Our first guest blogger this month is a very close friend
of mine. Clare DeGraff has been a spiritual mentor for hundreds of men,
including me. He is also a friend, brother in Christ, and a truly genuine
representation of a Christ-follower. I pray you are blessed by his words here. –Matt

 

Almost every divorced Christian I know cannot imagine reconciling
with their former spouse.  So much hurt,
so many bitter words and fights. “Clare, why would I take that risk and jump
back into that snake pit again?”

 

Not only are there those risks, but in most cases one or both of
the spouses have remarried.  “So, Clare
even if I wanted to reconcile with my ex it is impossible.”

 

Surprisingly, it isn’t.  At
least, not the kind of reconciliation I’m encouraging.

 

So what follows is the advice I gave to a divorced man recently
that you may want to pass on to a divorced friend, or anyone at odds with
another believer.

 

Webster defines reconcile
this way; “to cause people or groups to become friendly again after an argument
or disagreement.”

 

The Bible says this, But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do
good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who
mistreat you.”
Luke 6:27,28

 

 

Reconciling with your “ex”

 

While you
may be legally divorced from your former spouse, if he/she is a believer they
are still your spiritual brother and sister.
And it is the will of God that we live reconciled to one another and in
peace.

 

“Finally, brothers and
sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be
of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will
be with you.”
-2Corinthians 13:11

 

“But the fruit of the
Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness,”
 -Galatians 5:22

 

Peace is
not only one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, but we’re to use all of our
spiritual gifts to bring about peace.

 

Continuing
my conversation with this man, “You’re not only expected to make an effort to
live at peace with your ‘ex,’ it’s to your advantage to do so;” Why?

 

First, it’s a testimony to the
power of the Holy Spirit to your children.

 

If you
have children, for the rest of your life, you and your ex will have to
negotiate holidays, weddings, birthdays, graduation and special events, even
those of your grandchildren.  What a
wonderful testimony to them of how Christians ought to live, even with people
who disagree, if both you and your ex could attend and be kind and courteous to
one another, so no innocent parties are made to feel uncomfortable.

Second, you will have peace of
mind and your prayers will not be hindered.
This may be hard to hear; but unless you’ve had a biblical divorce, biblically
speaking, your ex is still your spouse, in God’s eyes.  And therefore when you are bitter or angry
with your spouse it’s tougher to pray with a free conscience. (1 Peter 3:7)

Third, Jesus commands us to
attempt to make peace even if you are the innocent party!

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift
at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something
against you,”
-Matthew 5:23.  Jesus
isn’t saying if you have something against them.  He’s talking about them having hard feelings
about you.  Perhaps your spouse still
harbors hard feelings toward you.  You have an obligation to try to make peace

 

To harbor hateful thoughts is a
sin.

“But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will
be subject to judgment. Again,
anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will
be in danger of the fire of hell.”
-Matthew 5:22
My final
thought is this; you have no control over whether your ex will accept your
offer of reconciliation and peace.  But
you do have the responsibility as a believer to make a sincere effort.

 

Making the first moves

 

1.
Begin by praying for a receptive spirit in your former spouse,
or another person whom you are at odds.

 

2.
Consider calling you ex and offering to meet with a godly
friend you both trust, who is willing to help you navigate this
reconciliation.  (If you or your ex have
remarried, it would be very unwise to meet without a third person present.)

 

3.
Attempt to move beyond open hostility and discuss continuing
tensions and how to eliminate or minimize them.

 

4.
If you come to a mutual understanding about how you will
handle certain issues, put it in writing.
It will give both of you something to refer to in the future.

 

5.
Covenant to pray for one another.  I’ve yet to meet two “enemies” who committed
to pray faithfully for “the best” for the other person, who remained enemies.

 

Finally

 

If you’ve
sent this blog to someone, ask to meet with them.  Most people wounded by divorce are hesitant
to take these steps without a faithful, praying friend to encourage them to do
so.  Be that kind of friend.

 

How following Jesus works
in real life.
 
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