BY ELDER GOH CHONG ANN
A few weeks ago, I attended a briefing for church leaders by the government’s Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) on various initiatives including the strengthening of marriages and family relationships. In the dialogue which followed, there was mention of a “life-cycle” approach to the initiatives. I was very much impacted by that session. It caused me to also reflect on what the church is doing to help strengthen marriages and family relationships.
Today’s sermon speaks of how in relating to one another in the family of God, we are to behave appropriately - respectfully. The Central Idea is “To Respect One Another and so Glorify God before men”. How are we behaving with one another in the family of God – in thought and deed - at Glory Presbyterian Church?
The apostle Peter summarizes the Bible’s teaching on respect in his first Epistle: “Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king” (1 Peter 2:17). This passage encompasses four major areas of our lives, teaching us that, as followers of Christ, we should respect all people, other Christians, God, and governmental authorities. To respect everyone, we must be conscious that God has created all people in His image, regardless of whether they believe in Christ.
There are also other passages that teaches us about how to relate to one another. Look up the Bible on other “one another” passages and you will realize that there are many. Learn them well so that you can build strong and meaningful relationships in the family of God.
But what about relationships between husbands and wives? How are our marriages doing? What can we do to strengthen marriages? Here at Glory, we have a Marriage Preparation program to help couples prepare for their marriage. We even have a Courtship Guidance program to help couples make wise choices in life partnerships. But some may not be aware that we have a “Strengthening our Marriage” program (SOM) for married couples who wish to do exactly that – strengthen their marriage. The program is customized to fit the couple and spread over 4-6 sessions. Check us out. Contact the Family Ministry. However healthy we see our marriage, it remains true that it can always be better.
Yet, what is equally true is that most husbands and wives stopped learning what marriage is all about the day after their wedding – marriage as God intended. Instead, they are constantly being “fed” on what marriages look like in the world. Sadly, over time, many marriages become sick, and sometimes end up in divorce or separation.
To counter this “invasion” on our minds, we are launching a new program – Readings on Marriage (ROM) – which will help us see what a Christian marriage looks like. In his book “Whole Marriages in a Broken World”, Gary Inrig says, “One of the most striking biblical truths about marriage is that it is meant to be a portrayal of the greatest relationship in creation – the relationship between God and His people”. We will re-capture the essence of a Christian marriage from reading this book in “small bites” over 8 short sessions – just 90 minutes each - next year. We will be looking at various aspects in marriage – communications, conflict resolution, baggage, forgiveness, roles of husbands and wives – as well as to see how sex is a God-given blessing, and how we are to enjoy love fully even into the twilight years of our earthly life. It is a “life-cycle” approach. Look out for ROM coming up soon!
“It is more important to ROM after you ROM.”