Even though there is no way we can top yesterday’s post (at least I hope not!) I thought we’d keep the theme going and look at another dumb thing the HA teaches about marriage.
I can’t point to a particular audio recording, but I know I’ve heard this teaching multiple times (let me know if you’ve heard it too). It goes something like this:
“If you really want to get married, you are not ready to start a relationship. You should be totally content with the Lord and free of a desire for marriage – and then God will bring you a spouse.”
Let’s take a look at how this squares with Scripture. We might as well go back to where it all started, the first marriage in the Garden of Eden.
Every day of creation, God finishes his work, looks around and says, “This is good.” Then he creates man and puts him to work in the garden. But then he says, “This is NOT good.”
The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Gen. 2:18
If God was like Dave Hasz, He would have said, “Hey, Adam, you need to be content with me! Aren’t I enough for you?”
However, suprisingly, God recognizes that He alone is not sufficient to keep us from loneliness. He created us to be in intimate relationships together.
Let’s fast forward to the New Testament and see what Paul has to say about this.
But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. I Corinthians 7:9
Good thing Dave Hasz isn’t writing Scripture, otherwise this verse would say:
“But if they cannot control themselves, they should not marry because it just proves how immature they are. Instead they should seek contentment with the Lord and wait for Him to bring a spouse.”
This kind of ethic runs throughout TM, i.e. “If you really want something, it means that desire is from the flesh and you should deny yourself and lay that desire down.”
So, why is this a big deal? Surely, its an innocent theological disagreement and/or mistake.
Here’s why its a big deal:
1) If you embrace this kind of thinking, you are saddled with a perpetual feeling of never being good enough because everything you want is somehow bad, just because you want it.
This plays out not only in the marriage realm, but everything else as well. Some intern says, “I want to be a worship leader.” They might be immediately grilled about this desire – is it because they want to be up front? Are they driven by ego? Is this just their flesh?
Of course, those questions are not bad in themselves, but the way they are wielded is unhealthy and defeating. Instead of celebrating and encouraging an intern in the desires God has placed in their heart, they are grilled and confronted.
2) If you embrace this teaching, you become deathly afraid of making decisions. You are torn because you know what you want to do, yet you’ve been told that doing something because you simply want to do it somehow makes it bad. You want to pursue a particular career, or a particular relationship – yet you are paralyzed with fear over whether you will make a mistake and be out of God’s will or whether you will elevate that desire over God.
The truth is that God has created us with certain desires, passions and skills. It is not wrong to value those and to pursue them. In fact, I’d say its wrong to deny the way God created you. There is nothing in Scripture that encourages us to eliminate every desire we have, except our desire for God. Of course, God is to be top in our affections, but that does not mean that we have affections for nothing else. The goal to eliminate all desire is more akin to Buddhism than to Christianity.
As St. Augustine said, “Love God and do what you please.”