We all need models

But Jesus’ example applies to all of us

1 Peter 2:21, 3:1, 3:7-15 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. … In the same way, you wives … In the same way, you husbands … Finally, all of you should

… be of one mind.

… sympathize with each other.

… love each other as brothers and sisters.

… be tender-hearted and keep a humble attitude.

… not repay evil for evil.

… not retaliate with insults when people insult you.

… instead, pay them back with blessing.

That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. For the Scriptures [Psalm 34:12-16] say, “… Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace and work to maintain it …”

In the early years of our marriage, Dave believed a good husband should fix things in his home. So, when our washing machine broke, he spent days trying to figure out what was wrong and how to repair it.

Dave is nothing if not determined, when he gets an idea in his mind. Fortunately for me, he travelled. I promptly called a repairman, and by the next day was able to tackle the mounds of accumulated dirty laundry. To my relief, Dave eventually acknowledged he was neither called nor equipped to repair washing machines, and the cost of his efforts, both to him and to me, was greater than the expense of paying for someone who knew what he or she was doing.

A delightful image makes me smile when I remember this incident. I happened to be in the basement and watched Dave climb the steps expressing his frustration with his lack of prowess with solving physical and mechanical problems by saying “Fiddlesticks! Fiddlesticks!” Behind him climbed our small son, saying “Fiddlesticks! Fiddlesticks,” his head bowed in exact imitation of his father.

When Dave and I got married, we rented space at a camp and had a three-day retreat. Friends and family members were coming in from several countries and from across the US for the wedding, and we wanted to spend time with them and provide a context for them to spend time with each other. Our parents’ generation slept in cabins, and the rest of us slept in tents.

Dave emerging from his tent on our wedding day

As part of the program, we asked my dad to lead a Bible study on marriage. Dad emphasized that as part of God’s family, Dave and I were brother and sister first, and marriage partners only second. He showed us the “one anothers” in the New Testament, including in this passage. Most marriage problems, Dad said, would not even arise if we followed the Scriptural injunctions directed to every Christ-follower, male and female, husbands and wives and everyone else.

Dad’s teaching made sense. It sounded simple.

It wasn’t.

Dave and I had a lot of growing up to do. We needed healing from past traumas. We lacked basic relational skills. We caused each other (and sadly, our kids) a great deal of pain.

Our wedding at Camp Timberlee in Wisconsin

Now though, coming up on our 45th wedding anniversary, we look back with profound gratitude on the teaching that undergirded our marriage, and the many circumstances, challenges, and friends God used to teach us to care for one another more like Jesus cared for us. Looking at Christ’s modeling of love, we can course-correct more quickly and easily than we could in those early years. Thank you, Lord!

Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. … Speak the truth in love, growing more and more like Christ. … Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you (Eph 3:17; 4:31-32).

2 thoughts on “We all need models

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