Anyone saved by grace with a temper might find some hope in what I’m about to say. I don’t know about y’all, but sometimes when my family provokes me, I get really mad.
Part of what angers me is when people don’t listen. I can tell my family members something legitimately designed to help them, they’ll blow me off, and I find it hard not to feel a little justified and self-righteous when things happen just like I warned them.
I don’t know whether it’s just women that do this, but the “I told you so”s are a constant temptation for me. It’s not as though it’s not true that you warned somebody, they didn’t listen, and the present consequences of their actions are their own fault. Sometimes, it’s really cut and dry. Like last week, when my dog peed on the floor and I told my sister to put a paper towel down so she didn’t step in it and then she stepped right into the puddle some 10 minutes later.
Needless to say, I’ve already ruined the introduction of what I’m trying to say. It’s just that when you know better, it’s so hard to watch people make mistakes. I know that love bears all things, but I sometimes find myself praying for bad things to happen just so that people will have a need to re-evaluate. It’s not a great place to be, but I’m just trying to be honest here. I don’t want my perspective to remain this way, but this is definitely where I’m at today.
But you want to know what I have at least learned (and still struggle putting into practice)? If you shut your mouth and let the spirit speak for itself, it often works out well. Better even.
In “I told you so” situations, I can pray that the Spirit convicts. I don’t need to always fight for myself. For example, when you’ve already carefully picked out words to ask a family member to work with you to solve a problem and they don’t listen, just stay silent (after you have made a reasonable effort). Sometimes the Holy spirit speaks through other witnesses to the situation. You can pray that God will help the person you love get their crap together in times where you know they wont listen to you. Which is absolutely infuriating. But it is what it is for now.
I really hate that my family finds creative ways not to listen to me, but it gives me hope that there could still be help available to them through the Holy spirit. I know that it’s not really up to me to work this hard, but this is the way it’s always been, and it’s taking time to adjust. It’s hard to learn all these things about God that could really help them and nobody cares what you have to say. It’s hard to be the only person that takes God seriously in your family, especially when some family members may only believe in God through a situation involving absolute destruction, because they presently hate him. But I still love them. And I still want them to be saved.
I’m trying to learn to bear with it and trust God to provide when they wont listen to me. I experience a lot of cursing aimed in my direction. My family has such shallow things to talk about (everything under the sun from politics to money to ideology) that if we’re being honest, they really don’t know me very well. My friends know me to a certain extent, but in God, I am known fully. And I have peace and hope for a future where I can do better for my kids. I get angry, but I try to buy into forgiveness. It’s still hard. I am going to be one of those adults who doesn’t try to ignore helpless situations. When I work with kids or if I have kids of my own, I won’t just ignore them.
As of today, that is the solution to my problem. It’s not in solving my own situation, but in being a listener for people struggling in similar situations of their own. My children (biological or students or just the ones I care about) will have an advocate in me. Without people like that, I would have never had hope for long enough to buy into God. And now I know that he helps me.
To be honest, my situation may never change. Hell, that’s even likely. I get mad at God and ask him to save my family, because I love them. There are a lot of decisions I’ve made that nobody appreciates or understands that I made out of love for them specifically. But I believe that Jesus cares for them, and that God would still love them if they always rejected him. So I’m trying to focus on leaving it up to God. It takes some bravery.