Kelly wasn’t sure where there had been mis-communication. Since Ron’s ex-wife had been the one to move, she should be the person burdened with the hour drive for her weekend visitation. Here it was another Friday night and yet again there were changes to the schedule. Kelly grew angrier with every moment as she sorted laundry and waited on Ron to get home. He greeted her with the usual smile and kiss … but she was distracted.
“What happened this time?” Kelly demanded
“She said her car overheated and she needs someone to look at it before she drives this far.”
“And? What about the kids?”
Ron knew his answer would upset her, he hung his head and said, “We’re taking them down to her.”
Kelly had been studying respect for several months now but in the moment every lesson was far away…and she challenged her husband.
“Why would you agree to do that? You know how I feel! This is crazy. Every time you give in to her you are setting a precedent for the court system. You have GOT to do this the right way. Why would you go against me like this?”
And Ron’s humble statement stunned her to silence – “She asked.”
Ron was right, if anyone else, stranger or friend, had asked a favor, he would go out of his way to meet the need. This was one of the things she loved most about Ron. And more than that, this favor protected the hearts of his children. Ron spoke so much truth in that moment. He spoke of his own character, he spoke with the love of Christ for his enemy, he spoke volumes to Kelly about all that was dark inside her heart.
Kelly was raised in a home where dad was the king and everyone else served him, especially Kelly’s mom. Kelly had determined long ago to NOT go out of her way for people. As Kelly’s heart was softened by the Holy Spirit she was learning that maybe she had went too far in the opposite direction of her mom; Still, Kelly’s heart had hardened toward people who seemed to not be able to “help themselves” – there was unfounded judgement there and Ron’s 2 simple words spoke of his freedom to just love.
Galatians 5:14, 16 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love others as you love yourself”. I advise you to obey only the Holy Spirit’s instructions. He will tell you where to go and what to do, and then you won’t always be doing the wrong things your evil nature wants you to do.
I recently heard someone say, “Our personal opinions become the greatest obstacle of Christ centered freedom. My parents, upbringing, personality, friends and location give more to my opinion than the truth of Christ.”
It seems that was happening in Kelly’s heart and she wanted to change. Kelly relayed the above story to me several weeks later. It was hard for me to not “side” with her and agree with everything she had said to Ron. Divorce brings separation, it leans toward choosing sides, it binds people to keep records of wrong – divorce can lead people to follow their “own wrong inclinations” (just like in Galatians 14: 19-21). Even though Kelly had a legitimate reason for not wanting to drive the kids, Ron was clearly following the leading of the Holy Spirit and his life was producing that fruit. Kelly asked me to pray with her to show love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22). I also reminded Kelly that self-control can sometimes mean that we only have the ability to control ourselves and NOT the ability to control others.
Each of us bring childhood into our current relationship and it makes an impact on the way we “do life”. Kelly chose to be the opposite of what was modeled for her but many others choose to go down the same path. The Bible has given us clear direction to look for the fruit in our lives and a clear commandment to love.
Today I dare you to clearly label the fruit of your relationship with your ex-spouse.
Is there hatred and fighting, jealousy and anger, a constant effort to get the best for yourself? – anyone living that life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. If we are living now by the Holy Spirit’s power, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives (even in divorce).
Praying for each of you as evaluate and seek all that is true, noble and right. What kind of fruit will you find?