It’s never wrong to do what’s right. We’ve heard that phrase before, but is it true? Yes, it’s true; but the caveat is that even though we might change our behavior to “do what is right” we might not obtain a certain desired result. Yet, that doesn’t mean that we should give up and continue doing things that we shouldn’t. Some things might not change as a result, but others will.
It’s important to make that change. If for no other reason, you can at least look in the mirror and face God with a clearer conscience. Plus your life can be a living testimony that could inspire others to do what it is right as well. A positive ripple effect for future generations can occur instead of a negative one.
We receive e-mails each week from those who have gone through what most would call “insurmountable” problems (infidelity, out of control gambling, porn addiction, anger and communication issues, etc.). The good news is they came out on the other side with a stronger marriage than they ever thought possible. They would reaffirm your belief (as it has ours) that it’s never wrong to start doing what’s right.
Do What’s Right; It’s Not Wrong
Cindy and I (Steve) are also living examples of this. In our book, 7 Essentials to Grow Your Marriage, I shared my many years struggle to overcome a sex addiction that nearly destroyed our marriage. Even after I came to Christ, I experienced on again, off again purity, leaving me ashamed and frustrated. I prayed and I begged God to take away the temptation, and this went on for years. Then one day God gave me an A-Ha, moment.
I share in our book the full story/the process; the ups and downs over the years; the guilt and shame that got me to my A-Ha moment. But it basically came down to this: as I was crying out to the Lord (again) I finally came to the realization that God did, in fact, want to heal me; BUT He needed me to participate—to put the work into it. He then led me to the book, Every Man’s Battle: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time by Steve Arterburn and Fred Stoeker.
I can’t tell you why this made all the difference for me, but it just resonated with me. The simple principles such as “bouncing the eyes” and the need to have an accountability partner was the key to my deliverance. I had to do/follow a lot of other things from the book to get me to purity. As I said, I go into a lot more detail in our book.
Doing What’s Right
The point is I spent a lot of years wanting to do the right thing in our marriage; and there were times I wanted to give up. Fortunately, God wouldn’t let me. I believe that’s because He knew it’s never wrong to do what’s right.
Remember, God’s word exhorts us to “not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). It’s difficult to do what is right when we’re weary, and we don’t feel like it and don’t see immediate positive results. But again, it’s the right thing to do. And besides, we’ll never see the good if we don’t do what it takes to get there.
While the examples of this are endless, for the sake of brevity, we’ll focus on the example of doing what is right despite the feelings we may be experiencing to do something different.
You say, “I don’t have feelings for my husband/wife any longer. So even though I vowed to stay faithful, I don’t want to, nor should I, because I no longer love him/her. It would be hypocritical to go through the motions.” If you feel that way and you no longer want to try to make the marriage work (doing what’s right and what you vowed to do), then consider this:
“Love as distinct from ‘being in love’ is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity—maintained by the will and strengthened by habit. It’s reinforced by the grace, which both partners ask, and receive from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they don’t like each other; as you love yourself even when you don’t like yourself.” (C. S. Lewis)
We have to remember our feelings will lie to us. Whenever a “feeling” seems to run contrary to what God’s word says, then throw it out. And then get re-centered on what Biblical love looks like.
Love According to the Bible
“’Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. It never fails’” (1 Corinthians 13:7). “Love really is and does all of these things, simply and beautifully, when it’s given generously and without reserve. If you want your marriage to overflow with love, step back and take a close look in the mirror. If you want a situation to change, look to yourself first. The only person you have the power to change is you.” (Kim, from the article, “Love by the Book—8 Simple Ideas to Improve Your Marriage”)
Just like we can’t base our faith on feelings, we can’t base our marriage on the premise that we’ll always “feel” in love with our spouse. I can assure you that all of the years that I (Steve) suffered from low blood sugar (diabetic) reactions in the middle of the night, which forced Cindy to have to get up and get sugar for me so I would survive, she didn’t do it because she “felt” like it. She did it because she was committed to me, “No matter what!”
Scripture doesn’t say, “Love never fails as long as I have feelings for you.” It simply says, “LOVE NEVER FAILS” period.
Loving As God Loves
Henry and Richard Blackaby in their book, “The Experience,” share a few thoughts on this issue:
“The world gives love a staggering amount of attention. Love is presented as something to be ‘fallen into’ and ‘fallen out of.’ But there is no solution given for what to do when emotions (feelings) fails you and the warm fuzzies are gone —other than bailing out and starting over with someone else. You can recognize worldly love by how unpredictable it is.
