I just returned home from doing a week’s worth of ministry in New York City. I was training a group of people how to do evangelism to Jewish people. Not an easy task since most Jewish people are programmed from birth not to believe Jesus is the Messiah.
Sure enough, this time he stirred up my sister and husband to blow-up at each other. It was so bad that by the end of the day everybody headed to their respective bedrooms, slammed the door and stayed there until the next morning.
The next day wasn’t much better. My husband left the house early and went hiking. My sister woke up angry. Her husband didn’t know what to do.
I like to fix things, so here was a grand opportunity to plot and strategize a way to end the war. As I thought I kept hearing the phrase I often tell others: the gospel changes everything. Oh yeah? How’s the gospel going to change two believers who hate each other right now?
I took a quick inventory of my successes in meddling in the Lord’s business. I didn’t like what I saw. Instead of finding faith, I found fear, embarrassment, shame – in other words, unbelief.
The war between my husband and sister was nothing new, so how was I going to bring reconciliation this time when I hadn’t succeeded in the past over lesser battles?
I chose to not get involved. I prayed instead. I told the Lord I was empty, that I was inadequate, incompetent, lacking in wisdom, and if he didn’t show up and do something to set these two stubborn people straight, it was going to be a fiasco and I would lose a sister.
Then I went to lunch with my sister and her husband while my husband continued to let out his frustrations on the mountain.
My husband returned home, showered, dressed and joined us in the living room. For two hours, we talked about the dynamics of our relationship and what it was that made it go off the rails so often. And what did we find out? That none of us listens well, that we need to be loved and not judged, and that there are huge areas in our lives that need cleaning up. In other words, we’re messy Christians and the Holy Spirit is still chiseling the image of Christ in us.
We came away with a renewed love for one another and a deeper understanding of who we were as people.
I could never have accomplished that with my fix-it tool belt.
The gospel indeed changes things!
How about you? Talk to me.