Theodore Roosevelt never pulled his punches! And you could never misunderstand exactly what he was saying. Check out my review of his autobiography by clicking here, and then enjoy some of these straight-shooter quotes from TR.
“With soul of flame and temper of steel we must act as our coolest judgment bids us. We must exercise the largest charity towards the wrong-doer that is compatible with relentless war against the wrong-doing. We must be just to others, generous to others, and yet we must realize that it is a shameful and a wicked thing not to withstand oppression with high heart and ready hand. With gentleness and tenderness there must go dauntless bravery and grim acceptance of labor and hardship and peril.”
“The necessity of character as the chief factor in any man’s success—a teaching in which I now believe as sincerely as ever, for all the laws that the wit of man can devise will never make a man a worthy citizen unless he has within himself the right stuff, unless he has self-reliance, energy, courage, the power of insisting on his own rights and the sympathy that makes him regardful of the rights of others.”
“I never won anything without hard labor and the exercise of my best judgment and careful planning and working long in advance.”
“For I then held, and now hold, the belief that a man’s first duty is to pull his own weight and to take care of those dependent upon him; and I then believed, and now believe, that the greatest privilege and greatest duty for any man is to be happily married, and that no other form of success or service, for either man or woman, can be wisely accepted as a substitute or alternative.”
“I did not then believe, and I do not now believe, that any man should ever attempt to make politics his only career. It is a dreadful misfortune for a man to grow to feel that his whole livelihood and whole happiness depend upon his staying in office. Such a feeling prevents him from being of real service to the people while in office, and always puts him under the heaviest strain of pressure to barter his convictions for the sake of holding office.”
“No man can lead a public career really worth leading, no man can act with rugged independence in serious crises, nor strike at great abuses, nor afford to make powerful and unscrupulous foes, if he is himself vulnerable in his private character. … He must be clean of life, so that he can laugh when his public or his private record is searched; and yet being clean of life will not avail him if he is either foolish or timid. He must walk warily and fearlessly, and while he should never brawl if he can avoid it, he must be ready to hit hard if the need arises. Let him remember, by the way, that the unforgivable crime is soft hitting. Do not hit at all if it can be avoided; but never hit softly.”
“I am glad to see wrong-doers punished. The punishment is an absolute necessity from the standpoint of society; and I put the reformation of the criminal second to the welfare of society. But I do desire to see the man or woman who has paid the penalty and who wishes to reform given a helping hand—surely every one of us who knows his own heart must know that he too may stumble, and should be anxious to help his brother or sister who has stumbled. When the criminal has been punished, if he then shows a sincere desire to lead a decent and upright life, he should be given the chance, he should be helped and not hindered; and if he makes good, he should receive that respect from others which so often aids in creating self-respect—the most invaluable of all possessions.”
“My duty was to stand with every one while he was right, and to stand against him when he went wrong.”
“We must ever judge each individual on his own conduct and merits, and not on his membership in any class, whether that class be based on theological, social, or industrial considerations.”
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Here are the links to the Scriptures he references:
Gary Thomas calls on husbands to not just love their wives, but to cherish them. It’s an admirable goal for all married men! Please check out my review of Cherish by clicking here. Below are a few more quotes I especially liked.
“Never forget: You married a spouse with natural weaknesses. You married a spouse with a history of hurt. We can be agents of healing redemption and acceptance in our marriage, or we can do further harm, perhaps unintentionally.”
“Of course, there’s no promise that if you persevere, you’ll get just what you’re hoping for. But the one certainty is that if you give up, you definitely won’t get it.”
“Every conversation—every one!—takes you closer to or farther away from a cherishing marriage. The Bible declares this truth: ‘The tongue has the power of life and death’ (Proverbs 18:21).”
“If we want our spouses to feel cherished, we may have to work at a few things we’re not so good at by nature.”
“Pam Farrel writes in several of her books that a wife often feels most loved when her husband is simply more curious about her. … It’s not enough to simply listen. We have to take the next step, engage, and go even further to say, ‘I want more. Tell me more.’ We have to maintain our curiosity. … Husbands, cherishing often isn’t about what your wife is saying; it’s about who is saying it.”
“Silence is often unintentionally malicious, so try to verbalize every positive thing you can think of.”
“A joyful person walking in grace and hope can cherish much more than one who is tangled up in the guilt that Christ died to remove. Our guilt serves no one. In Christ, our self-condemnation offends God; it doesn’t please Him. To walk in condemnation is to call God a liar and Christ’s work insufficient. One of the worst sins you can commit as a Christian is to define yourself by your sin. In the same way, one of the worst sins you can commit against your spouse is to always define them by their sin. Biblical marriage is about defining each other as Christ defines us—saved.”
