouse right now and say that. This marriage isn’t perfect because of me. We’ve got to own that right now. Now, God wants our marriages to be good, to be growing, to be prospering, but they’ll never be perfect. You engaged people, man, I love you, but you are so dumb at this point in your relational journey. Because I hear you guys say all the time we’re perfect for each other, we’re just perfect for each other. No, you’re not. Stop saying that. Hey, God recognizes our relationships will never be perfect, but he wants them to grow and prosper. My relationship will never be perfect because of me, yet it can still be good by God’s grace. All right.
Hey, just some thought, some thoughts. Because these little things — thank you. These little things, these little foxes, song of Solomon 2:15, can cause a lot of damage. So be aware of these things. You’ve got to invest the time. Be careful about those unspoken expectations. You must communicate with love, honor, and openness. Love, respect, and openness. And then finally, there are some myths in our culture, very unrealistic views of marriage. Your marriage can be beautiful, blessed growing, but it will never be perfect because you’re in it. Amen? All right. Now, those are the small things. We could spend all night and the whole series on the small things, but you go ahead and make your own list. I want to talk about the subject tonight that catastrophic crash.
When someone in the marriage, maybe both parties in the marriage, they make a decision, there’s an event. Typically it is selfish, it is stupid and sinful, and it does incredible damage to that relationship. It is a crash. It is something horrible and horrific. I want to talk about those things. In fact, maybe you have been through that, maybe you’re going through this right now in your marriage. In fact, if that is you, you’re asking yourself this question tonight. Is my marriage totaled out? Is there any hope of repair or restoration in my marriage tonight? I want to try to help you answer that question. I can’t answer that question for you, but you before God can find the right answer to that. When I talk about this incredible crash event, I mean things like abandonment, abuse, and adultery.
Now, tonight I want to talk about adultery. I wish I had time to deal with all three of those, but I will say this about physical abuse. If you’re in a marriage right now and you’re being physically abused, get yourself safe. Put some space — if this is going on in your marriage, put some space between you and the abuser right now. If this person is one of those rare, weird people, a mean-spirited manipulator trying to use the Bible to bully you into staying, your pastor is telling you get yourself to safety. I’m not going to talk about abuse tonight, but God does not want you to be a physically abused person. I’m going to talk about adultery tonight because sadly, adultery is very, very common. And of course, in the context of marriage, adultery is very, very damaging. And it happens all the time. Surveys will bear that out, but just life experience bears that out.
Example, have a friend of mine, he’s been in South Florida doing ministry for a couple of years, but he’s from the Bible Belt. He’s a good guy, smart guy, has a deep Southern accent. And to be honest, when those guys come from Georgia and Carolinas down here, I always wonder how long they’re going to stick. Some do. Some fall in love with the greatest place to do life and ministry anywhere, South Florida. Others run back to Georgia as quickly as they can because it’s different down here. It’s a little edgier down here. It’s definitely — there’s not a Christian culture down here, at least a church culture down here, that’s as prominent as in the Bible Belt. Anyways, I’m talking to this guy and said well, how you doing down here, Mike? He said well, man, I know I’m in a different place because I’m driving my car the other day, and at Perry Airport, one of those small planes is taking off carrying the big banners they fly over the beach advertising nightclubs and restaurants and what have you, except this one’s not going to the beach. This banner plane’s flying over University zig-zagging over the traffic and the homes. He said I looked closely to see what it said. Here’s what it said on this long banner. It said Jose A., I know who you are banging. Get a lawyer. Now, now, listen, because this person had warned Jose to get a lawyer, I’m assuming that this person who bought the banner is his wife, right? And Jose is about to find out how damaging adultery can be, right? It can be damaging out there. It can do all kinds of damage in a relationship. I want to talk about that tonight. And I want to give advice. Again, I can’t tell you what God wants you to do, but I can give you some guidelines. There are many, many places where the Bible warns against the pain of adultery.
A friend of mine in ministry, he’s been invited by Nightline to get on TV and debate the pros of fidelity versus a group that wants to highlight and advocate adultery. That should be the easiest debate in the history of all time. The crowd at Jerry Springer boos the cheater, all right? But the Bible says throughout what damage adultery can do. One example is Hebrews 13:4. Read the part on the screen that’s highlighted. It says, “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled, for fornicators an adulterers God will judge.” And I kind of hate to highlight negative, real strong, truths in the Bible, but I do teach the entire word of God. And I recognize as I unpack this truth here seven times this weekend, there’s going to be some folks in this room, and this is part of your relational history. There’ll be people here tonight and they’re married now, but they got together because they hooked up and one person was married at the time. I’m not here to judge you. We love you as a church comprised of highly imperfect people. We just own that. So take your past and be wise and just don’t do it again. But there’ll also be people here who are in the midst of doing this right now, people here who are on the edge of doing this right now.
