The "Magic Mirror" of Truth

As I washed dishes, my husband flipped through the channels on the TV. He stopped on one long enough for me to hear a woman say:

"Someone helped put a mirror up in front of my face, and I didn't like what I saw one bit. You know what I did? I changed. And that someone was Mrs. Threadgoode."
Fried Green Tomatoes

Those words pulled at my heart because it reminded me of a time in my life when I needed someone to hold that mirror up to my face.

It must have been ten or twelve years ago. My husband and I had been in full-time ministry and left it because we could not raise our support, my husband was struggling to find his niche in the "real world," I had not done a good job of "leaving and cleaving" and was going back and forth between my husband and my parents, we had just bought our first home, and we had a couple of very small children.

Uh-Huh. You can already see where this is going.

The honey moon was over, and we were hanging on by a thread.

At that time I had made a friend in our new town named Naomi. Our friendship had become very close and I would call her on a weekly, or even daily, basis and talk to her for hours. Soon our conversations deteriorated into whine sessions on my part as I puked out all of my frustrations on her, detailing everything about my husband that annoyed me and blaming him for my miserable life. After weeks and weeks of listening to this, Naomi said,
"Why don't you just leave him?"

I was aghast. "Leave him!! How could she say that! She was supposed to be a godly woman and give me biblical counsel!" I thought. This was hardly biblical counsel in my mind.

I stopped calling Naomi.

I still saw her at MOPS and Bible study and AWANA. I always spoke to her cordially. But I had chosen to end that close friendship. - - And since I no longer had someone to complain to, I stopped complaining and started doing the things that I should have done in the first place in my marriage.

Fast forward to one year ago.

I had a very close friend going through some struggles with her husband. She would call me and talk for hours, detailing everything that annoyed her about her husband and blaming him for her miserable life. She made him sound abusive, controlling, unloving and even potentially dangerous to her children.

...And for the first time in my life, I counselled a Christian woman to leave her husband!

Praise God, my friend did not leave her husband (just as I did not) and today their marriage is much better. (I guess that neither of our husbands were as terrible as we made them out to be!)

Being on the other side made me realize something. Naomi had been giving me good scriptural advice all along! I just had an arsenal of excuses why I could not do those things, or I had half-heartedly tried them and they had not worked. (Duh!)

I had just gained a new perspective - Naomi's perspective on my situation years ago, and I finally understood what made her say it. I was effectively telling her that there was no hope left for my marriage - even though she had been trying to remind me that there was. She said what I needed to hear - - that if I was unwilling to fix it, It could not be fixed. I either needed to "end it" or "mend it."

I did not like what she said, but it made me change.

Yesterday our pastor said, "sometimes you need someone to tell you the truth when you are in a storm... you need to seek out people who will tell you the truth..."

Maybe you are that person in a storm right now and you have a friend giving you godly counsel. Listen! They can see more clearly than you can right now. Do what the scripture says, don't run from it. Sometimes the truth hurts, but it will hurt much less if you face it now rather than later. (I could have continued on that path and had a divorce to deal with along with the issues that already existed in our relationship.I would have simply added shared custody of children, extra living expenses, the  burden of failure - - and STILL had to continue a working relationship with my husband.)

If you don't have someone to tell you the truth, find one! Join a bible study group or call an "older" lady in your church.

Maybe you are the one giving the counsel. Don't be afraid. Keep at it. Don't worry about whether it might cost you the friendship. BE that friend that speaks truth into your friends' lives. You will both be blessed if you do. Even if they cannot thank you now, they will later.

"Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the Word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he had heard, but doing it - he will be blessed in what he does."

James 1:22-25

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aussiegirl said...

Awesome advice! I'll be mulling over what you wrote for the rest of the evening. Thanks for sharing. :)

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