Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 3:1-29; Matthew 7:1-12
Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. (Small Catechism: The Table of Duties: To Husbands)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. If you are a young man, odds are you’re not a husband just yet. And if you are a young lady, you will never be a husband. But consider these words, young men, as to how you are to love your wife the Lord gives you some day. And consider these words, young ladies, as a warning against the sort of man who would not treat you this way!
Husbands are supposed to love their wives and not be bitter toward them. That means no grousing, complaining, whining, talking behind her back, telling others how stupid she is, and so on and on. A husband is only supposed to ever speak good things about his wife. And he is only ever to speak good things to her. Never things that are bitter, that is, that cause her to be bitter, or cause her to hurt and to feel pain by what her husband says. That’s a tall order.
Yet consider Christ, the Bridegroom of the Church. He loves Her and is never bitter toward Her. He doesn’t abuse Her with harsh words of how stupid She is, or foolish, or sinful, or imperfect. He doesn’t point out the Church’s faults and blab to everyone else about how She fails to measure up. No, Christ only ever speaks well of His Bride. She is holy. She is spotless. She is blameless and blemish free.
Christ loves you (men and women) as His Bride, the Church. He loves you not by being bitter to you but by taking on the bitter. The bitter suffering and mockery, the bitter pain of the cross, the bitter gall that touched his lips, the bitter pain of death. All that bitterness, caused by our sins, our Lord undergoes in order to love you. To save you. To call you perfect and spotless in God’s sight.
Young men, you should love your wives like that! Husbands, you are to love your wives like that! But when you fail to, when you sin, then turn to Christ, who has made you His Bride in Holy Baptism, His Bride by His death and cross and preaching. And there, as His Bride, He loves you perfectly and forgives you. For your Bridegroom pours out no bitterness upon you but only His perfect and saving love. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O bride of Christ, rejoice; Exultant raise thy voice To hail the day of glory Foretold in sacred story. Hosanna, praise and glory! Our King, we bow before Thee. (O Bride of Christ, Rejoice, LSB 335:1)