December 30, 2006

The Rock and the hard place

Paul wrote in Philippians, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus . . . .” He went on to describe how Jesus did not consider His equality with God as important as “being made in the likeness of men.” He was willing to do that so He could die in our place for our sins. He put our lives over His own rights.

Paul was a humble man who had the same willingness to set aside his own life. Whatever he might be proud of or use to exalt himself in any way was abandoned. He took this command seriously and let the mind of Christ govern everything that he did. In 2 Corinthians, he wrote, “I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved.”

He set the example. A spiritual person is not motivated by their identity in this world, what people think or want, or even their responses. Doing the right thing, the most Christ-like thing, is the reason behind true Christian effort.

I’ve been weighing options over the past few days. My husband may not be around for very long. What is the most optimal way to spend our time, the most Christ-like way to be a good wife? Neither of us believe we can drop everything and go on an extended cruise, however tempting the thought.

This decision is made tougher as, at the same time, our granddaughter is revealing more and more that she has no intentions of growing past the emotional and dependance characteristics of about a ten-year-old. She refuses to take even part-time work because it either doesn’t pay enough or is a ‘dead-end’ job. She wants us to pay for everything, let her do whatever she pleases, and essentially share with her everything that we have.

I’d do just about anything to help this young woman become all that she can be. She is smart, attractive, capable in many areas, but has the notion deeply implanted that everyone owes her. Jesus sacrificed His life to the end that sin be conquered—not indulged. Paul sacrificed his life in ministry that people might believe in Christ and grow to be more like Him. He gave his all toward that, not so they could take advantage of his generous heart and use what he did for them to support a sinful lifestyle. Going along with sin is enablement, not love.

I don’t believe that God put me in this situation expecting me to abandon being like Jesus in one area of life so I can be like Him in another. I must love and support my husband. I also must love and support my granddaughter. However, loving, supporting, and ministering to a person in a sacrificial way is not the same as enabling them to live a selfish and sinful life.

The love of Christ means spending myself for her soul, for her eternal well-being and for her growth as a person, but I will not spend myself making it easy for her to sin against me, or more importantly, against my husband. His doctor warned him about stress, and the stress of our situation is exceedingly harmful. I’ve some tough decisions to make, and feel between a rock and a hard place.

I need to remember that the choice is not my husband or my granddaughter. It is between doing what He wants or what I want. That means the rock is Christ and the hard place is simply my own desire to abandon all of this and go buy some cruise tickets.

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