Monday, June 19, 2017

#31: Relationship Idolatry

What follows is a story I shared in the context of teaching a Bible study on forgiveness and relationships. Even in the midst of losing an important relationship, God may be able to teach us something so that we may draw nearer to him.

"Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Exodus 20:3
"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." Matthew 6:24

Susan married a man whom she considered better than herself. She had poor self-esteem from her childhood, and wrong decisions in her young adult life made it even worse. When she found someone whom she considered "good" who loved her, she based her worth on his opinion of her.
She married the man and trusted him implicitly, believing everything he said about life, principles, and even God and the Bible. She put him on a pedestal. Then, when he left her after several years of marriage, Susan was shattered to the point of feeling suicidal. Susan had made her husband her idol; she valued his opinion more than God's.
Idolatry is like spiritual adultery; it is loving someone or something more than God. God says Susan is forgiven for whatever she has done wrong, but her husband, by rejecting her, showed unforgiveness. Susan, therefore, did not feel truly forgiven. Her husband's rejection would not have been so devastating had she not put him in God's place in her life. If her husband, knowing everything about her, rejected her, then how could God truly accept her? Obviously, her self image was based more on what her husband thought of her than what God thought of her.
When another person is given the position that only God should have in our lives, many things can happen. When Susan idealized her husband, she put an unbearable burden on him. She subconsciously expected him to be godlike – – perfect, incapable of failure, able to know and fulfill her every need. He was her all in all – – husband, father, and even savior. No human can withstand those types of expectations; he is a failure just by being human. Being someone else's everything is too much pressure.
If you have allowed the rejection of another to shake your faith, to separate you from God, to deeply damage your own self image, then perhaps you have placed that person above God in your life. Tell God about it; ask him to reveal to you His truth.

Lord, I confess that I have been guilty of idolatry, that I have put someone or something else ahead of You. I ask You to forgive me and to take first place in my life. I accept what You say that I am: fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and precious in Your sight. Father, take away any hidden idols in my home or in my life – – anything that would keep my loyalty from You or stand in the way of our relationship. Thank You for revealing these blind spots in my life and for cleansing me from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)

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