How do you deal with a difficult relative? Dannah Gresh shares a personal story of struggle and reconciliation.
This story is a tad personal, so oblige me if I’m slightly vague about a few important details, specifically names. But it just seems too full of God’s goodness not to share how I was rescued from someone, and I will name that person because it was me.
For some time I’d been been struggling with a relationship. A very important one. Not the optional type, but the obligatory, familial kind. No doubt I love this person, but they can be just so difficult to love sometimes.
And so I sort of stopped.
That ought not to be. I have learned firsthand that it allows bitterness to creep in, and then you become the kind of person you don’t mean to be: harsh, resentful, full of favoritism for others, unkind. This flew in the face of my life calling to minister. I felt so very hypocritical, guilty, disabled. But I’d tried everything already, and this person just didn’t want to engage in a love relationship with me. What else could be done?
About midway through the year, my friend Erin Davis and I felt led to do Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s Seeking Him Bible study. I was revved up for a personal revival in my love relationship with Jesus.
It was all going rather smoothly until I read these words:
“Any child of God who is serious about seeking the Lord and experiencing personal revival must be committed to maintaining a clear conscience toward others. This is where the rubber meets the road—this is the context in which genuine repentance, humility, and holiness are demonstrated practically.”
I knew right then and there that this relationship had to be fixed. It was bleeding into my relationship with Jesus Christ. Distancing me from Him. The next sentence that hit me between the eyes was this one:
“Jesus takes personally what we do or say to another person.”
I knew that He also was hurt by my lack of communication and distancing from someone He’d assigned me to love.
My heart was softening but not enough. I knew something needed to be done but didn’t want to do it. That’s when my husband came to me. He was kind but shared with me that recently another family member had come to him with concerns about how I was treating the person in question. You mean this isn’t just a private battle? Other people can see my sin? I was so embarrassed!
And yet I felt so loved. Loved by my husband and this other family member who had cared enough to expect more of me. Loved by my precious Lord who wanted to be close to me but knew how much my sin distanced me even if I didn’t.
In God’s perfect timing, I was able to go to this person and confess my sin. The beauty of it all is that they had been convicted, too. God brought our hearts together in His perfect way.
Let me quote Nancy:
“Revival and reconciliation are inseparable. You cannot be right with God and not be right with your fellow man.”
Who do you need to reconcile with in order to draw closer to the heart of God?