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Ethics & Religion
March 29, 2020
Column #2,016
Use Covid-19 To Deepen Your Marriage
By Mike McManus

This morning before our daily activities began, I read Scripture and a commentary about it to my wife. With millions of moms and pops at home due to Covid-19, I suggest they consider a similar strategy of using this new time together to study and discuss the Bible.

It will enrich your lives - and certainly, your marriage.

The commentary I read is taken from a quarterly publication, Encounter With God. published by Scripture Union. It is called "A guide for meeting God daily in his word."

In a time of uncertainty, with new hours couples suddenly have together - it is easy to become irritated with one another.

My church and most others have shut down at the request of government. That leaves church members - indeed, all of us - with more time on our hands. The question is how can that time best be used? I am suggesting that you consider going to for a daily 10-12 verses of Scripture combined with a commentary about those verses.

The good news is that this is free!

You don't even need a Bible - only your I-phone.

For example, the reading for March 24 was I Peter 3:8-22. Its headline is "Suffering for Doing Good." Peter writes, "All of you be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil, or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing...

"Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."

Scripture Union offers a commentary on these verses: "Peter tells us exiles how we are to relate to other in general. How we behave and speak does matter - for our own happiness and for our public witness. The five qualities we are to live out - to be like-minded, sympathetic, loving, compassionate and humble are like five fingers connected to each other and radiated out from the palm of God's grace, given freely to us."

With the extra time we have, we can become annoyed with each other. However, by setting aside only ten minutes a day to explore core biblical ideas, we can grow together toward the Lord.

Peter suggests how we exiles should relate to others in general. How we behave and speak does matter-for our own happiness and for our public witness. The ?ve qualities we are to live out-to be like-minded, sympathetic, loving, compassionate and humble-are like ?ve ?ngers connected to each other and radiated out from the palm of God's grace, given freely to us

The ?rst, "like-minded," is variously also translated "live in harmony with each other" and "be agreeable." It seems particularly addressed to our relationships as brothers and sisters in the church. The others could also apply at work or home or in the general community. They illustrate the nature of the God who is remaking us into his image.

The psalms are useful reminders that, even when we enjoy God's favor, life will not always work out comfortably for us. Jesus is the model, and we are reminded that, although doing things the way the Creator planned works for our good, it may also include suffering Our baptism is a reminder that we identify with the risen Lord and receive his continued attention and support.

Peter wrote, "Whoever would love life and see good days, must keep his tongue from evil, and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."

Blessing others should be a way of life for Christians. As you see someone approach you today or you get a message from them, silently pray God's blessing on them.

Why not use the new time we have with each other to deepen our walk with the Lord? You might even build in time to share core Scripture and commentary from Scripture Union with your children.

I would close with this prayer: "Lord, Your people are grati?ed to be reminded that Your eyes are upon us and Your ears are open to our prayers."


Copyright (c) 2019 Michael J. McManus, a syndicated columnist and past president of Marriage Savers. To read past columns, go to www.ethicsandreligion.comm. Hit Search for any topic.


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