“Your spouse has a unique history, so cherish your spouse by treating them according to their reality: They are living a life that has never been lived before. They have a personality that has never existed before. They have a unique blend of strengths and weaknesses, temptations and gifts, as well as a once-in-the-universe calling. Your role is to help them complete their one-of-a-kind story.”
“Never, ever, get to the point that you expect your spouse to never stumble. Otherwise, you won’t cherish them; you’ll resent them.”
“Stop comparing your spiritual maturity with your spouse’s; instead, start comparing your spiritual maturity with Ephesians 4:1–3. If you do that, you will change the climate of your marriage.”
“When someone pledges to be your spouse, that commitment alone should earn him or her the benefit of the doubt. Even when things may not look the best, seek understanding before you even think about censure. Cherishing our spouses doesn’t mean living in Fantasyland, but it does mean giving our spouses the benefit of the doubt instead of jumping immediately to accusation.”
To read the first set of quotes I shared from Cherish, click here.
God’s design for sex is truly the most beautiful thing that exists between two people. Its counterfeit is called pornography. Porn is simulated, imitated, and purchased; but no price tag can ever buy true beauty.
God demonstrates the purest love in Himself, when one part of the Godhead is the Lover and the other parts of the Godhead are the Beloved. The Lover is constantly discovering the beauty in the Beloved, and then praising that beauty. The Beloved then reciprocates back to the Lover. It’s a love dance!
Humans are created in God’s image. We are first created to be God’s beloved. Then we are designed to be both lover and beloved in the bonds of marriage. True beauty—real, lasting beauty that pleases God—is discovered. It’s something that starts inside and radiates outside. A true lover takes the time to discover who the beloved truly is.
To see this in action, just look at some of the compliments between husband and wife in the Song of Songs—How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! … How handsome you are, my lover! Oh, how charming! … Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens. … My lover is mine and I am his. … All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you.
True love that sees this kind of beauty cannot be imitated, purchased or simulated. If someone attempts to, it’s called pornography.
The dictionary gives this definition of pornography: sexually explicit materials whose purpose is to elicit sexual arousal. In other words, porn tries to imitate and simulate true beauty at a purchase price.
Jesus identified this sell-out of true love with the Greek word porneia (see Mark 7:14-23). This word means any sexual involvement outside the marriage between a husband and wife. Porneia comes from words that fill out its definition: things like prostitution, idolatry, and slavery.
Your body was not made for porneia but for God (1 Corinthians 6:13). You were made in His image: to be His Beloved, and He your Lover, and then to have a marriage relationship with another image-bearer of God, where you are both lover and beloved, and where you focus on true beauty.
Anything else is imitated, purchased, and simulated. It’s pornography. It’s idolatry.
Christians are told to fight many temptations, but there are only two that we are told not to fight, but to flee: pornography (1 Corinthians 6:18) and idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:14). So our prayer for the purity and enjoyment of God’s true beauty should be: Turn my eyes away from worthless things (Psalm 119:37).
Don’t sell out to the fake beauty in pornography. Discover true beauty exclusively in your spouse!
We’ll be looking at more relationship builders and killers, and I’d love to have you along for this journey of discovery.
“Religion which has no practical impact on our daily lives quickly becomes a vague, abstract notion that amounts to nothing. Yet many have nothing more than an empty profession to prove they are Christians. …
“A good Christian but a nagging wife, a godly man but a negligent father—these are contradictions that cannot be reconciled. The man who does not walk uprightly in his own house is nothing more than a hypocrite at church. If you are not a Christian in your shop, you are not a Christian in your closet—even though you may pray there.” —William Gurnall, in The Christian In Complete Armor
As I said in my book review of Gary Thomas’s Cherish, this is a must-read for married couples, those about to be married, and those who counsel married couples. Please check out my review, and then enjoy a few quotes from this book.
“Learning to truly cherish each other turns marriage from an obligation into a delight. It lifts marriage above a commitment to a precious priority.”
“In one sense, love is the nurturing aspect of marriage, while cherish is the ‘tasting’ aspect of marriage. Love meets the need; cherish tickles the tongue.”
“If you want to be fully satisfied in your marriage, if you want your wife to feel cherished, then mentally treat your wife like Eve. Let her be, in your mind, in that way, the only woman in the world. Say with King Solomon, ‘My dove, my perfect one, is the only one’ (Song of Songs 6:9 ESV).”
