As many of you know we are in the process of building a new barn. The barn is a pole-barn structure. According to our township ordinance, we have to dig and pour a concrete “rat wall.” This is a 4 inch thick by 24 in deep concrete barrier that goes underground from post to post. As the name suggests, it’s intended purpose is to keep varmints and rodents from burrowing underground into the barn. Our concrete guy says its pointless and it just makes him more money, but we have to do it.
It was a lot of work, too, to dig that rat wall. Anna gathered the nephews, nieces and friends, and they worked hard for a whole day digging that trench for the rat wall. We have a lot of clay to dig through, so it can really get exhausting doing all that digging.
But it got me to thinking. The concept of creating a barrier that keeps bad critters from coming in is certainly a good idea, at least in theory. Our 5 barn cats are probably the best “rat wall” we have, though.
In our marriages, we need to think of the barrier that must be created to help keep the Devil’s varmints from invading and destroying our space. The rat wall will take a lot of hard work, and we have to dig deep and sometimes it is exhausting to go through the effort. In the end, however, it’s worth all the hard work.
In order to put a good barrier down to critter proof your marriage from Satan’s rats, here are a few things we need in that rat wall.
We need honesty and openness.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
We need love.
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
We need forgiveness and freedom from bitterness.
Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.
See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Men, are you willing to dig deep with your wives and create an open and honest environment with them? Are you willing to pour that barrier of love that will protect against the biting and devouring rats of sarcasm, cynicism and cheap shots? Don’t we all need a good foundation of forgiveness and love to keep our hearts from becoming bitter from past hurts?
I may not be convinced that a rat wall is needed in a barn, but I certainly know we need to dig down a create a solid barrier in our marriages to shelter our precious and sacred relationship from the Devil’s critters.