October 11, 2004
Encouragement for Today

The Outlaw
Micca Campbell, Director of Outreach with Proverbs 31 Ministries, Speaker Team Member, Certified Speaker

Key verse:

"Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do." Colossian 3:12-13, (NKJV)


Devotion:

Struggles with my mother-in-law began right after my engagement to her son. Our first disagreement came when my mother-in-law informed me that my flower girl, who was her granddaughter, couldn't wear what I had chosen. If I didn't change it to her satisfaction then her granddaughter wouldn't be in the wedding. My soon-to-be niece, didn't care if she walked down the isle in pink polka-dots; she simply desired to be in the ceremony. For her sake, I agreed to change the dress. That, of course, met the approval of future my mother-in-law.

After our wedding, it was smooth sailing for a while. Then the holidays arrived and it was no party. We tried to find a compromise that made everyone happy. No one wanted to change his or her customs so we decided to alternate the holidays. My husband won the toss. When I was told that the celebration began bright and early Christmas morning at my in-laws, this created a problem for me. Before I remarried, I was a widow with a four-year-old son. I felt that he needed to be home Christmas morning so that our new family could start our own holiday tradition. My mother understood this. Why didn't my mother-in-law? I learned quickly. You can't make everyone happy.

It didn't end at the holidays. The battle of our wills continued for years. It wasn't that either of our ideas about life was wrong, just different and it saddened me. I never wanted this kind of relationship with my mother-in-law. I truly felt like an outlaw instead of a daughter-in-law. I longed to fit in, to please her and be her friend, but we continued not to see eye-to-eye. Even worse, my husband was caught between the two of us and the strain began to damage our relationship as well.

As a Christian, I knew what had to be done. Someone had to mend the relationship. It wasn't going to be me. I chose to ignore my convictions and hold on to my rights.

The Holy Sprit persisted. Soon, I couldn't eat, sleep, or do my daily activities without thinking about our broken relationship.

One day, at Bible study, I raised my hand to ask for prayer about my situation. Suddenly, I began to cry so hard I couldn't speak. A mentor in the class walked me out into the hall. I explained everything. Then came her piercing words. "You are disobeying God. He is clearing calling you to reconcile this relationship. If I were you, I'd go today."

I left immediately and drove to my mother-in-law's house. As I pulled into her driveway, I prayed. "God, I'm here out of obedience to you. I don't know how my mother-in-law is going to respond, but I trust that you have sent me."

Without hesitation, I came straight to the point. I told my mother-in-law that I wanted to have a better relationship with her. That I was hurt over the one we had, and I knew she was hurt, too. She began to cry. I confessed that I was a strong woman with strong opinions, and she admitted the same. I could feel God melting away the resentment. Then I spoke these challenging words. "The only way two strong women can have a healthy relationship is to respect and accept each other's differences." She agreed.

From that day on we have learned to consider the other's point of view instead of only looking at our own. Respect for one another has allowed our relationship to grow and compromises to be easily achieved. We are all happy now - my mother-in-law, my husband and me. Oh, yeah, and God, too, whose love we reflect to the world when we walk rightly related with one another.


My prayer for today:

Dear Lord, someone in my family has hurt my feelings. I'm tired of carrying this resentment so as an act of obedience to you, I forgive them. Please forgive me for holding a grudge against them as well. Now, Lord, heal our hearts and mend our relationship so that we can glorify you. Amen.


Application steps

Freedom is not doing as you please, but freedom is the power to do what you should. By the power of God, go and reconcile any broken relationship and freedom will be yours.


Reflection points
 

What has holding on to your anger achieved for you?

Has your anger hurt you or the other person more?

What's keeping you from forgiving the other person?

Do you know that God's Word says He can't forgive us if we are not willing to forgive others?


Power verses

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6: 14, 15, (KJV)

If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. John 13:14, 15, (KJV)

A new commandment I give unto you that ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. John 13:34, (KJV)

If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not have the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 1 John 1:6,7, (KJV)

Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21, (KJV)


Additional resources

Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God, by Sharon Jaynes
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/womanlistens.html

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed, by Lysa Terkeurst
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/radical.html