Thesis 23: Mawage Bwings Us Togedder

This post is part of a series of meditations on each of Luther's "95 Theses." You can view all posts in the series here.

23. If it is at all possible to grant to any one the remission of all penalties whatsoever, it is certain that this remission can be granted only to the most perfect, that is, to the very fewest.
Marriage is simultaneously the most difficult and the most amazing thing I have done or ever will do.

I feel like I say that with relative frequency, especially to engaged couples or newlyweds, but rarely do I mention it in public, or explain what I mean at all when I say it.

Let's start with the fact that I'm a fuck-up.

It pains me to think that the church once thought that "the remission of all penalties whatsoever" was due "only to the most perfect, that is, to the very fewest." Through my first semester in seminary, I'm coming to understand Wesley's concept of perfection not as one of an absolute state, but as a verb, as something we continually strive towards by using varying means of grace. It is this grace of which I am in constant need in my relationships with others, particularly in the ones that mean the most to me. What I am always having to learn is that it is actually through my imperfections that I take small steps towards perfection.

The gorgeous irony of the Christian walk is that it is precisely our weaknesses that trampoline us to strength. 

Conflicts arise in a marriage, probably more than in other relationships because of the consistent attempt towards deeper intimacy. It is what is done with this conflict that determines what happens next. And when conflict occurs, is pointed at, is wrestled with, and both parties determine mutual ways of using it for growth, that's where the amazing part happens. A weakness becomes a strength. An argument transforms into a way of making deeper peace. A fear becomes a glowing center of pride and safety.

May we not avoid the conflicts, the differences of opinion, the tough conversations. May we counterintuitively embrace them as utterly human means of grace.


Original image by snomi on DeviantArt. Used under Creative Commons license.


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