So I want to go at this as clearly as I know how. How does it happen? How do people who are married people fall into the trap of adultery? I’m not even going to deal with that. Why? I taught on that in very clear terms about six weeks ago. And you can listen to that entire message online. In fact, you can now watch it online. Back in our Strip Club series in a very graphic, clear way I tried to explain how people slip into adultery, how good people who maybe never intended, not somebody’s who out there trolling for someone, but someone who kind of falls into this trap — keep it up there, guys, if you would — how the enemy sets this trap for people, how before affairs become physical, they’re emotional. And so you can go to our web site, and right there it says watch online right now. You can watch that teaching. In fact, you can watch tonight’s teaching about Tuesday of this week right online. If you’ll go to that top arrow where it says message series, what will come up is one of the options is Strip Club. If you’ll go to the one entitled How to Have an Affair. And I’ll warn you, if you were not here, it is clear. It is rated PG-13 as tonight’s teaching is. I wanted to make it as clear as I knew how. I made people very uncomfortable. In fact, we’re not going to show this episode on television on Channel 7, but it is available to you online. So if you’re wondering how this happens, I talked about it. I’ll show you how this happens, how no one is immune.
In fact, the first step, married person, is thinking it could never happen to you. So if you weren’t here that weekend, check it out online. But why does it happen? Let me talk about that. Why do people fall under this trap? Well, sometimes in a marriage there’s just one person who’s the innocent party. One person is unfaithful, the other partner is working out the marriage in love, and it just kind of happened. Often, though, it’s not that case. Maybe it is a situation where there has been maybe a series, maybe years of just small emotional damage done, little dents and dings, some of those little foxes over the course of time, and that relationship is struggling to a degree, and the person who commits adultery, the way they open up to that is they start looking for what I want to call an emotional or relational upgrade. They’re thinking I’m so unhappy with her. In fact, I’ll talk to the ladies. Because when I did Strip Club, I kind of did it from a man’s point of view. I’ll talk to the ladies. You’re thinking I’m unhappy with him, I’ve been married to him, he does not appreciate me, does not communicate with me. And the enemy, the enemy loves to mess up marriages, he especially loves to take down Christian marriages. And he will try to drop in your life somebody who has those commodities it seems like your spouse is missing in spades, and so maybe at the office for you, ladies, there’s this guy, and he’s kind and he’s attentive and he listens to your stories, and you just feel this connectivity for him, and you begin to imagine what it would be like with him if you weren’t with the guy that you’re married to, that old slug of a guy, but with this guy how much happier you would be. I’m not saying it’s necessarily a sexual fantasy, but just you imagine how much happier you would be because this guy is so attentive, he listens. And you’re kind of out there looking, because you have some dents and dings in your present relationship, you’re looking for that emotional or relational upgrade.
In fact, to make this clear, I was thinking about cell phones. Seems that cell phones, some of us are always open for that newest technology, right? Can y’all remember way back in the day when the first person you ever saw with one of these and how cool that person was? That person who had the — first person you saw with a brick phone. You’re like man, that is the coolest person in the world. Had like this eight-pound brick phone. I saw Todd Shambo in Golds Gym walking with a brick phone. I thought, man, Todd is cool. Todd’s a highly important guy. He has a brick phone. Today no one wants a brick phone. But once upon a time, this was the cool technology. But after a while, the brick phone got a little smaller and — no, the next generation of phones looked kind of more like this. This is kind of like the Miami Vice Don Johnson phone. Got to pull the antenna up, right? And who wants a brick phone now? I’ve got this new phone. So you traded in this phone if you had this phone and you got the Don Johnson phone. And then the phones continued to evolve down the course of time, and maybe you got like a flip phone like, you know, a Rachel calls Ross flip phone from Friends, and who wants this big old phone? I want this little, tiny phone. So you trade in the phone. And then finally — I don’t know what your phone is now, but some of you guys, man, I have an iPhone. I love my iPhone. It’s great. Easy technology. So whatever phone I had, I exchanged that phone for the iPhone.
