Not too long ago I scheduled an appointment with my pastor’s wife for some spiritual guidance. I had been struggling emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually and knew I needed someone to intervene. So, I decided I needed to speak to someone for some biblical guidance.
I shared with her how from my perspective, the root of all my problems was my ex (my son’s father). Almost ten years later we were still fighting, still at each other’s necks and still holding grudges way past the expiration date. Things had turned for the worst when I started putting my son in the middle of our arguments. I know this is something that I shouldn’t have done, but in those painful and hurtful moments, logic seemed to elude me. So regretfully I did it but thank God for His grace.
While in the session we talked about things such as:
Who am I?
What do I need to do to change how I reap and sow things in my life?
How can I learn to love others the way God loves me?
It was a heart filled, gut wrenching, and emotionally impactful experience. I walked out of that session feeling a thousand times better and focused on a plan to make things right with God. I learned that it was not about me, what I wanted or even blaming others for my situation. It was then and has always been about dying to my flesh so I can become more like God. I had to learn how to learn from my past, but no longer live in it.
From this experience, I want to share with you a few tips I learned about love that will help you walk in the love God intends for you with an Ex.
- Watch what you are sowing because you’re going to reap!-During my session, I found out that for the last ten years, I’d been reaping and sowing so much negativity with my ex that I wasn’t taking any ownership for. I had to admit that we had both done some things wrong, and take full responsibility for the seeds I had sown. Both of us embraced all the conflict and frustration that the enemy kept presenting. But ultimately, I knew better. My pastor’s wife said it perfectly, “You can’t expect to reap sweet corn when you have been sowing bitter beets.” I began to identify other relationships in my inner circle that this statement remained true for, like my relationship with my mother. Overall, this was a valuable lesson.
- God doesn’t always fix the problem the way we expect- For several years, I’d been praying for God to change the heart of my son’s father. It wasn’t until after my counseling session that I began to realize that I cannot expect God to change my situation if I’m not willing to change. I had placed myself on a pedestal as if I had been completely perfect and I dismissed the truth that I am just a broken woman who happened to meet Jesus, and I still fall short of His glory. I had been naive about who I was and what I needed to change about me. I made myself feel better by looking at all the things my ex and everyone else had done to hurt. My expectation was that God would change them, but he made it clear that his plan was to change me instead.
- Not Loving My Enemies Destroys Me- Something as simple as loving my enemies can be one of the most difficult things to do. When it comes to those that have consistently hurt me and caused conflict with me, the bitter roots can run deep, and the last thing I want to do is love them. It’s naturally easier for me just to ignore them, stay mad, and walk away. However, I find myself asking myself, would God ever do that to me? Would he walk away, stay mad and ignore me? The answer is, no. Admittedly, the years of conflict with my ex has hardened my heart and caused me to walk in unforgiveness and resentment. But what I have learned is that by not having a Godly love toward those that hurt me, my prayers can be hindered and what God wants to do in my life is limited. It also destroys the freedom that comes through my testimony. My unwillingness to love my enemies hinders God receiving the glory that He deserves in my life.
- God’s love doesn’t look like Man’s-When I reflect on the last ten years of my life, I realize that many times I was willing to settle for anything just to feel loved. As a result, I created an idea of love according to my standards and experiences and not God’s. My problem was that I didn’t understand how God loved me as his daughter. I saw how my ex-boyfriend showed me love and how my parents showed me love but didn’t see how God showed me, love. So, I created this idea of what it means to love someone based on my understanding of love. I used that information to determine how I would love those around me. But, one day, a greater understanding of love came to me through God’s word. I began to learn that God loves me and doesn’t expect anything from me, except to have a relationship with Him. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 has become my go to scripture when I need to remind myself God’s Love.
When I think about how I’ve been treated by those that have said they loved me, I also realize that I had loved them every way but God’s way in return. I believe this is why we need a clearer understanding of what it means to truly love others like God, especially when we are facing conflicts and challenges. When we do not love like God, we can miss the opportunity to bring glory to God through love.
So, today I pray that this post brings hope, faith and love back into your life. I pray you begin to understand the type of love you deserve to receive and give. And most importantly, I pray that you will remember that if God can love us as sinners, we have the capacity, through Christ to love those who have sinned against us. Our family, our friends, even ourselves.