I have shared many times on my blog about my divorce and it’s aftermath. These past several weeks have been a bit difficult with regard to my attitude about my ex-husband. I shared my sadness/anger of discovering he placed a praise the Lord and christian fish after his name on our divorce decree. Compounded by the fact, that I work with Christian women who find themselves in abusive marriages, has made it even more difficult. I realize daily that he desperately needs to change his heart so he does not abuse another women. Truth is, I do not miss the man I was married to, but I do miss the best friend he was for years, before we married. It is hard as a christian, you are told to fight for your marriage, which I did while we were separated even fight while the divorce is being processed. Then the decree is final….then what?
I forgave him three years ago, but sometimes I still get annoyed with him. Especially, when every time I need to get a hold of him, I receive angry emails from his family attacking me. He acts like I am a non-person after 2 decades together… Funny, they are never from him, he just ignores me, he hides behind his family. It is such a paradox for me, professionally, I work to educate and stop domestic violence, then knowing that I personally know someone who needs help to stop their abusing behavior.
I’ve been pondering the whole response to an ex that needs help, do I just turn a blind eye and walk away or do I try my best to make sure he never hurts another women. If he does, is it a blood on my hands kind of a thing. I know that isn’t exactly accurate, but it is hard to see someone you loved living with a hard heart either. Of course, I am far from perfect, and I have my own issues, and only by the grace of God do I live.
I believe that God is showing me to just give him up to the Lord, period: in an attitude of love, goodness, blessing and prayer. My eyes focused not on my life, not on my circumstances, and not on the wrongs done to me, but rather focused with laser intensity on Jesus!
The verse that the Lord continually bringing me to is Luke 6:27-28:
“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”
It seems harsh to refer to my ex-husband as my enemy … although sometimes it feels that way. I believe in my heart that he isn’t my enemy. I think I feel like I’m in a spiritual battle with him, but maybe we are more like opponents in a tennis match—but there’s definitely no love in the score. Which makes me sad.
“Love your enemies.”
Awww, Lord. Really?
“Love … do good … bless … pray.”
Love him? Love him. Really?
What does that even look like? ‘Cause I did that for a long time and it ended up almost destroying me. I ended up abused, used and thrown away like thrash, notified he was divorcing me by email. Love the person who put praise the Lord and a christian fish on our divorce decree? So I’m praying as I write because I really don’t know what that looks like.
Talking about love always reminds me of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Love is:
Patient, kind, does not envy or boast, is not arrogant or rude, does not insist on its own way, is not irritable or resentful, does not rejoice in wrongdoing, rejoices in the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Am I patient with God’s dealing with my situation and my ex? Am I kind in the face of my ex’s attitudes, accusations and actions? Am I rude when I could choose to be kind? Do I insist that things go my way regardless of God’s plan? Am I irritable and resentful? (Ugh. Definitely.) I do not believe I rejoice in my ex’s wrongdoings, but maybe I do a bit when it’s me trying to justify my angry response to him. Do I rejoice in the truth? I hope so.
But in this circumstance, do I bear, believe, hope and endure all things? Nope. I wanna cry and hide in the corner. I want to yell and argue and fight with my ex, telling him how much he hurt me and the children.
Who am I kidding—I can’t do those things! Love like that? That’s not logical.
But when has God called me to do something that He hasn’t enabled me to do?
Once again, I’m gonna have to rely solely on Jesus. After all, He has given us “a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim. 1:7).
And I’m going to need the Lord in my life, because not only am I called to love that man, but to do good, bless and pray for him.
But what is my role in the meantime? Am I you supposed to sit around and passively wait for more persecution? No, the answer is to become aggressive with good. When wicked behavior is running rampant, it feels like it is in control. However God’s Word tells us that good is more powerful than evil. God does not say that doing good to others will help us tolerate their evil. He says that we can overcome it. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). Light overwhelms darkness. Hope triumphs over discouragement. Love casts our fear. It is our task, in the face of evil, to offer good. Why? Because good invites repentance. I pray he repents, before it is too late.
Consider Romans 12:20 “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” The phrase “heap burning coals on his head” referred to awakening the conscience of another. With good, we can melt the heart of evil with burning shame. Constantly repaying evil with good holds a mirror up to the perpetrator reflecting only their evil; in some cases this will bring about a change of heart.
I believe I will pray for God to enable me to live the way God desires me too!