When I am officiating a wedding, one of my go-to passages is this one from Ephesians. Of course, I discuss this extensively with the bride and groom during pre-marital counseling because, who are we kidding, they won’t remember much of what I say during the ceremony itself. Did you?
During our pre-marital discussions, my main point is this: Husbands, in that moment of frustration, or disappointment, or even anger, please remember your wife needs your unconditional love first and foremost—apart from her performance … especially in your eyes.
Wives, in those same moments, your husband needs your unconditional respect—apart from his performance … again, especially in your eyes.
Can I get an “Amen?”
Of course, the wife needs respect and the husband needs love, too. But God the Father knows how we are each designed, and so of course he knows our primary needs.**
But my point today is more about “apart from his or her performance … in your eyes.”
Is this not what we are all searching for … to be seen in a light most favorable, even when we mess up? You want your spouse to love you and respect you, and you want them to do so apart from your performance. We all do. Our hearts deeply yearn for this.
I add “in your eyes” because our spouse’s eyes are what matter most to us in that moment of conflict. That “look” can indeed kill the spirit in our hearts.
But your Heavenly Father’s eyes see you apart from your performance. Even when you do not deserve it. My performance typically lacks luster, certainly in the eyes of a perfect God. But I can rest in the assurance of his love for me, and his promise to always be with me, even until the end of the age, is not conditional on my performance.
What a monumental relief. With this promise I can rest, and you can rest, from performance mode, and find peace in pleasing our Father. Pleasing, not performance. Joy power not will power. Blessings not burdens.
(Remember though, I am not going soft on obedience: obeying God is essential to the life that is truly life. But I am going hard against judging eyes.)
If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. (Matt. 6:22-23)
A better reading is this: “When your eyes are generous, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are stingy and judgmental, your whole body will be full of darkness.”
If you want to live in the flow of the Kingdom among us, you will first receive this promise, that your Father views you with generous eyes, apart from your performance. And as you start to live with this promise, you will then seek to view your spouse, your children, indeed everyone, in a light most favorable, with bright and generous eyes—apart from their performance.
Don’t miss Next Week: God’s first covenant of “love apart from performance” with Abraham—and with you. Genesis 15
**You can read all about this in Dr. Emerson Eggerichs’ wonderful book, “Love & Respect.”