There is a Dead Fish on my Wall

There is a Dead Fish on my Wall
By David Jones, Executive Director

There is a dead fish hanging on the wall in my office. His name is Ralph. We met over 40 years ago and except for a few nicks in his tail, he has stood the test of time better than my self. He appears the same as he did when I caught him in my favorite fishing hole. But appearances can be deceiving because he is dead. The taxidermist did a great job of preserving him but nonetheless he is dead. There is nothing fish-like about his insides, his eyes are made of glass and he even lacks a fishy smell.

Ephesians 1:19-20 (NKJV) 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,

This past Easter service my pastor reminded us that the same power it took to raise Christ from the dead is the same power it took to save us from our spiritual death. That’s an amount of power that my mind can just not conceptualize. His power doesn’t stop with raising us from the dead but it can and does work into the other dead places in our lives. When I meet with couples who have had their marriage destroyed by sexual sin, I often tell them their marriage is dead and they need to take time to grief it. I am not telling them to get a divorce. I’m telling them that the plague of sexual sin has spread like a cancer through their old marriage and it has become terminal. If the conversation ended here then there would never be any hope and encouragement to continue. The good news is God’s power that raised Christ from the dead and you and I from spiritual death can also raise up a new and living marriage. Many Christian marriages today are like my friend Ralph. The look alive, hung around for 40 years (sorry bad pun), nothing on the inside and don’t stink. There is an old phrase that declares your “secrets will make you sick.” Marriages that carry the secrets of sexual sin only become sicker and eventually terminal. We fear sharing these secret struggles because others will smell the stink and mess of my sin and we all know nobody likes messy and smelly situations in the church. Unlike my dead fish, marriages can truly be made anew and alive again but only if we take the right steps.
Here are just a few steps that might help the church to deal with dead marriages. First, as individuals and as a body of believers let us know and recognize God can make alive what is dead. Let us become the church that says we can handle smelly and messy marriages and we will stand and encourage with the message of Truth and Grace. Secondly, if your marriage is carrying the secret plague of sexual sin then know it will die if you do not seek His healing touch. That healing begins with honesty. Find a safe believer and be honest about your struggle. My fish friend didn’t have much of a chose about ending up dead and on my wall. The marriage that is struggling and heading toward death does have a chose. Choose today to bring your secret sins before His loving touch. Not only can Christ handle the stink of your sin but He also became and paid for that specific sin. Don’t let your marriage become like my dead fish hanging on my wall.
If you or someone you love is struggling with the effects of sexual and relational sin then give us a call or go to our web site for avenues of hope and healing.

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About David Jones

David is a Memphis native and lives with his wife of 25 years and two children. David has a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of Memphis. He has worked in mental health for over 30 years with adolescents and adults in inpatient, outpatient, and residential settings. For the past 15 years David’s primary focus has been working with men and their spouses in intensive sexual addiction workshops.

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