Monday, July 31, 2006

Of Sharks and Men

Don Reed was a professional diver who fed tank sharks for a living. He had a healthy respect for the creatures, but still developed a special bond with one of his sevengill sharks. There were many times when he felt that just perhaps the shark was bonding to him as well – until the day he felt her powerful jaws clamp down on him!

You see, Don made a dangerous mistake: he allowed his emotions to get in the way of what he knew to be true. He knew all along that she was a shark, and that he could at any moment become shark food. But he wanted to believe that she was different than she really was. Thankfully, he survived the incident with relatively few wounds, but the words of a friend left a greater impression on him than the sharp teeth: “If you truly love an animal, you must love it for what it is, not for what you want it to be.” It was then that he realized his mistake, but he also began to appreciate her for what she really was – a slim, graceful water creature who would always be a shark.

Friends, when I read this story, it just about knocked me over! Here is one lost man telling another lost man something that many Christians never even think about, let alone understand.

I have a wonderful husband who loves me desperately and takes good care of me, but there are many times when I let my expectations of him get in the way of his sweetness. I cannot expect him to act in a given situation the way I would act. He is simply not me! (And that’s a real good thing, by the way. Could you imagine being married to yourself? J) To expect him to watch the children the way I do, or clean the way I do, or do anything the way I do would be completely senseless, and the sooner I figure that out, the better.

I must love him for what he is.

This requires a good, hard look at the facts, which we often try to sugar-coat. We want things to go a certain way, and then get upset when they don’t go that way! It also requires that we understand that our way may not always be the best way. Now, I’m not talking about living a godly life – that’s living God’s way, not our way, and His way is ALWAYS the best way – but I am talking about the day-to-day tasks that do not have a right and a wrong way to do them, like washing dishes, or scrubbing the table.

Notice that I am applying this to the upline of our authority – our husbands – not to the downline of our children. If you are trying to train a child to set a table, and you want it done a certain way, then by all means, require that it be done the way you want it done. But don’t expect to train your husband! If he wants to set the table backwards, just be glad he is setting the table at all!

Love him for what he is. If he is a man who barks orders and then whirls around and expects you and the children to follow, then love him for his command man personality (and fall in line quick! J) If your husband is very slow to make decisions, then love him for the fact that he is very careful before choosing one way over another. If he has a million idealistic ideas, then love him for his desire to change the world. Realize that if even one of them gets accomplished in his lifetime, that will be of greater impact than the vast majority of men accomplish.

Love him for what he is, not for what you want him to be.

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