Recently my wife and I had a very unexpected conversation with a loved one. The topic was something we were comfortable never bringing up, and for this very reason that it would possibly cause pain and would possibly sever the relationship. Both assumptions were true. The topic didn’t need to be brought up for any reason, but when backed into a corner, sometimes the only thing to do is give your assailant what they want.
So out runs the cat from this bag called “Our Life” (not their life by the way) and we found ourselves in a position to be very understanding and to show love. The loved one asked for a sit down conversation with us and we readily agreed. We anticipated they would talk about their hurt and that we would talk about how we understood their hurt. Then we expected time to heal the issue.
Those assumptions were not true. We sat for around an hour and were berated, maligned, trashed, stomped on, shit on, spat at, called names, and overall given a good soaking of evil and hate. Even some of our friends and family members got thrown into that mix as well. This loved one hashed up every single little offense (even misunderstandings) and threw them back in our faces. I was called a “flashy” Christian and told that I think I’m better than everyone else. I was demeaned as a father and husband. I watched my wife’s integrity and discretion fall under attack. I watched as a trust that I had for that loved one deteriorated before my eyes. The person screaming at me was not the person I thought I knew. I always had my doubts about their salvation, but after this “conversation” was left with nothing but a longing to see them transformed by Jesus. A very serious dose of resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness was bottling up inside them and it came out at us like a hurricane.
Jesus said that what hides within the heart would be revealed through the lips. I can’t think of another verse of Scripture that I have seen more clearly demonstrated in real life. It was like an opportunity to see this person’s soul… and we were shocked at what we saw.
The conversation wasn’t that at all. The loved one vomited their anger upon us and then announced that the conversation was over. We left stunned. Over the next few days various emotions set in. My wife dealt with the majority of those because I’m not one to dwell on things. We talked and talked it over and just had a hard time wrapping our minds around what had happened. Thankfully Jesus stepped in on our behalf.
Almost immediately we were drawn together as a husband and wife in the matter. Our love for each other grew deeper through standing together for what was right (which is what angered the loved one). Then we got to embrace each other as we dealt with the pain of the attack. Then we got to hold each other up in prayer as we grieved for the soul of the loved one. Gina has two incredibly important revelations through this ordeal. They both revolved around issues that she struggles with, but which God is so clearly working on in her. They are things that I have been praying about for her. They are answers to prayer. And the truth that she needed to see came through this painful ordeal. What wondrous ways our Father works in!
I had the chance to lead my family well – in a Christ-like way. The loved one attacked my leadership. My wife was drawn closer to the Lord through it. I was given great assurance through that as to the validity of my choices. I was drawn into worship of my Father as I praised His working in me.
Now we are left with the question of how to address this loved one again. Their offenses need to be noted and peace needs to be found. Now that we know this loved one has not been made new in Jesus, we can approach them with practical gospel love and humility. We can bear the offenses and forgive them and move forward in love, with the hope that God will choose to use that to turn their heart toward Him. While we desire the relationship that we formerly had with them, we desire more to see them loving Jesus (which I assume would restore the relationship anyways).
It’s just been a wild couple of weeks (not to mention that we sold our home and are living in a transitional rental house right now) and we can’t do anything else besides plug along. The grace of Jesus is enough and we could not be more thankful for it.