Thursday, November 6, 2008

Re: Loving your Ex - backlash!

So, I posted the article about loving others (here) last week, and I'm getting some backlash about it. Which doesn't really surprise me. Whenever you suggest that it's OK to love your mean ol' ex-spouse (or others) you can expect to take some flak. I mean, even Jesus, who started the whole "pray for those who curse you" thing was attacked for it, right?!

I was asked, (quite loudly, BTW) "Are you saying I should love the man who abused me for so many years and is turning my kids against me!?" Well, yes. That's exactly what He means.

"But I can't do that! I can't even stand to look at him! I despise him!"

But, as some point, you loved him, right? At some point, you stood before God and witnesses and swore to love him "til death do you part" right? You promised him, them, Him, your kids, and yourself, right?

"But he's not the same person I married so long ago! He changed into a horrible person I don't even recognize."

Well, his personality changed (did it really? or did he just stop hiding it?), his actions changed, his words changed, but HE is the same person you vowed to love forever. If your child becomes a wild, rabid teenager some day, will you stop loving him or her, too? If your parent develops Alzheimer's and their personality completely changes someday, will you stop loving them, too? I hope not.

God told us that His love is eternal. He promises to love us even if we turn against him (see the story of the prodigal son in the Bible, in Luke, chapter 15). And He asks us to do the same for others:
* This is my command: Love each other. John 15:17
* Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. ... love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Luke 6:28,35
* 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'Matthew 22:39

For Christians, these aren't suggestions, but marching orders from our General, our Lord. He also pointed out a reason for this order:
* "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13: 35
As Christians (literally, followers of Christ), we should look different; we should stand out in a crowd; we should behave/speak/LOVE differently than is expected by those outside the Family. Because we are to be an example to them of the Peace we have through Christ's Spirit and His salvation.

If we're not different from the outsiders, what's the point of faith in Christ? We follow Him because of the blessings and comfort and support we get from Him, as well as our gratefulness for His gift of salvation, right?

To the dear lady who insisted she could not love her ex - I agree. You, alone, in your own strength, cannot do this hard thing. But Christ in you, through his Spirit and the gift you received at salvation (see Galatians 5: 22, 23 for a list of the fruits - or gifts - of the Spirit which each person receives on accepting salvation from Jesus), Christ in you CAN do that. If you lean on your own strength, you will fall. Period. You must tap into that Grace and strength that you get from Him. Let him lead you to forgiveness so you can heal.



Jann said...

Sometimes suggesting someone love someone who has betrayed them or hurt them in some way is too big of a step for many--at least in the beginning. Jesus taught us how to forgive and it is on those teachings that we learn to love our enemies. Start with forgiveness and "love thy enemy" will eventually come naturally.

Dr. Jann Blackstone-Ford, PsyD
Bonus Families

Rhema said...

In Ecclesiastes, King Solomon tells us that there is a time for everything.

We also know that in God's perfect time, everything will be made beautiful.

None of us will be perfect and will continue to be molded by God until Jesus comes.

So it is understandable for an ex wife to say that she can not love an ex husband after years of abuse. What a coach or support group can do in this case is to pray that the sister in the Lord receives God's grace to give brotherly love to an ex husband, rather than force the issue.

Remember, even God Himself does not rush. Even God Himself will wait for Judgment day to judge ... who are we therefore to cast the first stone?

Each and everyone of us will be judged according to our gifting and God will never compare us with others.

Karen Coehn, Master of Christian Counseling

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