So we’re always kind of open and trolling for that next coolest cell phone technology. What typically happens to you? Well, as you trade in one phone for the next phone, you normally do it before your contract is done. So there’s all these like penalties and, you know, charges. And as you start to see your bill, typically there’s unexpected expenses every single time. When you make that upgrade from this phone to this phone, there’s always that surprising expense. I have found when people commit adultery, there’s always some penalties, some relational expense and pain they didn’t ever count on. It always — I mean to a person they’ll always say this really cost me more than I thought. And I thought I was upgrading. And by the way — and again, I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings in the house, but in my observation and experience as a pastor of seeing this happen way too many times, people think they’re trading in this for this. Oh, this relationship’s going to cost me. It’s going to be pain and expense and attorneys, and people are going to be hurt and my children — but I’m getting this. I’m getting this new guy who he listens to me, he’s attentive to me, and life with him, he’s the sexy iPhone. But you actually make the full exchange, and you end up with this guy, and after you start doing life together, try to build a life and pay bills together and blend together your children together, you find out this guy isn’t this. He’s just another brick after all. And you’re kind of sick, because you got the brick again and all the charges and pain and relational expense, and I’ve got another brick on my hands. We traffic in truth around here.
I just want to tell you, if you — and again, I’m talking to the ladies right now, but the same would apply to the guys. But if you’ve got that guy out there and he’s at the office and he is not your husband but he’s listening to you and he’s kind of pursuing you and he’s so attentive and he’s laughing at your jokes, straight up, he’s doing these things because he wants to get in your pants. And if you end up with him someday doing life with him, I’m betting this is what you get with a whole lot of extra emotional expense and relational pain. Why not protect yourself? Stay away from adultery, go back to your marriage, work on your marriage, work on the old brick at home right now, and watch God do something remarkable and redemptive and healing in your relationship. Affairs occur all the time, but typically deception is the enemy taking down a marriage. I mean, that’s why it happens. People got to be aware.
So what do you do? What do you do if this has occurred in your relationship? Well, Biblically speaking, adultery, Matthew chapter 5 is one place is grounds for a justified divorce. Jesus said that’s one reason you can seek a divorce that even he would recognize. In fact, I would say to you if you’re married to someone right now and they’re habitually unfaithful, you probably need to punt. Probably need to cut your losses and go unless God gives you a specific word. Now, if it’s a one-time occurrence, or maybe just one relationship and they’re repentant and they are sorry, Biblically speaking, you’re still free to leave if you want to, if you are the victim. Now, if you’re the offender, you’re not free at all. In fact, Biblically speaking, what you’ve done is empower the other person. But even if it’s a one-time thing, you are still free to leave, Biblically speaking. But you’re also free to stay. You’re also free to see God perhaps work a relational miracle and be redemptive and do something very powerful and do something glorious in your marriage. In fact, I would actually recommend that. So David, what are the steps? What if right now I’m in that situation? What if I am the offender? What if I am the person who’s committed the sin of adultery? What if my spouse has? Well, quickly I’ll wrap with this idea. There are three things you’ve got to do, three Biblical things.
The first thing you need to do is you’ve got to confess. If you’re the person whose done this, you need to tell your spouse. You’ve got to confess. Now, listen, I kind of prayed over this one hard, because I know this confession, if they don’t know, it’s going to cause that other person pain. And you’ve already made a big enough mess. But I think Biblically speaking, based on what the Bible says, what the Bible says alone, I would recommend you confess. Let me show you the verse. James chapter 5 and verse 16, it says, “Therefore confess your sins” — you always confess your sin to God, first and foremost. But “Therefore confess your sins to each other, and pray for each other, so that you may be healed.” And my hope for your marriage is God’s healing. Now, couple of thoughts about how you confess. Be honest, but don’t give out gory details. In fact, I recommend you probably confess in the presence of a third party who both of you trust and love. Have someone else there, a godly person, a Christian person. The pastors at this church, we have some pastors on staff. They walk people through that very awkward, very painful, difficult conversation. If your spouse comes to you and tells you this, don’t probe. You’re going to want to ask questions. You’re going to want details. I recommend you stay away from that, at least sleep on that a few nights, pray about that, because the more you understand, the more graphic, the more you must forgive. But confession is always the first step.
Second step is counsel. You’ve got to bring some wise, insightful discernment into this situation. Now, some of you with your marriages, you go to the wrong people for counsel. You keep going to your brother-in-law, man, been married and divorced four times. Oh, just punt her, baby, get rid of it. Wrong person. Go to someone discerning and godly in your life for counsel. If it’s something as serious as adultery, I recommend professional Christian counsel. There’s people we recommend here at the church. The pastors, we have pastors who will talk to you. By the way, I’m not one of them. I’m the worst counselor we have on the — you don’t want me as your counselor. But we have great counselors that will do that on our staff. But for something this serious, we tend to refer out to professional Christian counsel. Well, that’s going to cost me some money. A professional Christian — guess what attorneys charge? It’s expensive.
