Outdo One Another in Love

Cheryl Sin

We have a funny family story that we still laugh about, where one time my husband made meatloaf and our youngest son ate it and just emphatically raved at how delicious it was and asked me how I made this meatloaf so much better than every meatloaf I’ve ever made before. To which I very dryly replied ” thats because I didn’t make this meatloaf – dad did” and everybody got quite a laugh. Years later they’re still laughing. Honestly, the same could be said about any meal that my husband prepares, he is a terrific cook. It doesn’t matter though, even if it were fish sticks, who isn’t delighted to have a meal prepared for them?

As it is with many things in the Christian walk everyday events give me cause to stop and ponder the root of my intentions. The longer I walk with Christ the more clearly I see – thankfully – growth in committing less outward sins; yet, the inner man is sinful, though I may have a desire to be obedient to the Lord, the flesh is weak and I constantly falter. These things always make me return to the truth that the Lord is gracious in saving me, slow to anger, gentle with my weakness, loving and kind, forgiving transgressions and abounding in steadfast love.

A few days ago my husband returned home from the grocery store with some supplies to make burgers, and very excitedly showed me the items for the meal he was going to prepare. He showed me that he had even got some mushrooms just for me. He had purchased a very nice ground beef and asked if I could grind him some pork to add to the beef. Simple question and shouldn’t be a problem at all. Right? I take some pork and grind it up and quickly google best burger recipe to make sure I add as many ingredients as possible that I have on hand. Season the meat, throw the ground beef and pork in the mixer with an egg and some mustard, and voila. Just like that. I have achieved making a well seasoned disappointed husband. And I’m really confused.

First I feel unappreciated. I think to myself, doesn’t he see or care how hard I’m working? Which soon turns to indignancy, does he think I prepared it poorly? I am ‘trying’ to understand why he is disappointed. Questions running through my mind, why didn’t he just ask me to stop? Next time I should ask exactly what he would like done. Why didn’t he just tell me how he would have liked the meat to be seasoned? All of these questions really just put the blame on him. That’s when the Lord lays this question on my heart: Cheryl, are you not like Eve?

Just like Eve, I took the reins, I went above and beyond. Then when it didn’t go as I expected – hey, that is someone else’s fault. I’m trying to shift blame to anybody but me. I would blame the dog if I could. It occurs to me that I’m not angry. I’m actually just sad that I’ve disappointed my husband. My goal was to do a good job and streamline this burger making event. The truth is I was asked to grind some pork, plain and simple. I thought, am I not a disappointment to God daily? And I don’t mean that God doesn’t love me, or isn’t delighted in me…but, seriously, is God delighted when I sin continually? Definitely not. Does it please God that everything that I do is like filthy rags? No, and it is only that Jesus Christ bought me with the righteousness that he earned by living a perfect life and then taking His own righteousness and clothing me in it. God is delighted in me and that is because He sees on me the righteousness of His Son.

In the end, it turned out that my husband was never disappointed in me. He told me that he was sad that I had worked to prepare something that he intended to bless me by preparing himself. He intended to actually pamper me and give me an evening off of cooking dinner. Because I am such a one who is adorned in Christ’s righteousness, I am able to repent. I am able to not have indignant anger. I am able to have compassion, because my husband is patient and loving and kind and longsuffering. That even when I thwart his plans to make me delicious burgers with mushrooms (that he actually hates) and have robbed him of the blessing of preparing the meal he desired to prepare for me, he acts in love, and has sorrow that I’m hurt ( by my own actions).

I’m not saying that wrongly preparing hamburger meat is a sin. I’m not saying that my husband is God. He is the emblem of Christ over me in our home. I do see myself in Eve – one who also thinks that it is better to add to what I’ve been told. I see that in these things God is gracious and kind and patient with my transgressions. So is my husband, and I am thankful, and blessed.