As I have aged like a fine wine turning to vinegar, I have found that a lot of the old sayings have liberal dollops of truth in them. “A stitch in time saves nine,” speaks of the value of preventive maintenance. “A penny saved is a penny earned,” speaks to the value of saving and infers the difficulty in doing so. “Familiarity breeds contempt,” highlights the tendency for people naturally lowering their opinions of people they get to know better. I have been married for nearly 42 years and my wife can vouch that some of my mannerisms that she used to find tolerable, or even somewhat attractive during our courtship, are now just irritating. As I age, these things are becoming more finely tuned and in that she finds no comfort. I have found one area of my life where this “Familiarity breeds contempt” saying does not apply, the more I read and study the Bible and understand the heart of God through His words and actions, the more I love and appreciate Him.
It is sort of like what happens during wars and especially happened during WWII. Many couples (some barely introduced) maintained correspondence for years while their loved one was away at the war. Through these letters, thousands of couples got to know each others thoughts and innermost feelings to a level that made it easy for them to commit to marriage right after coming home. Although they had been not physically close, they were close in the matters of the heart… all through the written word. It is interesting to me that the Bible says “faith (trust in God) comes by hearing” and I have certainly seen evidence of that in my life. I was not always a “Bible-head,” in fact in my late 20’s, I remember my wife saying, “Well, you’re supposed to be the spiritual leader of the family.” She was right but I remember confessing to her I felt that I “didn’t have a spiritual bone in my body.” That eventually changed as I began listening to and studying the Bible along with gifted teachers, who I credit for nurturing my love of studying which greatly increased my love and admiration for God and His plan. I found myself thinking more about God and as I did, things were changing in how I approached daily living. I discovered contemporary Christian music (which was in its infancy) with artists such as Amy Grant, John Schlitt and Wayne Watson. I found that I occasionally woke up at night with a song on my heart that praised God and I liked that.
So, my point is to encourage non-believers and believers alike to read the Bible and get to know the heart of your Creator. To know Him is to love Him and you will find that it is easier to do the “right” things in your daily life. Not because it’s law, but because that’s what someone who loves does. So, with people, the default seems to be “familiarity breeds contempt” but with consideration of God, familiarity oftentimes breeds love and affection.