Monday, October 14, 2013

The Two Hopes

“There comes a time when our hope needs to be illuminated and made firm in truth and not darkened by the false misconceptions of our misconstrued reality, we can hopelessly create.”

Beloved, for the past four years I have been on an epic journey and this journey hasn’t always been bump free. What I have come to know and love, is being a transparent man: A man not withholding his struggles or his triumphs. For the past four years I have indeed experience growth to some degree and measure in every area of my life; some more than others but nevertheless growth is apparent. I have come to embrace the joys of reading and gaining knowledge and understanding from the books I am reading that aren’t merely books suggested, but they are books meticulously chosen that will shape every area of my life: mind, heart, body and soul.

I am finishing up yet another book (saying that is nothing short of a miracle as I have not always enjoyed reading books), and in the particular chapter I am currently reading, it tackles the truth of two hopes existing: One that doesn’t disappoint (Romans 5:5) and the other and most common in this day and age, the hope that makes the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12). In this particular chapter it is speaking about dating relationships that should be heading to committed marriages. In the moment of this reading, I do as I always do in reading and teaching, I look inward to myself, and place my life on the chopping block, and ask myself two candid questions:

1. Do you have the hope that does not disappoint or the hope that sickens the heart when it comes to your relationship?

2. Does the one you are in a relationship with have hope concerning you that does not disappoint or will sicken their heart?

Now Proverbs 13:12, states “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” I looked up the word deferred and it’s meaning shows the grim reality in having such a hope in that it’s meaning is: “To put off; not clearly defined or determined (i.e. The couple were dating for quite some time, and although the woman was hopeful her boyfriend would propose to her, his past actions not leading towards a future proposal and marriage, showed that her hope of marriage was deferred).

Having such a false hope will certainly make the heart sick and what are the signs of such a sick or sorrowful heart? Doubt in the relationship and it’s meaning. Friction leading to frustrations, arguments and ultimately separation. It can even lead to more severe outcomes, such as forced actions that aren’t desired such as giving into sexual demands in hope it will solidify a commitment and create an intimacy that was previously not present, even the one experiencing or both parties seeking what they aren’t getting or aren’t being fulfilled by, looking for it, in the arms of another without actually severing the current relationship but dragging it on now base upon lies, deceit, betrayal and further complications completely losing sight of hope and merely settling into a norm that will inevitably generate resentment.

Though the above is quite bleak and I have certainly been in such relationships and equally responsible for such heartache and pain there is still another hope that I have come to embrace, trust and rely on, and this hope does not disappoint. In Romans 5:5 it states, “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Now out of context the above still sounds good, but let us look to a wider view of this:

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:1-5 NKJV emphasis added).

Now taking in the fuller scope of Romans 5:5 of a non-disappointing hope, we see that the above hope explained in (Proverbs 13:12) reveals a false hope that human nature can easily fall prey to, however the hope defined so wonderfully in (Romans 5:1-5) reveals a hope not based upon human capabilities but upon God through the Lord Jesus Christ. This non-disappointing hope when pertaining to dating relationships will lead to any couple, being that of a man and a woman, to produce motives and actions defined by progressive movement, consistently showing a desire to commit in holy matrimony and it will not produce indefinite actions and motives; resembling hope deferred (false hope), in which will further be defined below.

This chapter I am reading in “Boundaries in Dating” further defines and highlights the nature of false hope defined in (Proverbs 13:12) and true hope in its completion in (Romans 5:5) in that, hope deferred, ‘is hope that never is realized and does not give life. It makes us sick and hopeless. It is a very good description of depression and giving up.’ This chapter further goes on to describe this heart sickening hope as being crazy, in that, the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome each time in which the authors speak of it as “when we hope and hope, and yet nothing happens and there is no reason to keep hoping other than hope itself, then despair settles in.”

This is a hopelessness anyone in a dating relationship ought to avoid and be aware of the tell tale signs or red flags being displayed that will show the dating relationship will never enter into the committed relationship of marriage. 

Now hope that doesn’t disappoint in a dating relationship reveals itself as leading into a committed relationship only known in marriage by ones past actions, being that, they have always whether in small or large measures always persisted towards the future of a committed relationship in holy matrimony. This is how the authors have put it, “The best predictor of the future, without some intervening variable, is the past.” The authors further explain that hope that doesn’t disappoint should be ‘based in reality. Hope that will not disappoint has to be grounded in something more than wishing. It has to be grounded in more than just wanting a person or a situation to be different. There has to be some reasons to believe that things are going to change’ (or progress forward from mere words to actions fulfilled).

Now based upon these two defining truths about false hope (not being definitive) that makes the heart sick, and true hope that doesn’t disappoint and breathes life continually into the relationship, you and I if we find ourselves in a dating relationship desiring marriage and being with someone who is equally desiring such a committed outcome, upon examining our present situation, we must ask ourselves this candid question: “Is our hope in this relationship leading to marriage reasonable or revealing a state of our crazy wishful thinking?”

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