“You’ve already made your choice. In your ideal world, you have no intention of ever starting over with someone else, so why not put your energy into and your focus on guarding that choice, building on the strengths of that choice, and making yourself ever more grateful that you made that choice?”
“At some point, if you want marital happiness, if you want to learn how to cherish a real man instead of longing for an imaginary composite, some ‘Frankenstein’ husband who somehow has it all, then you have to own your choice and even learn to cherish your choice. ‘My vineyard, my very own, is for myself’ (Song of Songs 8:12 NRSV).”
“The call to cherish isn’t to appreciate being pleasured by your spouse but to take pleasure in the pleasure of your spouse.”
“If we want to cherish our spouses, we must learn to take an active interest in what interests them.”
“Cherishing is expressed, or it’s not. Intimacy is built, or it is assaulted, even in the most mundane marital conversations.”
“The act of consistently noticing and honoring our spouses cultivates and maintains a certain kind of relationship, and it shapes our hearts. Noticing and honoring sustain the force and power of cherishing. When we stop noticing and stop honoring our spouses in the little things, the relationship starves.”
“Active cherishing—noticing and then expressing the excellence you see—is a way to shape our attitudes and to generate feelings of closeness and well-being. When we do what the Bible tells us to do, we will be doubly blessed—our spouses will be happier, increasing the joy in our marriages, and we’ll become happier psychologically as well. Cherishing our spouses literally makes us feel better. So cherishing means waging war on contempt and going on the offense with gratitude.”
I will be sharing more quotes from Cherish soon. If you’d like to be notified when these quotes are posted, simply enter your email address in the field in the right column and click “Sign me up!” You may also want to follow me on Twitter and Tumblr for other quality quotes I post every day.
Time after time Peter calls Christians to live a counter-cultural lifestyle. The most countercultural example we have ever seen is Jesus Christ.
Peter shows us how Jesus—in the most excruciating situation possible—lived. Heading into the torture of crucifixion…
Peter then tells Christian wives and husbands they are to behave in the same way as Jesus. Wow!
More specifically Peter challenges Christlike wives to be:
Likewise Peter challenges Christlike husbands to be:
Here are two questions I think Christian wives and husbands need to seriously consider: Are you thinking about your role as a husband or wife in biblical terms or cultural terms? If you are thinking in cultural terms, are you willing to try it God’s way?
Our Christian marriages should be “alien” to the way the world operates; they should be counter-cultural. That kind of marriage is what points people to a relationship with Jesus!
The Apostle Peter uses an appropriate term for Christians living on Earth: “Aliens and strangers.” This means that those who call Jesus their Lord are to live a counter-cultural lifestyle. Not a lifestyle that changes with the popular culture, but one that stays true to God’s Word.
There probably has never been a more controversial subject in any day or culture than marriage and the relationship between the sexes. Why are these terms “controversial”? I suspect it is because we are naturally bent toward being pragmatic people.
In pragmatism, the outcome determines meaning. If I find something easy to do, convenient for me, and I seem to get applause from those around me, then what I did must be right. However, if it’s challenging to stick with something, and seemingly only a few people approve of how I do it, then it must be wrong. That is letting culture determine morality, instead of letting God determine it.
As Peter begins to address the topic of marriage, and the interaction between spouses, he uses two similar phrases—“Wives, in the same way … Husbands, in the same way (vv. 1, 7).”
In the same way as what? Actually, if you look at the five verses that come before this you will see that it’s not what but Whom. Those verses are talking about our example in Jesus. Peter points out that Jesus showed:
Pragmatism looks at God’s design and says, “Yes, I understand that, but….” Pragmatism tries to find an “out” or a “loophole” that let’s someone change a definition or skip out on doing something God’s way.
If anyone ever had the authority to say, “Yes, Father, I know what You want Me to do, but look how they’re treating Me” it was Jesus.
A wife with a difficult husband may want to say, “Yes, I know I’m supposed to submit to my husband, but….” A husband with a nagging wife may say, “Yes, I know I’m supposed to treat my wife with consideration and respect, but….”
But Peter says, “Wives and husbands, exhibit the same submission, longsuffering, servant-leadership, respectful behavior, mercy and forgiveness toward your spouse as Jesus exhibited toward you!”
So the question we need to ask is: Am I thinking about marriage—a husband’s role, a wife’s role—in counter-cultural biblical terms or in popular cultural terms?
If I find I am thinking culture’s thoughts, am I willing to try God’s way?
Join me next Sunday as we look at this passage again, and see how a wife and husband can love and serve each other in a God-honoring, counter-cultural way.