Hey there! How’s everybody? Doin’ well here in Kansas. Anybody seen the movie “War Room”? I saw it a couple of weeks ago. Pretty good movie, made me think! So grab a cuppa or a glass of sweet tea, and find a comfy spot to relax a minute. How often do we get sideways with somebody and begin to fuss and fume and nag and complain and maybe make snarky comments to them or maybe even get downright ‘direct’ with them?
Especially with a spouse, or a teenager? How often do we get mired down in the negative things and completely ignore or ‘forget’ all the good things they do? Sometimes I wonder if we don’t create half our own problems by this kind of thing. It would stand to reason that the more we criticize and the more they ‘fail’ in our eyes, the more discouraged they would become and then they might just quit on us altogether. Walk out of a marriage. Make bad decisions. Do crazy things – either to ‘get even’ with us, or to numb the pain!
The movie “War Room” shows us how to fight the battles on the correct front, with the correct weapons. Screaming a little louder or more often isn’t a good tactic. Ignoring the situation isn’t, either. Quitting on a relationship – either a marriage or a parent-child relationship is never the answer. No, we have to realize who we’re really fighting and how to fight them.
Ephesians Chapter 6 is a great battle plan. Verse 12 tells us who the enemy is – and is not! We are fighting against the devil and his demons. Yes, he’s real. Yes, he’s out to destroy you. Yes, he’s merely a created being – an angel, if you will, but on the wrong side. They are no match for God – the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. We are not fighting with that person – we are fighting with demonic influences that have been allowed to shape their behavior – and our own! So, what do we do?
First, take a good long look at the Beatitudes in Matthew 5-8. Then take a good long look at yourself against that standard. Own your own behavior, confess it to God and ask His forgiveness. Then ask for His grace to change, to be the person He wants you to be. Get your heart right with Him. James 4:7 says to submit to God, and resist the devil. If you are from a tradition that practices sacramental confession, go! You might need to make an appointment with your priest.
Sit down with a pencil and paper and write down every thing that other person has done to make you angry or hurt you or disappoint you. All of it. Now, take that list to God and ask His help to forgive that other person. Forgiveness is not a feeling. It’s a calculated choice. It’s choosing to stop the war. It’s choosing to ‘stand down’ from the battle and let God begin to work. Don’t want to? Fine. You’ve just told God you don’t want His forgiveness, either. The Our Father, in Matthew 6:9-15, says in verse 12 to forgive us as we forgive… Forgiveness is not an option!
Now that the log is out of your own eye, you can begin praying about the splinters in the other person’s eye. (Matthew 7) Find Scriptures that you can pray for them. Pray for God’s blessings, God’s guidance, God’s protection, God’s correction for them. Pray the love of God into them, over them, around them. Pray for their conversion. Pray for the Holy Spirit to speak to them – while you remain quiet! Pray for their heart to be softened toward God. Pray for them to be surrounded by Godly influences. Pray that the Father will draw them to Himself.
And while you’re praying for them, include yourself. Keep your own heart clean, keep your own life growing in holiness and the relationship with God. Lean into His grace and mercy for yourself, as well as for the other person.
I can’t guarantee that the other person will respond. We each have a free will, given to us by God, that He will not violate. He doesn’t want puppets. I can guarantee you that if you don’t pray, it will not get better. I can almost guarantee that if you don’t get your own heart right and pray for the other person, the relationship will disintegrate. God is in the miracle business. He has done many, many miracles of healing relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, and friendships.
Maybe you need some help with all this, or you don’t really understand where to even start. Find a pastor or priest. Sit down and tell the story and let them guide you. Prayer works, but not unless we ‘work’ at it. Wage war God’s way and you’ll come out a winner!