Sunday, September 28, 2008

Decision Paradigm

Candy at Keeping the Home last Friday posted "Do you feel depressed, lost, or confused." There were numerous doctrine issues in the post I could comment on, but the comment Candy received from Sandi, and Candy's response, really caught my eye as an illustration of the problems of decision theology and legalism.

I am depressed, but I am saved also. My trouble is my DH is saved but does not do what is required from a husband. For 10 years he has been talking about doing everything for the lord, but his actions do not correlate with his words. The man is supposed to be the leader AND provider of his family. Yet, his job situation does not provide adequately for my family of six. The bills barely get paid, and my growing children are often hungry. We can't afford doctor or dental visits so I have to try to diagnose the children myself and make homemade cures if they are afflicted with something. I pray to be relieved of financial have the ability to feed,cloth,buy shoes,and take care of them medically without feeling I am "splurging" to cover their basic needs. Ten years is a LONG time to wait for my husband to provide this. He is talented in many areas and could get a steady job that would ease our money issues, but I am beginning to wonder if he is just too selfish. So, while sit and I pray for deliverance from my husband's apathetic interpretations of his christian duties I am making a sparse lunch for my 4 children as he is eating out at Taco Bell. Depressed? YES! - Sandi

Problem 1: In decision theology once the choice has been made to follow Jesus, sinful behavior is replaced by producing fruits of the spirit (good works). That is how one determines if one is truly saved or not saved. Sandi's husband is "saved" yet seemingly not producing the good works - this is a conundrum.

Oh Sandi, your poor, poor husband. Is this how you treat him? You shouldn't talk down on him to other people. Proverbs 31:26 says that "she openeth her mouth in kindness."Your words were not kind towards your husband, they were those of the contentious, or odious woman.Proverbs 31:11-12:" 11The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.12She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life."You are not doing your husband good this way, and speaking and thinking of your husband this way does not allow his heart to trust in you.Sandi, you are spoiled. You have a roof over your head. You have food in your pantry, you have clothes on your back. There are ladies your age in other countries that live in a one-room house, with a dirt floor. They don't have any of the conveniences you do.You can't buy much food? Then buy better food. A pound of black beans costs around a dollar. A pound of lentils, split peas, and pintos are even cheaper.Legumes mixed with brown rice is some of the most filling, delicious (if you cook it right) and healthy foods you and your children can eat.10# of potatoes costs around 3 dollars. At stores like Aldi's you can get celery and carrots for just .99 cents.If your situation is really dire, then visit a food bank for help. Your local church will help direct you to a food bank.Don't have nice clothes for your children? Then visit Good Will, or sew some yourself.You envy your husband for eating at Taco Bell? Poor man! Why aren't you packing healthy lunches for him to eat instead?Can't afford dental and healthcare? Then pinch those pennies, and put your trust in God. Feed your children right, and you won't need a lot of dental and healthcare. One of my children recently came back from a dental checkup, and he had no cavities. In fact, none of my children have EVER had any cavities, and I plan on keeping it that way.I believe your husband is trying hard to be a good Christian, but his helpmeet (you) are letting him down. He may just be where God wants him to be right now. Maybe the situation will become more dire before it gets better. Maybe there is a lesson here for YOU to learn - not him. - Candy

Problem #2: In decision theology, if things aren't working, the answer is to make better decisions. Try harder. Sin can be stopped if you only work at it.

Problem #3: Legalism replaces mercy. Jesus repeatedly pointed out the hypocrisy of the Pharisee's unwillingness to show mercy if it meant violating the law. Decision theology is loaded with "do's and don'ts" lists. In this case the "law" is that of wifely submission and Sandi is shown no mercy, yet her husband is.

I have a very dear friend who was in a situation almost identical to Sandi's. My friend kept trying and trying to make ends meet while her husband couldn't keep a job and mismanaged their money. It was heartbreaking to witness. She stood by him through repossessions, bankruptcy and foreclosure. Sadly, he eventually deserted her and their children, leaving them homeless and broke.

Sue Bee's "Lutheran" advice: Seek counseling and keep praying. We are broken humans living in a broken world, men & women alike. Sometimes we need the help of professionals, whether they be marriage counselors or financial planners. We don't do things perfectly, that is why God sent us a Savior. Forgive the trespasses of the past and work together on a realistic budget and financial goals with your husband.



Anonymous said...

You would be a little more gentle than I would.

1 Tim 5:8 If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

If her husband is not providing, he is in sin. Period. (Obviously if there's a valid reason for not, then not)

Follow Matthew 18.

Confront the sin. You are not providing for your family and you are not providing the leadership that a Godly man provides.

Take 2 or 3 with you. Let them serve as witnesses.

Take it to the board of elders. Let them warn him, then treat him as an unbeliever.

This scenario is pointed at repentance and restoration. Both the sin and the process has Scripture behind it.

sara said...

agreeing with and adding to Ellen's comment, I'd wonder why the church is not helping this woman and her children.

Thursday's Child said...

I'm sure there are things she could do to make their money stretch further, but you can only do so much.

I'd tell him to either get off his fanny or I'm getting a job. If he's one who's dead-set against it, maybe it would get his rear in gear.

Sue Bee said...

(Grrr! Blogger ate my comment! No fair eating my comment on my own blog!)

Thank you for your thoughtful replies - such smart ladies you are! There are many ways to look at the issue and many possible solutions.

When my friend told me the story of how her marriage fell apart, I realized what happened to her could happen to me. Could happen to any marriage.

Desertion. Death. Divorce. Disability. Disease.

So many D words we can't prepare for. As women who aren't the primary breadwinners we are in a vunerable position financially. Women like Sandi especially so.

Sue Bee said...

(Now it ate the bottom of my comment!? What's the matter!)

As women who aren't the primary breadwinners we are in a vunerable position financially. Women like Sandi especially so.

(Ok...did we get it all this time??)

Sue Bee said...

Ok, now it's all there. Finally.

Blogger is not playing nice tonight!