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FLOURISHING FAMILIES Your Marriage Can Impact Your World Te same thing applies to marriage,

by Dave McVety

I love marriage — for a different reason than you might think. One of my favourite things about

marriage is the incredible illustration it represents of the power of Jesus’ relation- ship with us, his church. We are to love our spouse as Christ loves the church: selflessly, sacrificially, full of grace. I’m convinced that there is NO greater form of evangelism in our current culture than a Christ-centered marriage (Eph. 5:25-30). Our culture is filled with divorce and

broken relationships. Unfortunately, there is a tendency for some to judge or condemn these families, sometimes sep- arating ourselves from those who exhibit different values. Protecting our families is good, but

consistently distancing ourselves from those who don’t share our beliefs and con- victions may not be the best way to show them God’s love. In Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus calls us to be the light and to shine that light so that all can see. I’m not suggesting that we condone

or accept anything and everything the world has to offer. I’m also not suggesting that we stop speaking truth in love, but that there is an added dimension to what speaking truth looks like in our lives, one that we may be overlooking. I would like to propose a position of

hope and light, just as described in Mat- thew 5, rather than fear and turmoil. Let’s consider a diamond for a moment.

To the naked eye, and to someone who doesn’t know any better, you could pick up a cheap cubic zirconia and think it’s beautiful; aſter all, they do look alike. It’s not until you examine the real thing that you realize it doesn’t compare. Te light, the shine, and the clarity of the perfect diamond is beautiful and alive. Te diamond is truly valuable, and you find yourself not wanting to settle for anything less.

Fellowship Focus, March/April 2016 15

if we pull out all of the real diamonds from the crowd of impersonators, we give nothing for the world to compare to. Te hope and beauty of God’s design isn’t seen, and everyone begins to think that the real thing is the cubic zirconia. Over time, no one even realizes that real diamonds exist. It’s our responsibility to be that image

of a diamond to the world around us, especially to our kids. Realistically, none of us has a perfect

marriage. We all fight and argue; aſter all, we’re human. In fact, if you know anything about diamonds, you know that each one has an imperfection. Tat imperfection is one of the ways you know it’s real, unique and beautiful! So, instead of perfection, I am suggesting that if we pursue healthy marriages with God’s word as our guide. By modeling Christ’s relationship to the church, we will impact both our families and the world around us. Our children will want the real thing, and the world will see a tangible difference in us and want it too. Our marriages then, will speak God’s truth to the world. Here are a few examples of how Christ-

like marriages help us be diamonds to the world around us. Trough our faith and

God’s continually growing fruit in our lives we can aim to: 1. Fight better, with grace and forgiveness — Eph. 4:29,31

2. Love better, with the Holy Spirit’s strength — 1 Cor. 13

3. Be forever faithful and secure in our relationship — 1 John 4:18

4. Be selfless and put our spouse before ourselves — Eph. 5:25-33

May we, as believers and as the church, embrace God and his design for mar- riage by following Jesus’ example of self-sacrifice. Our example will make the world’s false versions of marriage pale in comparison to the brilliant sparkle of the real thing. Our marriages are to shine like diamonds, imperfections and all.

David McVety is Assistant Director of Doing Family Right. He lives in Abbotsford, B.C. with his wife Melissa, their four children, and one grandchild. Dave and Melissa are mem- bers of Grace Evangelical Bible Church.

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