A friend of mine is currently walking through a marital separation and possible divorce. Her husband left her and their two beautiful children to live in his own luxury apartment in the next state. He thinks things are better this way, and he said he’s happier. He enjoys having more money from his paycheck to play with.
I’ve watched in grief as my friend’s countenance has changed from joy to sorrow, from peace to uncertainty of the future. In recent weeks I’ve been there at the grocery store with her and have seen something new about her: the strain coming over her face when she swipes the debit card in the machine, mentally calculating how much this amount leaves in her newly-opened, single checking account. My heart goes out in compassion toward her. I have walked in those shoes of divorce, not wanting to wear them. Sometimes life’s wardrobe for us isn’t all Nieman Marcus luxury designers.
A battle rages in my heart. My friend is hurting deeply, and I ache with her. If I could take all her pain away, I would. At the same time, I struggle with emotions toward her husband who is causing her hurt – dark, turbulent emotions, like a sudden summer thunderstorm. Ashamed, I remember how Jesus rebuked His disciples for praying wrongly:
“They came to a town inSamaria. There they got things ready for Jesus. The people did not want Him there because they knew He was on His way toJerusalem. James and John, His followers, saw this.
They said, “Lord, do You want us to speak so fire will come down from heaven and burn them up as Elijah did?” Jesus turned and spoke sharp words to them. He said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you have. The Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives. He came to save them from the punishment of sin.” (Luke 9:52-57, NLV
What spirit do I have – God’s or another? Yet how can I unconditionally love this person who is hurting someone I love dearly? How can I pray for him?
Where is my compassion for him?
I then remember Jesus’ words as He hung on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34, NLT)
He doesn’t know what he’s doing. That makes all this more palatable. Much like years ago, when I didn’t know what I was doing and had turned against God and others I loved and God forgave me, loved me, and took me back – just as I was. So did my loved ones.
I don’t know what’s going to happen to my friend and her marriage. But I do know that God loves her so much, even more than I do. I know that no matter what happens, whether or not she winds up in divorce court, God will always take care of her and her children. He is Faithful. He is True. (Revelation 19:11)
He is “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.” (Psalm 68:5, ESV)
And He loves the one who is causing her pain, too. His compassion knows no limits.
What spirit do I have? And you?
Beth Jones is a Christian speaker, author, life coach, wife, and mom of 3 beautiful daughters. She resides in Kansas City, MO.Her mission is equipping women to hear God’s voice, unlock their gifts, and pursue their passion. You can find out more about Beth’s products, events, and coaching services at http://www.bethjones.net. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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