1. the New England Patriots would lose
2. the Denver Broncos would lose
3. Both the Patriots and the Broncos would lose.
The reason for those wishes was because I did not want to endure another "Marital Discord Weekend," or MDW. You see, I am a Broncos fan and my wife is a Patriots fan. So, although we are united in virtually every aspect of our lives together, this is an arena where our affections are directed in very different directions.
These weekends have always been particularly hard on me for two reasons. First, because in my formative years, I built a strong allegiance to the Broncos and living vicariously through my team, I died many times in crushing Super Bowl defeats in the late eighties. Second, the Broncos have too often been on the short end of the stick in these weekends.
MDW's are pretty rough on me. They expose sin and idols in my heart in ways that other circumstances seldom do.
- There is idolatrous identification with a (piddly) sports team that dwarfs my identification with Christ
- There is too much pride in my heart when my team wins, and too much shame when they lose, because I fear what people will think of me.
- There is the sin of jealousy that resents the number of championships that the Patriots have one in the last 14 years since I got married. The Patriots have won 3 of 5. The Broncos have won 0 of 0.
- There is the sin of selective memory, because if you go back 16 years, the Broncos are 2 of 2 in Super Bowls.
When I am in the midst of a MDW, my sin is exposed, and it rises to the surface unlike anything else. The big question for me is: "Is MDW crucible or a cupel?"
You see, both a crucible and a cupel are ceramic dishes that can withstand the high heat of a furnace. But a cupel is a porous ceramic cup that will absorb the impurities in the material in the furnace, making the the material more pure.
If MDW is a cupel, then I am better for having gone through the weekend. If it is a crucible, then I have a lot of pain, and I am just as bad afterwards as before.
I wanted to avoid MDW, because it is painful for my heart. I don't like having to confront my sin, and have be ashamed. But, if MDW can be a cupel in my life to make me more pure and sanctified, then bring it on!!
I pray that this MDW will be a cupel. I pray that I will fight to see my sin when it is exposed, and I further pray that I will confess my sin that I see. Finally, I pray that by the grace of God I will repent of my sin, and that I will not return to it ever again.