And then finally, the third step is you forgive. If you’re the offended party, if God leads you — forgive regardless, but if you want to see the marriage healed, you forgive, but you forgive with accountability, meaning this. You forgive that person, and we owe each other love, but you do not — listen, you do not owe trust. They’ve got to earn your trust again. You’re the offending party, man. You’ve got to rearrange your life and your schedule. And if you can’t maintain a friendship with that person, if that’s someone you met at the workplace, you may have to quit your Job. Put distance and space. You must do things to earn that — accountability. I think with those three steps as you pray and do it God’s way, listen, here’s hope, God can bring about great healing. I’ve seen God do works in marriages. I’ve seen marriages humanly speaking, I wouldn’t have bet a nickel on. But God has stepped in with two willing partners and done something so powerful and so redemptive. But it’s hard work. It’s a lot of hard work. But those are your three steps. Confess, seek counsel, and then you forgive with accountability. If you’re the offender, you earn that person’s respect again, you earn their trust over the course of time. Whatever it takes, you do, the hard work.
Muscle Car Marriage. Been talking about cars. Got one session left next week. On this idea, I was hoping to shoot a video with my friend. I have a friend of mine, he is literally a world-class car collector. This guy is very wealthy, and his thing is cars. In his collection he has over 60 cars. Has a customized, three-level garage at his home. He lives in Indy, kind of a car place, Indianapolis 500. Loves cars. Has these old classic Duesenbergs, Mercedes from the ’30s. Beautiful cars. Has a bunch of new rides, too. So the first time I ever went to visit his house, he showed me with great pride his car collection. Then I hopped in one of his cars, and we drove downtown kind of to a warehouse district, kind of in the hood. And he said let me show you these cars. I’m very proud and excited about these cars. And we went into this warehouse, this nasty old warehouse, and here he had about 8 or 10 Porsches, Ferraris, one Lamborghini, all totaled out. They’d all been in tremendous, catastrophic crashes. Each one of these rides were written off by the insurance company. Just the insurance company said they’re totaled, they’re junk, they’re useless. I said, why are you showing me these cars? He said, well, I just paid pennies on the dollar for these cars. I paid a tiny fraction of what they originally sold for, these messed-up cars. I said, why do you buy these junk, once upon a time beautiful cars? He said, well, about a year ago, I met this genius master mechanic. This guy is so good, he can work miracles. So I take him to the auto auctions where they auction off these high-end rides that have been through these horrendous crashes, and he’ll find — not all of them, but every once in a while, he’ll say that one right there, that one right there, buy that one. That one right there. That one, I know it looks like a mess. You buy that one and you give me enough time and tools and the parts I ask for, you give me the time, I’ll pour my love and my genius into these. And he restores these cars. It takes months. Restores these cars. They look showroom new. I mean, can’t even see dents or dings. I mean, amazing what this genius can do.
You know, at Church by the Glades, we have a genius, master relational mechanic, the Lord Jesus Christ. I’ve watched him do it. I’ve watched him take his holy, nail-scarred hands, when he has two parties, and they have made a mess, they’ve been through a crash. It was him or it was her or it was both of them. But they come to Jesus on his knees, and they say Lord, whatever it takes. We’ll do the hard work. We’ll take the time. He takes the tools of his grace, his power, and his forgiveness and does works of healing and restoration you would not even recognize. We serve that kind of great God. Amen?
So I don’t know — there’s going to be a lot of people here this weekend. I’m not sure who’s going to be a special guest or watching this weekend, but if Mr. and Mrs. Jose A. happen to be here this weekend, my brother Jose, cut that out. Stop doing that thing you’re doing. But even you guys are not beyond the power and the love of my Jesus. He is the master mechanic, and he’s here tonight to give you hope and healing. And all God’s people said –
Father, we love you, we celebrate you. You are a good and mighty God. May we be so available for your radical grace and restoration. I pray your anointing over all our relationships, over our friendships, our family relationships, our parenting, our children, brothers and sisters in Christ, but over the marriages. The enemy wants to take down our marriages. And in Jesus’ name, he cannot have them.
And for the damaged marriages in the house, I pray tonight would be a new night and this would be a new day, in Jesus’ name. And for those that are messing up, I pray they’d stop and repent and find grace. We love you, Lord. And all God’s people shouted with joy amen. Go out there and beat up a car. Have a great night.