“The Bible offers a different kind of love. This love says I’m committed to act lovingly toward this person (husband/wife) regardless of how I feel. You’ll be able to recognize biblical love: It is patient, unselfish and loyal.”
They then go on to say:
“If we’re not careful, Christians can begin to adopt the world’s way of loving instead of God’s. The world says, ‘Love is a feeling. When you stop feeling love for someone it means you no longer love them.’”
“We would all agree that as followers of Christ we’re supposed to follow His standard for loving people rather than the worlds, right? Can you imagine that when Jesus saw us hopelessly enslaved to sin, he would have said, “I don’t FEEL like dying on a cross for them; I think I’ll wait until the feeling comes.” He didn’t say, “I’ve tried and tried to love them; but they always reject me. So I give up!”
This is how God wants us to love our spouses. It’s not with strings attached, as the world loves. It’s not just as long as they’re lovable. And it’s not just as long as they appreciate it. God wants us to give our love freely—just as He has for us.
So, if you’ve become hung-up on feelings, remember this: It’s never wrong to do what’s right; and one of the first things you can implement is “it’s easier to ACT your way into a better way of feeling than to FEEL your way into a better way of acting.” In other words, “Love isn’t just a feeling; it’s attitude in action.”
If we’re going to be committed to do what’s right we’ll also have to be committed to grow in maturity. After 49+ years of being married to Cindy I am still on a “growth track” to mature. A long time ago I realized that I will never “arrive” at full maturity.
I remember as a young Christian the first time I read Matthew 5:48. It reads: “Be ye perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect…” I nearly freaked out. I thought, how in the world could I ever achieve that level of perfection in myself. Then I talked with my pastor. He explained, “You can’t achieve that level of maturity. But God wants us to continually pursue maturity as a Christ-follower. That way we’ll never be content with mediocrity in our faith-walk.” So, that has been what I have strived for—both in my personal faith and my marriage to Cindy. I think Jill Savage illuminates it well in what mature love looks like in her article, “Love as a Verb.”
“Immature love is a noun. It’s a thing we long for—a feeling. It’s an expectation of what someone will do for us. But mature love is verb. It’s an action we take, a decision. It’s a choice to do something for someone else.
“Unfortunately, too many of us have yet to mature in our love. As a result our relationships bear the scars of that fact. But it’s not too late to grow up. And if we want our love to last a lifetime, we can’t afford to keep believing that love is a noun. The feeling of love is short-lived. We have to transition to understand that long-lasting love is really a verb.”
She went on to say:
“The most frequently quoted Bible verse at weddings is 1 Corinthians 13, which is often referred to as the ‘love chapter.’ It says that ‘Love is patient; love is kind. It does not envy; it does not boast, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, not self-seeking, is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails.’
“It wasn’t until just a few weeks ago that I realized that every time love is mentioned in this often-quoted verse, it is a verb. The most interesting thing, however, is a less often quoted part of the verse. It says, ‘When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, and I reasoned like a child. But when I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.’ So, love has to grow up. It has to mature.”
It’s Never Wrong…
I’ve tried to be transparent with you about my/our own journey. Through the years I’ve learned it’s Never Wrong to Do What’s Right. It may be too late to do some things. Their expiration date may be long past. But it’s ALWAYS right to start doing what is right—even if other people don’t agree. There is no expiration date on that. This may mean you have to deal with sin(s) in your life. You’ll need to put your feelings in perspective. And then you’ll need to be devoted to developing a mature love. Get into God’s Word—the Bible to learn how to truly love. Become a student of God’s love and of marriage. Here’s an example from Ephesians 5:1-2:
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.“
In The Message it reads:
“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that.”
Yes, love like that! We would never tell you this will be easy. However, it WILL be worth every effort you put into it! It’s never wrong—especially in God’s eyes, to do what’s right.
Our prayer every week is to give you something you can take away and apply to your marriage—to help it grow and mature.
Steve and Cindy Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
To help you further, we give a lot of personal stories, humor, and more practical tips in our book, 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage. We hope you will pick up a copy for yourself. (It’s available both electronically and in print form.) Plus, it can make a great gift for someone else. It gives you the opportunity to help them grow their marriage. And who doesn’t need that? Just click on the linked title or the picture below:
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