Lord, what’s going on? She’s so contrary toward me.
When I approached my loved one, my motives were good—to bring truth.
Yet it seemed she rejected all I had to say and sometimes in a negative, hateful way.
Days later, the Lord pointed out this truth to me: the more controlling you are, the more contrary she becomes.
Then in my Bible reading, I ran across this verse which spoke to the issue: “Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me.” Psalm 35:1 NIV
As I reflected on my relationship with this precious loved one, I saw that a part of me wanted her to be dependent on me rather than on the Lord. I wanted to be in control instead of reminding her and myself again and again that God was in control.
I knew that I was doing this because often instead of asking, “Do you want to pray?” I had an attitude of, “You need to hear what I have to say.”
I realized that if I was to bring her truth, it needed to be under the direction and control of the Holy Spirit. My way of bringing truth was not as gentle and loving as His was.
At the center of what was going on with me in our communications was pride. I wanted to believe that my words would change things, especially negative behaviors. I’m a writer, and sometimes they do. But that’s when those words are inspired by the Lord. When my words are motivated by my need to prove myself right and the other person wrong (even when they are wrong) or to get that person to agree with what I think or feel, then our interactions are about me and not about helping to draw that other person closer to the Lord.
I am seeing lately that when I contend with a person rather than allowing the Lord to do that, I’m not trusting Him. Often I take matters into my own hands, because it seems God is doing nothing. Yet in my prayer time again and again God reveals to me that He is working even if I can’t see it. And didn’t He whisper to me lately, “Praise me for the unseen?”
I recall years ago in our marriage, my husband would say after I had delivered a lecture to him about an area of sin in his life that he seemed unwilling to let go of, “Why did you waste your time saying all of that? God has been dealing with me in that very area.” I realized back then that it was fear that drove me to try to take control.
Lately I’m convinced that it’s the enemy who wants me to use many words with some people because this will keep them from hearing words from the Lord. Repeatedly in recent days this admonition from St. Francis has sprung into my mind. “Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use words.” It is my loving actions that will speak to the hearts of those around me.
As I grow in trusting Him, I realize that He can transform a heart with a few words. But He waits until just the right time—the time when the individual is able to hear. Too often I waste time and energy on speaking wise reproof to ears that aren’t listening (See Proverbs 25:12) or I deliver what I feel are heart-changing words to hearts that are hardened against me and against God.
Instead of excessive speaking, contending, and attempting to control, God is calling me to lovingly listen—if the person wants to talk. And if she doesn’t, I am to remain quiet and pray without ceasing that God will intervene with His transforming power. And I am to listen to the words and instructions the Lord has to speak to me about the situation.
Only God has the power to transform a heart. I’m praying that I will learn to wholeheartedly trust Him to do just that.
Song for this week: “God Is In Control” by Twila Paris