Answer- First, let me tell you that I'm sorry you are walking this difficult path. It is a challenge to walk out our faith and yet it's reward is great! The Lord tells us in the Scriptures that our testimony is going to offend others. It will cause division and we will need to forsake all others and follow him. Does this mean we don't care about what we say or do? Quite the contrary! Our lives are to draw others to the Lord. We are told countless times to "live in peace" to "study to be quiet" and to lead "quiet and peaceable lives." We are warned of how not to offend our brothers and the danger in doing so. Yet, we are never told to forsake our faith for peace, or abandon our walk for unity. Learning to live as representatives of the Lord is a journey of a lifetime. We will make mistakes, say the wrong word, speak at the wrong time, not speak at the right time, hold our love from the hurting, make decisions we later regret and yet we are encouraged to continue this good race that is set before us no matter how hard the trail! My husband and I have experienced moments when our convictions made others uncomfortable or just down right angry. I am going to share from my experience and see what in this the Lord would have you glean. I will first list some good reminders for each of us and then some practical ideas you might be able to use. If you have a specific situation you are wanting to ask about please feel free to write- we can try and brainstorm together!
Here are a few reminders:
- Most importantly we must ask the Lord to keep our spiritual vision clear, allowing us to see the eternal work, risks and battle that is going on. (Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places)
- We need to be in agreement with our husbands on the details of how we respond to questions, deal with events and what we share. (Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.)
- We must really take a proactive role if we truly seek to see victory! Find ways to show love... even when it hurts, even when they don't "deserve" it! (Luke 6:27- But I say unto you which can hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.) God commands us to love!
- We need to ask the Lord to show us our hearts motives. Our hearts are deceitfully wicked! (Proverbs 28:26 He that trusteth in His own heart is a fool; but he whoso walketh, wisely shall be delivered. Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?)
- We need to bridle our tongue! I need to be very aware and careful of each word I say. I don't want the enemy to use anything I say or do to bring hurt, turmoil, or division to someone else no matter how much I think they 'need' to hear it! (James1 :26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.)
A few practical ideas:
- If at all possible don't ever let your children hear you 'vent' about another member of the family, friends or neighbor. Save your frustration for quiet time after you have had time to pray about it and can share privately with your husband or a mentor the Lord has placed in your life. It is normally best not to talk to anyone until you have had time away from the conflict and spent time in prayer. So remember to give things time...
- Limit your reactions. With as much as you are able try not to react to words that are said or things that are done. Smile, change the subject, find something else you need to do but don't respond to a conflict in the heat of the moment if you can help it.
- When speaking or sharing with others, especially when you're excited about something, make sure you say things like, "this is what the Lord is doing in my home" "this is how the Lord is leading us" "In my home we.." try to acknowledge with your words that God can work in each home uniquely and you appreciate the work He is doing in your life and theirs!
- Listen more than you speak, Pray more than you think, and express Love more than you do anything else in your life! When someone is being hurtful toward you. Pray about how you can bless them, write them a note letting them know you are thinking about them, call just to check on them. Be sincere and if you can't be.. then keep praying till you can!
- Have a game plan before you go to events where you know the conflict might arise. Talk to your husband and ask him how and what he wants your family to respond. Make sure you have given the children guidelines on how to behave kindly and orderly so that there are no issues. If you don't trust your family to practice the "game plan" when you're out.. stay home! It would be better you missed a special event once or twice than to go and ruin a relationship for a lifetime!
Okay, those are just a few ideas. Pray about it... the Lord will lead you! He alone is faithful!
Because of His Love,