Endurance, Marriage, Prodigals

When Truth is Toxic

‬‬

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,”

‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Have you ever wondered why spouses determined to leave their marriage avoid listening to truth like the plague? For the stander, attempting to engage his or her prodigal in an attempt to get at the core reason for their desire to quit the marriage becomes an exercise in futility and utter frustration. But if one understands how the enemy works, and the depth of deception that becomes entrenched in a person’s heart and mind, it is easily discernable.

It is no wonder why those pursuing divorce go to great lengths to avoid difficult and pointed conversations. The last thing one running from the Lord wants is to be exposed through the light of Scripture. The truth of God’s word strikes at the heart and reveals the evil intent of our fleshly desires. It is this penetrative nature of the Gospel that exposes the sin and shameful ambitions they so willingly pursue.

Shortly after our separation, but prior to our actual divorce, I remember a conversation with my precious wife. In this particular exchange I was accused of being like a Pharisee for strictly adhering and advocating for an embrace of God’s view of marriage and a rejection of divorce. According to my wife at the time, this “narrow” and “non-negotiable” view didn’t consider the “spirit” of the law, and from her point of view, I was the one who had it all wrong. Needless to say, after reminding my wife that it was the Pharisees who actually exalted divorce and that Jesus condemned it, the conversation abruptly ended. No further discussion was to be had. In fact, if I was to dare bring it up again, all future communication would consequently be conducted through our lawyers.

I knew I had struck a nerve with what I had said. To be honest, it wasn’t my intent to anger her or cause further hostility between us. That said, it wasn’t my words that invoked the spirited response. Rather, it was the truth of God’s word that pierced her soul. I was simply the messenger.

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

Hebrews‬ ‭4:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

As you continue to stand and fight for your marriage, you will most certainly encounter situations when you are confronted with unbridled anger and harshness. Take solace in the fact that it is not necessarily you who is the object of his or her wrath. A prodigal’s war is with Almighty God. Those who speak His truth from their lips will always be met with the exact same levels of resistance from God’s enemies.

With the help of the Holy Spirit and those whom God has placed in your life to walk alongside you in this journey, determine to not allow the aversion to truth by your deceived prodigal to damped your drive and pursuit of restoration. Recognize that Christ has the power to transform even the greatest of sinners into vessels that fully embrace the heart of the gospel. I witnessed this first-hand, and if Jesus can do this for my wife, He can most certainly do it for your spouse as well.

In Christ,

Tommy Larson

Christian Walk, Divorce, Endurance, Healing and Reconciliation, Marriage, Prodigals, Waiting on God

Signs of Restoration

Tommy and I get a number of inquiries from readers asking my perspective or what we often refer to as the prodigal’s perspective on certain topics. One of the more common questions is, do you think my prodigal is open to the possibility of restoration. More than likely, if you are asking this question, the answer is yes!

During our pause, it was evident to Tommy when the Lord was working on me and softening my heart. We began having more meaningful conversations and spent quality time together with our children. That doesn’t mean there is no hope of restoration if your spouse (or ex-spouse in some cases) doesn’t desire to speak to you or spend time with you, but it may mean you have a longer road ahead if the latter situation is one you find yourself in currently. 

Below are some practical tips along with biblical guidance that greatly impacted my life during our separation and divorce.

  1. Show your prodigal sacrificial love without expecting anything in return.

Nothing demonstrates Christ’s love like sacrifice and selflessness. Find ways to love and serve your prodigal without expecting anything in return. If you are not sure what to do, ask the Holy Spirit for guidance and don’t be surprised if He reveals something that is outside your comfort zone. Stepping outside your comfort zone forces trust in the Lord and growth in your spiritual walk. That awkward and uncomfortable feeling also produces authenticity. Your prodigal will sense if you are attempting to serve with an ulterior motive so the more authentic, the better. 

There are numerous examples I’ve shared in our podcasts where Tommy went above and beyond in his pursuit to love me well. His acts of service displayed the love of Christ in ways that were not present during our previous ten years of marriage. Over time, the seeds he sowed took root and began to grow. His sacrifices did not go unnoticed. It did not happen immediately, but in time, God revealed the fruit from his labor. 

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus. ‭‭
Philippians‬ ‭2:1-5‬ ‭

  1. Ask if you can pray with your prodigal or if you can pray for them.

It’s important to use discernment when addressing your prodigal. Some days there may be more of a reluctance to talk about spiritual matters than others. But, when you recognize there is an openness and willingness, ask if you can pray with your spouse or pray for them. Not only will this create a healthy dialogue, but it will also shine a light into what’s happening in the life of your prodigal. 

I don’t recommend this every time you speak, but perhaps monthly or bi-weekly depending on how often you talk. Also, be sure to prepare your heart for their response. Don’t take it personally if they do not request prayer for your marriage. When you spend quiet time with the Lord, you can pray for your current situation.

If your prodigal is agreeable to prayer, that is a great sign that God is at work! Desiring your prodigal to have a restored relationship with the Lord should far outweigh the longing for a restored marriage. Keep in mind, only the work of the Holy Spirit can transform the heart and mind so be patient and loving when approaching your spouse.  

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Philippians 4:6

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.
Matthew 18:20

I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.
Jeremiah 24:7

  1. Take responsibility for any sinful behaviors, habits or actions that you may have contributed to the marriage. 

I recognize this may be very hard to hear, and you may be wondering why you should take the initiative if you’re the one being wronged. This difficult question has a very simple answer. God took the initiative to love us when we were unloveable and we should do the same for our covenant spouse. Repentance is necessary before reconciliation can occur and God’s Word calls us to reconcile relationships. You have no control over your prodigal’s actions or inactions, but you can take personal responsibility for yourself.

I remember vividly every time Tommy came to me to apologize for past sins and ways he had wronged me. At first, I thought he was using his sins as an excuse for his bad behavior. With time, I came to understand that God had transformed his heart and his godly sorrow was sincere.

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans‬ ‭5:8‬

‭Do all you can to live in peace with everyone.
Romans 12:18

But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
Luke‬ ‭6:27-28, 36‬ 

For those that have little to no contact with your prodigal, there is still hope! We did not always communicate well or communicate often. It takes time. God hears your cries and understands your desire for healing and restoration, so don’t give up on the process. If you find yourself in a similar situation, I pray these steps come in handy.

  1. Pray fervently. 1 John 5:14, Romans 12:12, James 5:16, Philippians 4:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:17
  2. Read Scripture for encouragement and guidance. Matthew 4:4, Hebrews 4:12, Isaiah 30:21, Psalm 25:4-5, James 1:5, Proverbs 3:5-6, John 16:13, 2 Timothy 3:16-17
  3. Fast. Joel 2:12, Matthew 6:16-18, Matthew 5:6
  4. Serve while you wait. Galatians 5:13, Romans 12:1, 1 Peter 4:10, Matthew 20:27-28, Romans 12:10-13
  5. Lean on your church family. Galatians 6:2, James 5:16, 2 Corinthians 13:11, Colossians 3:16, Hebrews 10:24-25

Dear friends, may God continue to bless you and strengthen you as you stand for your marriage, no matter where you are in your journey!

In Christ,
Amy Larson