Below is the very thought provoking, and heart felt letter I got in response to my Dear Family letter from my godly father-in-law.
Thanks for the fine letter recently sent this direction. So many thoughts to ponder as I write this morning. There is no way to cover all that is on my heart. I have prayed for Divine assistance here, for I am so feeble in my own strength.
My first thoughts regarding Susan’s decisions were fleshly anger, and almost instant legalism from my past early church days. But I was then reminded in my spirit that we live in the new covenant times…”Who also made us competent as ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life”. (2 Cor. 3:6-7)
Of course, that doesn’t mean we don’t have discipline, love without discipline is not love. We know God will and does discipline His own children because He loves them and will not allow sin to have dominion over them. In Heb 12:5-17, it’s clear, He will discipline when needed.
You gave an example for consideration, Matt 7: 1-6. I think you were right on track with that. Let’s take a closer look at Matthew 7 – “Do not judge”. As the context or whole chapter shows, this first statement does not prohibit all kinds of judging (vs. 16). Also, there is a righteous kind of judgment we are supposed to use with careful discernment as in John 7:24 – “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly”. I hope you have time to look at this because we all have used this judging verse incorrectly through the years. Censorious, hypocritical, self-righteous judgments are forbidden, but in order to fulfill the commandments that follow, it’s necessary to know who the “dogs” and “swine” are in verse 6, from our own brethren (vs. 3-5).
We, as Christians, must make judgments all the time, and they must be fair and righteous, which means right standing before God. Colossians 1:10 and Galatians 5:22 fit here. So we surely can use Matthew 7 for understanding righteousness from unrighteousness in our lives and around our lives.
But the big question remains, what should we do about the sin that is so glaring in our family?
“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” Gal. 6:1
I believe our prayers, thoughts, actions, and decisions should center on what would bring us all together in love and concern rather than who is right or wrong in how they look at this issue as Christians.
When we don’t confess our sins and repent, we put ourselves in a position to be disciplined by God’s hand, perhaps in a more harsh way than if we confessed. It’s scary to even think about it.
What is it that we are looking for here?? What is it we want in this whole struggle?
Perhaps Susan’s admission to her adultery?
Put her family back together?
Probably too late for that now.
Do we want everyone to agree with our assessment of the situation?
Is that even possible?
But what’s the truth here? What will satisfy us?
Are we angry with Susan? I was at first. Is it the deceit, the wrongs done, the sin, the effect on our family? Perhaps the selfishness of it all is the main thing. Lots of times we hate the sin of selfishness and even the person who is committing the act because it seems like they are getting away with it scott-free, doing anything they want, getting what they want, hurting whomever they want, maybe even secretly getting some of the things we have secretly wanted in our sinful flesh at times.
What’s our truth?
Do we think Almighty God doesn’t see how His own children are living? He’s not on a vacation and He alone is the One who knows exactly what should be done to help poor Susan, whom He loves so dearly. This is a tragedy, just like you said, but God knows every detail about this and He is going to use this to teach those whom He loves what they need to learn. God does still cause all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those what are called according to His purpose. (Rom 8:28)
So what about our response? Shouldn’t we feel just horrible for the one who has fallen? It could be us very easily. Just imagine the pain and suffering yet to go through as The Father works with the fallen child. What really should be our response?
Think about what really is ahead for Susan, Mike, Gary, and the boys. What a horror!
What they need from us is support and love….and much knee time in prayer.
Our inconvenience, discomfort, disruption, being lied about and insulted should be easy to forgive when you think about what Susan must face yet. Our hearts should be broken for her, that the enemy has lied to her and in her weakened condition she believed the lie. Now Satan is using her to destroy, or try to destroy her and her whole family and witness for Christ.
This is our spiritual battle, too. A family member is down on the battlefield and wily old Satan has twisted it and clouded its meaning so we can’t see clearly. We almost mistake Susan for the enemy. We need to sound the battle cry for one of our very own is down!!
Susan does not yet even know she is the target and the victim of Satan and his hordes. She doesn’t know what is happening and believes the incredible crafty lie of the angel of light as he can appear to be.
In the saving name of Jesus Christ, our spiritual force of prayer needs to go and surround our fallen sister and fight this huge spiritual battle claiming Jesus blood was shed for Susan, that she belongs to Jesus, her Savior and Lord. We can command in Jesus name for all the unholy spirits and filthy demons to leave this Blood bought child of the Living God! We must not falter another moment. We are already late going into battle. We need to look past the camouflage and smoke screens that Satan always puts up. His purpose is clear, it’s to destroy all victory in the Christian’s life, make them a Christian failure, destroy any and all witness for Christ, rip the Christian family apart, take no prisoners. He does not want us to believe this truth, however.
Susan’s blindness to all this is the key. How, if not under Satan’s spell could a Holy Spirit led believer be duped? Impossible, absolutely! We know all this makes zero sense unless the mind has been fooled by a master deceiver, preying on her weaknesses.
Of course, God knows what the truth is here, but whatever the case, our hearts should be broken for this dear messed up child of the King, our sister in Christ and by blood.
I know God loves families and wants ours to be together, not apart in strife, but together in Christ. All other religions operate on fear, anger, law, without love – only the Christian faith is based and founded on love: “For God so loved…”
And we are to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ who loved us and gave Himself for us. I do like your family letter, Margo, even if it’s kind of formal in tone, but many good points.
This family needs to come together in love for and forgiveness to each other. This is because of our wonderful, loving family head, even Jesus who was and is our Teacher and Savior, who as our great High Priest continues to intercede in our behalf with the Father.
Love, in Christ,
While my mind (and heart) understands what my very wise father-in-law is saying, I have to confess, I am not there yet. There is still a part of me that is looking for justice, for God’s judgment, dare I say, a lightening strike! I will be annoyed if it appears for a time that Susan and Gary are living happily ever after.
Yet, I understand that the greater tragedy here is that Satan appears to have won a victory in destroying two families and a Christian’s testimony and legacy. Susan is indeed blinded and deceived.
No, Susan is not the enemy.
Please pray for Susan, and me, and the rest of our family that Jesus would have the victory and be glorified somehow in all this mess.