My wife and I were having a dispute the other night about something that probably didn’t matter much in the long run. As I sat there in my frustration I got to thinking about how I had been honoring God in those moments prior. Quickly I became aware of my selfishness, and how the things I had been doing, saying, and thinking did not match the love and compassion I am called to exemplify as a follower of Jesus. My stomach was turning inside me.
When we invite God into the middle of our arguments things get interesting. We can no longer be selfish. We have to put the other person’s needs before our own; which isn’t a pleasant feeling sometimes. There’s a war between our pride and what God has called us to be. It means I’m not going to get “my” way, or at least that’s not what I should be aiming for.
“36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22:36-40
Loving someone as myself means that the other person’s feelings are just as important as mine. Arguments take a very different shape when they are approached with that in mind. However, that does not mean we don’t share how we feel and in turn become a pushover, but our attitude and the way we express ourselves should be expressed with love and compassion instead of our usual self-centeredness.
I don’t want to sugar coat how difficult this is. We can all attest to the fact that relationships get messy. But as difficult as it may be, we must try our best to invite God into our arguments. He gave us the Holy Spirit for just such occasions – to bring to the forefront of our hearts and minds the selfishness inside us, to show us where we don’t model Jesus, and take us to a place where we do. When we invite the Holy Spirit into our arguments and relationships there is no circumstance that doesn’t have the potential to be used for something good. If we can make a habit of inviting God into our arguments it will forever change the way we approach them.
Do you have an experience with this? How do you remember to be Jesus when the tension builds?