Peace vs. the Dividing Wall of Hostility

Ephesians 2:14-16
“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.”

This set of verse popped out at me a few years ago as having to do with marriage. I know it is about two types of people; Gentiles and Jews, but wouldn’t you agree that women and men are two different types of people?  We think differently, talk differently, feel differently, and have different expectations.

Peace:
1) a state of national tranquility
a) exemption from the rage and havoc of war
2) peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord
3) security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous)

I have yet to hear of a couple getting married with the goal of living a miserable life. Have you? But far too often I see that is what is settled for in marriage, and still others are miserable and think the only answer is to just walk away. We don’t have peace with our spouse, so how do we get it? Well, it’s not where you’d think.
– Who is your peace, or where does it come from? Have we put our spouse on the hook to be our peace? Have we thought that when we marry we will have peace?
Jesus is to be our peace, when we look to him for peace, we won’t have a wrong expectation of our spouse that they won’t be able to live up too.

What is your goal as a married couple? Do you have one? Have you ever considered having one, or more? May I suggest at least one to you? Having a happy marriage is a great goal to start with, if I may say so! 
When you both have that goal it is amazing what will change. Your efforts will go toward being happy. You will seek out what brings happiness for both of you.

Barrier:
1) a hedge, a fence
2) that which separates, prevents two from coming together
Hostility:
Antagonism or enmity, a hostile act, overt warfare

I heard of a couple where the husband lost his mother and the wife wasn’t emotionally and physically there for him. She wasn’t there because she was angry with him. Now, because she wasn’t there he has decided in his heart and mind that when she loses her mom she will find out what it is like not to be supported because he won’t be there for her. He has even said he will do this. He’s decided her sentence and will punish her for letting him down. Do you think this will be her s or his only punishment? I think we can all see that both of them are already hostile. All their thoughts and actions toward each other are now tainted by hostility and anger. Her lack of compassion for him in the beginning was out of anger at him and now his intention toward her is based in anger.
In our human thinking somehow all this horrible treatment of each other makes sense, but in God’s thinking we are to love beyond reason, and forgive endlessly. We are to put Christ first in our hearts, in our marriage/family. Putting things in God’s order has miraculous effects.

“by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations”

“Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me”
Through the Cross and Resurrection Jesus did away with the Law and brought in a whole new life of Grace and Forgiveness. We want that for ourselves, but when our spouse lets us down or hurts us the law-book is quickly used to whack them on the head! You broke the rules!! You violated the law!! I do not deserve that!! I deserve better!! You can’t treat me that way and get away with it!! If I let him/her get away with it this time it they’ll just do it again!!
Do any of these sound familiar? Do you see the theme of, I? Me, myself, and I are the only priority here. That does not a happy marriage make! 

For 30 years I harbored bitterness. Un-dealt with anger and pain produced a large fish-hook of bitterness in my heart. I spent years making sure to feed it, and keep it strong all the while wishing it would go away. One day I started praying for it to go away. Then I heard a pastor say to pray for the ones who offended/hurt me. Wow that was not fun, but I tried. It didn’t happen fast, but over time I received a Word from the Lord about it, that it would go away. One night in church the pastor spoke about un-forgiveness, I was so convicted and heartsick that I still had this anger and pain that I went up for prayer, asking for God to help me. I was laid out flat on the floor. I remember getting up knowing God moved. Then I had a dream, a clip of it is all I have in memory. I was looking at myself screaming in pain – knowing God was ripping out that root of bitterness. I woke knowing what happened but only remembering that one small fragment of the dream.
From my dreams God has shown me that offense is bait hook, which if accepted and agreed too leads to a root of bitterness. Accepting it and agreeing with it by speaking about it hooks us and drives the hook deeper the longer we hold on to it. We come into agreement with the enemy when we complain about it; we dig it deeper by keeping the list of offense.

When we speak badly about our spouse, or anyone who offended us, we are coming into agreement with the enemy. When we come into agreement with anger and offense we take that hook into our mouths. The longer we agree with it the deeper it goes.  The great news is this: We have the choice to let it go, and we have the opportunity to never pick it up to begin with.

We are called to come into agreement with God’s Word, with forgiveness of sins, with loving people beyond reason. Who better to practice on than our families? Start agreeing with God’s Word for your marriage, and take every opportunity to reject offense.

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