Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lent '09 - Day 26: Accepting Influence

In our slow but steady read through of The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work, we are on principle #4: Let Your Partner Influence You. This chapter goes for both for both sides, but is targeted more for husbands, as we tend resist influence from our wives more than they do from us. A key point in this chapter for me is that receiving influence is a way of showing respect and honor towards your partner.

While critical to a health marriage, allowing oneself to be influenced is key to any relationship of love, including with God. I think of Jesus' words in Matthew 7: "Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'". Regardless of the adoration he would receive, if the people weren't doing what he asked, if the people weren't letting his words have influence, then there wasn't a real relationship there.

This works both ways too. One of the ways God shows that he loves us is by letting us have influence in the world he made. My decisions affect the lives of other people and the environment. Biblically you even see people's desires affecting God's actions. It would be a lot harder to say that God was loving if he didn't let us exercise our human creativity and muscle. It's hard to feel loved if you're just shrink-wrapped on a shelf.

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