A few weeks ago, my husband and I got into an argument. I felt prompted to apologize for talking to him (again) in an irritated, frustrated tone, but the conversation was a disaster and I walked away from it angry, frustrated and very hurt.
Before I left for Bible study that morning I prayed reluctantly God would help me “take captive every thought and make it obedient to Him.” I loathe when the Lord brings II Corinthians 10:5b to mind when I’m right and justified in my hurt and anger, but nevertheless I prayed.
On my way to study I had this sense I wasn’t supposed to tell Kim what happened. I wanted to respect Chris, but I also didn’t want to be “that friend.” The week before I’d been venting to Kim about parenting problems (see blog, Swearing at Bible Study) and Kim and I have vowed before not to be habitually negative and complain to each other (therapeutic as it seems).
Kim, unaware of the fight, told me casually about her week. While she shared however, she kept repeating something during our two hours together that was exactly what the Lord knew I needed to hear but wouldn’t have been able to receive from anyone else in any other context. As she talked about parenting and other relationships she kept saying,
“How would I feel if someone talked to me like that?”
And after I heard her ask that question for what seemed like the twenty-fifth time, it finally registered. That question was something I already knew, needed to hear but didn’t want to and exactly what I needed to reconcile my, but more importantly, Chris’ pain.
How would I feel if someone talked to me the way I talk to my husband?
More importantly, how would I feel if Chris talked to me in the belittling, harsh, you’re-an-idiot demeanor I’ve too often talked to him in for twenty-five years? How defensive, skeptical and guarded would I be and how would I react to his eighth millionth apology?
The Bible isn’t concerned about an individual faith nearly as much as a corporate one. Following Jesus isn’t about me and shockingly it isn’t even just about Jesus, according to the Bible. To be a Christians means, “…to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ and to love one another as he commanded us” (1 John 3:23). Although I struggle with the “one another” part it is inseparable from believing in Jesus and thank God…
If it weren’t for other Christians, despite how annoying, difficult and imperfect we can be, life would be insufferable. We need friends who speak to us directly from the Lord when they don’t even know that’s what they’re doing. We need friends to say things we’d never be able to receive from our spouse. We need the church even if we think loving Jesus would be easier if it weren’t for the people he loves and died for.
Like it or not, we need other Christians.
Thank you, Kim.