It happened again.
Two people I love dearly once again seemed to despise one another.
I joined the two of them on an outing recently. On the way home, the bitter words began. Like so many times in the past, I tried to encourage them to stop, to no avail.
Each reported something negative about the other and made excuses for continuing the battle.
The more cutting words erupted from each of them, the angrier they became.
Instead of continuing to try to use my words to end their hateful words and attitudes, I prayed silently.
Lord, please intervene. Please help them to stop listening to the negativity in their minds and instead let them listen to You. Let me continue to love them. Show me what to do.
Shortly after my prayer a song came on the car radio, which was tuned to 91.5, the JOY FM.
My loved one in the back seat started singing along.
Then loved one number two who sat in the front passenger seat joined in.
I didn’t know the song well, so I just listened–to the song and to them–and was blessed.
What was the song about? The love of God and how wonderful it is.
My heart leapt for joy to hear them singing with each other. Each sang with such gusto.
I remembered a marriage tip I read a while back that said if couples sang together, it helped them to be closer.
These two weren’t married, but that song coming on the radio at that moment seemed to melt their hearts. No angry words were said for the rest of our time together.
Later one of these loved ones let me know the song which came on the radio was one they sang at the church they attended together.
I continue to pray for these two who have built up bitterness over a number of years. Each has problems forgiving the other for offenses–some which took place so long ago.
I’ve tried to talk to them about the issue of forgiveness, but when I did, excuses came out. Often they centered on the theme of, “You don’t know what she did to me…” Each would try to get me to take their side and repeatedly they each attempted to get me to turn against the other. At times I did feel myself building up anger at one and then the other.
As I contemplated their relationship, I realized my husband and I had a similar relationship at times in our marriage. We would fight in front of others. We each would try to get those around us to take our side. Regret over this crept up in me.
But then I celebrated the good news.
We don’t do this anymore. The Lord healed our hearts. He gave us the grace to forgive and move on after being hurt by each other. When new hurts come up these days, we let go quickly and have learned to enjoy the special relationship we have.
The same can happen for these two loved ones. I believe it will.
But in the “mean” time, God instructs me my job is not so much to say, but to pray–especially in moments when their hearts are so hard.
This verse came to mind today as I thought of my part in this scenario.
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18 NIV
I can’t bring peace between the two of them, but I can be at peace with each of them.
The enemy wants to tempt me to turn against them. Some days I’ve thought and even said, “I just don’t want to be around you two until you can get along.”
He wants me to be bitter toward them over their bitterness toward each other.
I refuse to do that. I need to forgive them for the times their anger and fighting has brought me down, and it’s felt like, “your anger ruined my day.”
God does not want me to back away from them. He wants me to move toward them with love–His love, the kind of love which is described in the song they sang earlier this week.
Many days have passed since that song broke through the hardness of my loved ones’ hearts. The last time we were together I heard no angry words. When I asked one of them how the other was, she did not give me a list of her latest “crimes.”
Right now I’m going to turn on that song which so touched their hearts and mine while we rode in the car earlier this week. Oh, how this song causes me to celebrate God’s love for me and for each of us.
I want to love like that–not only them but everyone in my life, especially those who seem difficult to love. That’s the kind of love God has for us. He loves us at our worst. He forgives everything we do. He delights to call us His sons and daughters.
Yes, I want to have a reckless love like God’s, which means the kind of love where I do not fear being hurt or upset, and where mercy flows.
Lord, thank You for Your overwhelming love for me. Give me grace to love others the way You love me. Help my loved ones to deeply experience Your love and to love each other with Your love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
“Reckless Love” by Cory Asbury
The story behind the song, “Reckless Love:”