My church is doing a great summer movie series where we are looking at how movies can inspire us and relate to our lives and spirituality.  Our Community Pastor, Larry Boatright, taught on Remember the Titans and it stirred up something in me, along with my friend sitting next to me.

He was talking about how we view and treat people who are different from us, and he had us ask ourselves three questions:

Who are the “others” in my life?
How can I shift my proximity to them?
How can I contribute shalom {peace and harmony} in the world?

As I was listening to him teach, not for one moment was I thinking of an ethnic group or someone I didn’t agree with politically.  I had only one person in mind: my ex-husband.  My ex-husband is my other.   My friend was thinking the same thing. In the middle of the service, she wrote on her notes and showed it to me, “What about my ex-husband?”  I know, I whispered…totally thinking the same thing!

He pointed out 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 that says, All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”

I was in tears by the end of the service, totally taken by surprise by this message and by where the Spirit led my thoughts.  You see, it seems like we are in a continual battle on one issue or another, and this week is no exception.  I’m a wreck just thinking about it.  I just want this week to be over, and all of this to be behind us.  I want all of the bad stuff to stop, and I don’t want an enemy anymore.

But that’s not how things are turning out.  Our relationship is strained, to say the least.  And I have no idea how to shift my proximity, and if I’m even called to, or how to contribute peace and harmony to our situation.  So this is all I’ve got…

Pray. I pray for him – for healing, for blessings, for his relationship with our children.  In fact, each time the kids head out the door to be with him, I pray over them, that they build sweet memories, that they all get along, for healing and kindness.

Open.  Though I don’t quite know how, I need to have a more open heart.  If something kind is done, I need to accept it with gratitude.

Kindness. My mentor talks about treating our enemies with the kindness you would show a stranger, no more, no less.  Be respectful, business-like. Say only what needs to be said, but say it in even tones and soft words.

Be realistic. I still get hurt fairly often. It’s not like roses are being sent to my house each week and I throw them directly in the trash. When something happens between us, it’s still ninety-five percent bad, not good.  This isn’t a matter of me rebuffing attempts at bridge-building.  So, that’s one reason why I need to lay my guilt and shame down.

Remember. The other reason I can move forward is to think back.  There was a marriage. And in that difficult marriage, I tried.  Not perfectly, but hard.  And then there was a reconciliation attempt that lasted fifteen months.  And in that awful reconciliation attempt, I tried.  Not perfectly, but very hard.  In fact, nine other adults who were surrounding us looked at me and said I had done everything I was told.  I must remember that at one time, for a long period of time, I did more than my part to walk toward him and repair things.

You know, it just hit me this morning: forgiveness takes one person; but reconciliation takes two.  I did all that I could.  And now I just move forward…I raise our children the best I can, I live my life the best I can, and I let him live his.  For us, there will be no reconciliation.  At least not in the near future.  And I must choose today to lay down the guilt I am carrying over that.  Because I did all I could.

 

 

If this post encouraged you, you would benefit from “Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage”, found here or “Living through Divorce as a Christian Woman”, found here.