The Lockdowns Exposed All Our Relationships
Ephesians 5:8-11, 13
8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light 9 (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.
Exposed – it’s a harsh-sounding word and it can be a harsh process. We run from exposure. We try to cover it up and smooth it over and NOT expose things; our sin, our failures, our dark thoughts, our pain. Our first parents – Adam and Eve – showed us how we fallen humans respond when we’re exposed…fig leaves and hide-and-go-seek with God. It didn’t work out too well back then and it doesn’t work now, although for a time we may feel like we’re getting away with it…not so much!
The methods of our cover-ups have gotten more complicated and elaborate. Our “fig-leaves” have turned into sports, a nice house, a secret sin or relationship, a job title, and on and on. We may not even realize it, but deep down we’re trying to cover up an insecurity, a personal loss, or maybe a struggling marriage.
The recent events in our world with the pandemic virus, COVID-19, and the economic shut-down have done many things, not the least of which is serve as an effective tool for exposing some serious issues within each of us. Your job may have been taken away or diminished, those sporting events that served as a great distraction are gone, your friends are ‘social distancing’ and not as available, or simply that time going into work to get away from your spouse or family isn’t happening 5 days a week. We are being exposed and we may not like what we see.
Things are improving but that time spent stuck at home having to face a marriage or family situation that you are not able to escape from anymore has taken its toll. Those arguments with your spouse that you used to cover up and ignore aren’t going away. Your usual routine of silence and going to work and maybe 3 days later you start talking again is not cutting it. Those habits from your spouse that started out as cute, then became irritating, and now grate at your every nerve are constantly around you because there’s nowhere to escape to right now.
For many marriages and relationships the quarantine pushed things to a possible breaking point. You may be reaching a place of decision about your marriage future, and what you decide to do will have significant ramifications for generations to come. If you find yourself in this place, here are a few things we want to encourage you to do.
1.) Embrace the Exposure – Paul tells us in Ephesians who we are – we are “Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light”. God loving restores our identity and the longer we run and the more we try to cover-up the worse it gets. Recognize this time as a gift from God and embrace it. It’s time to walk in your real identity as God’s children. God wants to bring a breakthrough in your marriage, but He has to expose the deeper issues as part of the process.
2.) Humble Yourself – Pride whispers that “you deserve better” that “you will be happier someplace else or with some one else”. Pride blocks you from looking at your own issues and instead blames everything on your spouse. Humility doesn’t take ALL the blame for your marriage struggles, but it takes two to tango, and you’ve got stuff to own. The Lord promises forgiveness when we humble ourselves and repent. Stop focusing on the stuff your spouse needs to own and start owning your stuff first.
3.) Remember the Covenant – The marriage you entered into, however many years ago, was not based on a conditional contract. It was always designed by God to be an unconditional covenant. Now there are some provisions in scripture that God allows – like an affair as an example – that permit us to break the covenant. But far too often we treat our marriages like a contract and the other person is just not making me happy so I want out. Let me encourage you to stay in there and keep working. God can use this refining time to shape you and your spouse into amazing people and give you an amazing marriage. That for sure won’t happen if you bail out early. All you do is carry your same issues into the next relationship.
Back to the verse, Paul says “11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.” This has been a very challenging time for our nation and the world. God is always working and is using this to shine His light into our marriages to expose our darkness. It is a painful process, that doesn’t seem very loving at the time, but if we will allow Him to work on us, our marriages could start down a path of healing that we may not have thought possible.