She had to sit down to share her story with the class. We listened with rapt attention as she said, “I was in college and had come home for the weekend. I walked into the kitchen, and over heard my parents talking. My mother said to my father, ‘You don’t understand. It’s too late. I’ve already filed. You see that plant over there? The dead one? That’s our marriage. If you would have offered a kind word, a gentle touch, a help or consideration of some small kind over the years, it would have been enough. That plant hasn’t been watered in months. Our marriage hasn’t been watered in years. It doesn’t matter now that you want to water it. It’s been dead too long.'”
For some reason, as her tears silently slipped down her face, the image of an adult woman’s pain was forever embedded in my heart.
She was 28 when she shared her story with us, the wounds as fresh as they’d been a decade before.
Research shows that divorce severely damages children, well into adulthood. Research on emotional and verbal abuse shows that this damage also occurs and is lasting.
Proverbs 9 does a great job contrasting wisdom and folly (aka, maturity and childishness). The application here is simple. We need to grow in wisdom. We also need to recognize that the chasm between us and God is the same for all of us – one of infinite distance – regardless of where we are in our walk.
And, it cannot be crossed without relationship with Jesus Christ.
And for us to think we are further along, better than, or more worthy than another is pride, which by the way, is sin.
So regardless of the progress we’ve made, we are no better than other believers.
I watch couples naturally judge each other’s behavior, failing to heed Christ’s teaching in Matthew 7:2-5 2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
And it makes me weep to watch the damage that this judgment does. Sometimes it shows up as criticism. Sometimes it shows up as a “better than you” attitude. Either way, it’s destructive. God knew that, hence His teaching about judgment (which is His alone, btw) in Luke 6:37, which reads: Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.
So today, God’s daring you to do two things: 1) stop criticizing (judging) your spouse, and your kids; and 2) stop thinking you are any better than anyone else on the journey (that’s prideful, which God detests).
So yes, don’t just read the Word, but be ye also doers of the Word. (James 1:22)
Double-Dog-Dare you to then take a moment and thank God for sending Christ and His Holy Spirit to us! I look forward to one day being with you on the other side of the chasm with Him. J
Thankful to be on the journey with you!