There’s a kind of comfort that attaches itself to the thought that God calls the unqualified to do His work, and then qualifies us as we grow into the work given us. Never has this been more true than with Anthea and I. We have several friends who have been mentoring and counselling engaged and married couples for years and whom you’d have thought would have been God’s obvious choice when creating a new ministry aimed at this audience. But no. He chose Anthea and I, put us together with all the experience that Liz brings, and created the team that brings you Sozo for Couples.

Why am I writing about this?

It’s because another way of looking at this is to recognise that over 30 years of marriage to each other has in fact richly qualified us for this ministry and that, given the ups and downs of our early years together, we’re actually pretty well ideally suited for this ministry. And that’s the point of this short blog. Some couples have been telling us that they don’t feel that their own marriages are in a good enough shape for them to take on Sozo for Couples. That they’re not qualified. It’s not true. God often calls us to things we don’t feel qualified for, when our marriages could look better, when we need to read more, learn more, engage more, do more, because He then gets the opportunity to work in us and with us to achieve what He wants. All those friends of ours who we feel were more qualified to be involved with this new marriage ministry probable were, but then they too had to start somewhere, feeling unqualified!

Don’t hold back. It may not be Sozo for Couples (we hope it is!) but whatever is on your heart to do, don’t hold back. Pray, hear then leap!

Communications, Part Two

I’m told that Part 1 of this was rather too dense, so I’ll lighten up on this one! Hopefully we were all OK with my closing synopsis, that:

  • Every action we take and thing we do communicates a message
  • Words, obviously enough, convey more of a message
  • Our tone can completely change the meaning, the therefore the message, contained in the words being said
  • Not communicating can be just as damaging as communicating hurtfully.

I ended with an observation that the way that any communication is received can cause just as much damage as the communication itself…which is the start point for this blog…

Would you agree that the closer we are to someone, the greater their ability to hurt us? I guess that’s pretty obvious, after all, if we’ve allowed someone to get close to us then their opinion of us and therefore what they say to us matters. Here’s the rub though.

How easily do you take offence?

You see, however close someone is to us, however much we love them or them us, they’re not responsible for how what they do makes us feel. We are. We might think they’re responsible, we might not understand why they say things or behave in ways that aren’t loving, but the degree to which we allow those things to affect and potentially hurt us is entirely down to us. It’s our choice.

Our choice? Well, in simplistic terms it is. In more real life terms our ability to be strong and not be hurt by those we love is governed by our own healing. If we have a deep understanding of Father God as our Dad, if we know we’re His and therefore who we are in Him then whatever nastiness may be flung at us, we can cope. Even better, if we’re really secure, then we can look at the nastiness and start to question why that person feels it necessary to be like that. What’s driving them? And did they even mean to offend?

So…what’s the point? It’s this: The more healed up we are as individuals the better our marriages will be. Offence is always a matter of choice. You can take it and be hurt, or reject it, not because you want to inflict hurt in return, but because refusal to accept offence allows you to start understanding what it is that causing your partner to want to offend you in the first place. If indeed that’s the intention.

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