Exposing or ignoring the ignominious blemish in our husbands

Our pastor is going through Jonah. It’s a great series. Naturally I got interested in reading Moby Dick, the Great American Novel, by Herman Melville.

I’m to the part in Moby Dick where narrator Ishmael is signed and shipped aboard the Pequod. They are about to set off from Nantucket in search of whales for their oil, which at the time, lit the world.

The character of Ishmael, who is ‘narrating’ this whale story, waxed philosophical about a particular quality in chief mate Starbuck, namely, his courage. Ishmael spent a good while extolling it, called practical, since mere man will soon face leviathan in his own element, the rolling deeps of the great cetacean.

At this point in his introductions, Ishmael said of Starbuck,

But were the coming narrative to reveal in any instance, the complete abasement of poor Starbuck’s fortitude, scarce might I have the heart to write it; for it is a thing most sorrowful, nay shocking, to expose the fall of valour in the soul. Men may seem detestable as joint stock-companies and nations; knaves, fools, and murderers there may be; men may have mean and meagre faces; but man, in the ideal, is so noble and so sparkling, such a grand and glowing creature, that over any ignominious blemish in him all his fellows should run to throw their costliest robes. That immaculate manliness we feel within ourselves, so far within us, that it remains intact though all the outer character seem gone; bleeds with keenest anguish at the undraped spectacle of a valor-ruined man.

The paragraph reminded me of the verse from 1 Peter:

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8).

It’s wedding season. Marriages are vowed before God and two become one. Wives, the Bible says, love your husband and submit to him. (Ephesians 5:22, Titus 2:4). Though Christians are saved and our souls have been regenerated, your man will still sin. When they do, –

that over any ignominious blemish in him all his fellows should run to throw their costliest robes

Wives, are we hesitant to expose the ignominious blemish? Do we rush to our brothers, husbands, fathers, to cover it with our costliest robes? Or do we grumble about it on Facebook? Complain to our friends? Manage to get in a snark through some backhanded compliment? “After 20 years, the hubs finally bought me some roses! Way to go hon!”

The undraped spectacle of a valor-ruined man is felt so keenly by the husband himself, yet the disagreeable wife sets up a neon arrow pointing to it. The agreeable wife rushes to cover with her costliest robe.

Love covers a multitude of sins. As far as possible, wives, overlook insults and injuries, and be ready to forgive him. It’s hard. Injustices and insults pile up and our natural flesh will want to rebel. (Genesis 3:16). Resist this.

love covers

It is easy to get married. It is hard to make a marriage. One difference you can make, wives, is determining which path you’ll take on behalf of your husband: rush to expose? Or rush to cover?

Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins. (Proverbs 10:12, KJV) – Barnes Notes says: First hides, does not expose, and then forgives and forgets all sins.

Women, what say you? Can you do it?

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Nautical Trivia

Trivia #1: In old mariner lingo an unlucky sailor is called “a Jonah”.

Trivia #2: Wikipedia says the ‘coffee chain Starbucks was named after Starbuck, not due to any affinity for coffee, but because the name “Pequod” was first rejected by one of the co-founders’.

Trivia #3: Starbuck was an important name in whaling being a prominent whaling family from Nantucket. Starbuck Island in the South Pacific is named for this family.

Trivia #4: from American Whaling:

The stench of processing whales was so strong a whale ship could be smelled over the horizon before it could be seen. Crewmen on American whaleships came from all over the globe. Their work was hard, dirty, smelly, dangerous, lonely, and poorly paid, but some still liked it better than their prospects ashore.

5 thoughts on “Exposing or ignoring the ignominious blemish in our husbands

  1. Pingback: Saturday Sampler: June 18 — June 24 – The Outspoken TULIP

  2. It’s now brought to my mind, and pierces my heart with great remorse, that the same cloak we’ve thrown over the husband should surely have been thrown over family members who have offended/wounded us so deeply. You are correct, dear Elizabeth, “love covers a multitude of sins.” The pain subsides when we begin the process of quietly forgiving the offender(s) before God. Otherwise, the pain multiplies and grows disproportionately when we keep the offense and offender dangling over the pit of our “how dare you?”

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