I read Tim and Kathy Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage. I read it mostly on bus rides, but I ended up finishing it last night.
I realize that people who don’t read the book and only read selective quotes from it can form extremely skewed viewpoints from Keller’s original thoughts, completely tearing it away from its context.
I like the bluntness, truth, and confrontation of the book (but honestly, the title frightens me). I learned the importance of having a common thread with someone in which we both experience God’s glory. Having the same vision and mission is also crucial. And, of which the following made my guts drop, having someone who values me, who should also be someone I highly value as well. All these points, while keeping mental note, also freaked me out as I evaluated myself and where I am today.
Of course the book taught me lots of things about marriage, but I also learned so many key points that brought spikes of enlightenment and made me sink in deep thought—of which related to me today.
Anyway, a couple things I profoundly enjoyed and repeatedly read:
In Mark 11:25, Jesus says that if you are praying, and you realize that you have something against someone, you must forgive him or her right there. Does that mean you should not confront the person? No, you should, since Jesus in Matthew 18—as well as Paul in Galatians 6 and elsewhere—tells Christians that if someone wrongs them, they should go to the person and discuss their sin. Wait. we say. The Bible says we are supposed to forgive people and then go and confront them? Yes! The reason we are surprised by this is almost always because we confront people who have wronged us as a way of paying them back. By telling them off, we are actually getting revenge. They made us feel bad and we are going to make them feel bad, too. But this is absolutely deadly. The person you are confront knows you are doing payback, and he or she will either be devastated or infuriated—or both. You are not really telling the truth for their sake; you are telling it for your sake, and the fruit of that will be grief, bitterness, and dispair.
Jesus gives us the solution. He says that Christians, knowing that they live only by the forgiving grace of God, must do the work of forgiving wrongdoers in their hearts and then go to confront them If you do that, the confrontation will be so different (164).
Another thing I loved about this book is Keller’s reference to Jane Eyre. Stirred me like a latte.
Keller also references the following poem at the very end. Poems speak to me in ways essays, prose, stories do not. I have no idea why I like them so much. Pages 237-8:
Seventeenth-century Christian poet George Herbert wrote three poems about love, but the most famous was the last, entitled, simply, “Love (III).”
Love bade me welcome, yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey’d Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lack’d anything.
“A Guest,” I answer’d, “worthy to be here”;
Love said, “You shall be he.”
“I, the unkind, the ungrateful? ah my dear,
I cannot look on thee.”
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
“Who made the eyes but I?”
“Truth, Lord, but I have marr’d them; let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.”
“And know you not,” says Love, “who bore the blame?”
“My dear, then I will serve.”
“You must sit down,” says Love, “and taste my meat.”
So I did sit and eat.