Paul's Passing Thoughts

Vows, Car Doors, Coats and Chairs

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 13, 2011

You see it every now and then; a husband opening the car door for his wife, or the event at Perkins that prompted this post: an elderly man stood up first to hold up his wife’s open coat for her to fill. After all those years? Then I had a light bulb moment: “Why not? Isn’t one of the ’till death does us part’—also to—’cherish’?” It would seem that us men take the faithfulness and love part of the wedding vow much more serious than we take the “cherish” part.

What does “cherish” mean? Well, it’s actually a little more focused than love. You can love anybody, especially if your a Christian. We are commanded to love our enemies, right? Cherish means: ”To cling fondly or inveterately to: to cherish a memory” (Dictionary.com). Cherishing necessarily requires display; that’s why I like the cited definition. When we cherish a memory, we do what? Usually, we have taken pictures, framed them, and displayed them at home and work. We are never commanded in the Bible to cherish our enemies. To cherish is to set love on fire. Guess what the antonym for cherish is? Answer: “neglect.” That’s key.

As Christians, I believe we have been given all we need for life and godliness. In fact, Ephesians 4:24 indicates that we have been given the full righteousness and holiness of Christ. Therefore, the apostle Paul commands us to “put on the new.” Pity: so much of today’s discussion concerning the law of God is framed around “obligation.” Obligation?—biblical commands are an invitation to appropriate and put on the righteousness given to us by Christ. Biblical commands are an invitation to set love on fire! Pity: many are taught today that Christ not only bankrupted heaven to give us His righteousness, but he also puts on that righteousness for us, and while we wait for Christ to do our part, the love of God is hidden under a bushel basket. To cherish is to display the love already given, IF we believe Ephesians 4:24.

Besides men, we promise, we vow, and before witnesses. I guess the guy that was at Perkins gets that part. God is very serious about vows. He says it’s better not to make any than to make one and not keep it. In fact, Psalms 15:1,4 says that vow-keeping is the mark of a righteous person:

“LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain?…. who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the LORD; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind;” (NIV@2011).

Want another version?

“….in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; who swears to his own hurt and does not change;”(ESV).

As these verses indicate, vow-keeping isn’t always easy, but don’t look at this as an indictment, look at it as an invitation to display love already given. Look at it as an invitation to display the importance of what is important to God. Look at it as an invitation to publicly display that you love your wife like Christ loves the church. Look at it as an invitation to set love on fire, and do so at every opportunity—even using car doors, coats, and chairs.

paul

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