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Jesus says, “Try your best to get my message across, but if they won’t listen to you, shake the dirt from your sandals and walk away.” (Matthew 10:14)
But in a troubled friendship or marriage, how do we know when we’ve given it our best? How do we know we’ve tried long enough?
Attempts to make things right become arguments, which we want to win for the sake of improving the relationship. However, the evils that divide relationships are never defeated by the fight. Arguments become sabotage. Our strong feelings make us want to act out what is ugly in us instead of the beauty of Christ’s light within us.
Jesus’ way is to lean into the relationship with love, not push our way in.
Leaning in is very difficult when we sense that there’s nothing and no one there to catch us if we fail. What if the other person is not interested in solving the problems?
Jesus wants you to lean on him as you lean into the other one with persistent kindness, patience, forgiveness, tools gained from a relationship therapist, and the humility of admitting that you too have contributed to the problem.
Jesus will provide you with supernatural strength to persevere. He will sooth you when the pain hurts too much. He will pick you up and set you back in the right direction when you fall. And he will tell you when its time – and how – to walk away, and you will know it’s his voice guiding you because walking away will be walking with him and you’ll be enveloped by his peace.