No Longer Slaves to Sentimentality
Would a woman preparing for marriage wear a white dress on their wedding day?
When the day comes, we know they don’t stand up in front like tin soldiers with “Here Comes the Bride” playing, but instead they would be sitting here in our midst wearing their wedding dress and laughing. Maybe even having a food fight and getting it on their wedding dress. :) Even without a wedding we could all wear tuxedos and sit here eating breakfast, just for the fun of it if we wanted to. We could if we wanted to, right? Yes, because we’re not afraid of anything. We’re not bound by the traditions of men. “We can use the things of the world without being used by them,” as Paul put it.
So I would say most of our young ladies who have gotten married have worn the stuff, but it’s just for fun. It’s like little girls playing dress-up. All of our little girls will wear pioneer clothing or Japanese clothing because it’s fun. So our little girls, when they get a little older, sometimes they play dress-up and wear a white gown for the day. But we’re not bound by it. It doesn’t mean anything.
Here’s another illustration of the point: I’m not afraid to have a tree in my front yard, but I’m not going to kill a perfectly good tree and put it in my living room with lights on it. :) I’m not afraid of the tree if it happens to have a point on the top, but I’m not going to hang little lights on it just because the world says I’m supposed to. If I really love Jesus am I going to put lights on a tree? And what does a white dress really have to do with somebody making a covenant with another human being for his or her earthly life? What does that have to do with it? I’m not afraid to have a pointy tree in the front yard as long as it’s there in July and September and it’s there next year and the year after. I don’t have anything against trees, but I’m not going to use that tree to pretend it has something to do with anything important. And the white dress is okay. It can be a good memory. But we’re not slaves to sentimentality.
I can tell you a story, and things like this have happened several times now. I knew a young lady who was going to give her life to Jesus and she had a fairly young baby in her life. She also had a lot of terrible tragedy in her life. She was going to give her life to Jesus and she said, “I want to give my life to Jesus, but I can’t.” We said, “Why not? What do you mean you can’t?” She said, “Because I want to see my little girl grow up to have first communion and wear the white clothing and walk up the aisle with her little white bible. And so I’m not going to give my life to Jesus, because I want to see my little girl be a Catholic and have her first communion.”
That lady was a slave to sentimentality, and she was willing to give her soul to the devil out of slavery to sentimentality! Sentimentality is a dangerous thing. It’s important that we weigh everything and not just assume that “Everything is okay because the world always does it, so it must be okay.” Paul said we can eat the food sacrificed to idols, but do it carefree and joyously and don’t give it much thought. Don’t talk about it. Just whatever you do—do it, but don’t get caught up in it.
And it’s the same thing with marriage or other things. What is the real issue in marriage? It’s a covenant bond and vows before God and man. That’s the point about marriage and not the sentimentality. We’ve got plenty of time to make memories, but it’s memories out of Love, not memories out of form and ritual. That’s the difference. We make real memories that are Living, Moving, and Changing. They’re memories that are unique to us.
We don’t line up like a bunch of tin soldiers to have the same memories that everybody else does. If you flip through the typical wedding book, you could just stick different faces on the pictures, because it’s all exactly the same thing. All the little guys are lined up and all the little girls are lined up and there are little children with their rings and their flowers. All you do is just change the faces in the pictures! Are we just going to be like the pagans and duplicate? No!
I want to make Real memories that are unique and special that God Himself has birthed—new memories that are unlike anyone else’s memories. And then He does the same thing for my son and my daughter and my neighbors. We all share on the canvas that God is painting with all these different colors rather than what we are “supposed to do.”
Otherwise, we feel like we are failures or we are missing something. “Oh, poor me, I didn’t have a honeymoon.” What’s a honeymoon? What does that mean, exactly? And why do I have to have one? That’s like x-mas when someone gives you a gift and you HAVE to go buy one for them, otherwise you feel guilty. Or, you buy someone a gift and then you’re mad because they didn’t buy one for you. Pagans are slaves to sentiment and to externals. If I give a gift, it’s because I want to give a gift! I don’t want to trade gifts with you. And I don’t want to do it because there is a pointy tree in the living room. I want to do it because I love you on a Thursday in June.
It’s hard to take off the clothing of men’s expectations and the rituals and the brainwashing we’ve been injected with our whole lives and just take a step back and be free to make our own decisions about all these things.
In the New Testament Jesus still lived in a Jewish world, right? He hadn’t died yet. There was the blood of sheep on the doorpost during Passover, but there was no blood from the Messiah yet spilled. So it was an old covenant. He was a Jew; He was not a Christian. Until there was the blood of the New Covenant, there was no new covenant because that’s how a covenant is born, is by the blood of the firstborn. There was no new covenant. There was no Christianity until the blood of the firstborn was shed. So show me in the New Testament—after Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection—how anybody was ever a slave in the “Christian world” to wearing certain clothing at certain times and observing certain holidays and seasons. There’s this ever-increasing growth and freedom that says, “I won’t be a slave to sentimentality.”
I’m not afraid of having fun. I’m certainly not afraid of being emotional. I’m as emotional as any male you’ll ever meet. I cry all the time. I’m very sentimental, but I’m not a slave to anything external. I want every tear from my eye to be born out of something real that happened just now, instead of something that someone is expecting of me, or what I want, or what others have and I don’t have.
The white dress doesn’t make me cry. I think the white dress has actually made many people a slave. “Oh, it has to be just right and it was Grandma’s white dress.” Well, Grandma is in hell right now. So why do I need to have her ring, her necklace, and her white dress? She’s in hell. She never gave her life to Jesus. She is burning in hell right now. Do I really need to wear her white dress?
Sentimentality makes us slaves. We become blind with traditions and sentiment. Am I afraid of wearing her dress? No! But do I neeeeeed to wear her dress? No way! She’s in hell. Let’s be real about it. Let’s not lie at her funeral. She was a nice lady, but she never gave her life to Jesus. Therefore, she is burning in hell with satan and his angels. It’s a fact like gravity is a fact. No matter how nice a person she was, there’s only one name in heaven and on earth by which men can be saved, and it isn’t Mary.
So the reality is that the more we can see Truth, the more sentimentality doesn’t drag us around by a nose ring everywhere. We can actually see and weigh things, and enjoy food sacrificed to idols without feeling any fear about it and without feeling obligation towards it either (1 Cor. 8). It just doesn’t mean anything to us. We enjoy the things of the world without being used by them. They do not influence us in any way, but we can enjoy them. We can live like a king like David did. We can also live in dust like poor Lazarus (the rich man and that Lazarus, Luke 16:19-20), and it doesn’t make any difference. “Whether food or drink do all to the glory of God.” Sentiment is an enemy of the cross.